Posted by : David Guyll January 29, 2011

Empathic Champions is all about allowing your ardent to dabble into disciplines that lead by reading the minds of your enemies. There's no new class features here, just a handful of new powers that you can cherry pick from, along with some flavor/role-playing tips and other thematically appropriate recommendations from Player's Handbook 3 and Psionic Power. The entire article uses the Essentials format, presenting each ability with a few sentences that give greater insight on what it does, and how you might describe it. I like this, as it provides a greater contextual foundation when players wonder what the hell just happened.

  • Intent Laid Bare (level 1): You deal damage and stop the enemy from shifting, can communicate with the target via telepathy until the end of your next turn, and it's usable as a melee basic attack. Since telepathy isn't language dependent, this could be very handy for trying to talk your way out of a fight against a creature that you couldn't otherwise communicate with. You don't have to hit them, either, but you could still opt for non-lethal damage. The augments let you impose an attack penalty, or increase the damage, prevent shifting, and allow your or an ally to shift if the target moves.
  • Sympathetic Agony (level 2 encounter): If an ally within range takes damage, you reduce the damage, have a save-ends effect apply to you instead, and grant both you and the target a defense bonus for a turn, so long as you both stick together. The range is good, and if you have resistance or a bonus against whatever save ends effect you might contract, even better.
  • Painful Revelations (level 6 daily): An aura that lets you take psychic damage when an enemy takes damage to cause them to grant save-ends combat advantage? Hell yes. The psychic damage isn't much, and the aura lasts for the entire encounter, too. This is a very easy way to continually grant everyone a free +2 to hit. Just try to have some healing potions on hand, cause you can't reduce the damage.
  • Clarifying Impact (level 7): Another melee basic attack discipline, this one prevents the target from gaining partial cover/concealment against you or adjacent allies as an effect. The augments give you a Perception bonus, or grants you automatic combat advantage if the target is next to an ally, in addition to increasing the damage and generating an aura that prevents enemies from gaining partial cover/concealment for a turn. Eh...I've never had a problem with adjacent targets being able to hide all that much.
  • Unshakable Bond (level 10 daily): If an enemy hits an ally within range, you can use this power as a free action to always know where it is, and ignore all forms of cover/concealment. I suppose if you're fighting someone who can turn invisible regularly or has some manner of hiding itself, that this could be handy, but there are a other ardent powers that are less situational.

So, the new power selection isn't much to write home about, but the article comes with a brand new paragon path: the contemplative ardent. It gives you a lot of abilities that depend on your telepathy range. Of course you get telepathy once you pick it up, and it also extends your telepathy if you already had it, so kalashtar or shardminds will get a bit more out of it.

  • Telepathic Mind (level 11 feature): You gain telepathy, or extend your existing telepathy. When you drop, allies in your telepathy range gain an attack bonus for a turn. The bonus is alright, and if you're playing a race with telepathy you can virtually guarantee that all of your allies will get the bonus.
  • Contemplative Action (level 11 feature): When you burn an action point, you gain a bonus to attack and damage rolls based on the number of bloodied allies within your telepathy range. This is pretty situational, but is has greater potential if you're playing a race that starts with telepathy.
  • Paragon Power Points (level 11 feature): Par for the course, you get +2 power points.
  • Thought Harvest (level 11 encounter): When you hit an enemy with an un-augmented at-will, you add bonus psychic damage. Additionally, you prevent it from shifting, as well as imposing an attack and defense penalty against allies within your telepathy range. This is a pretty flexible kicker effect that can be used against a monster that you want to keep in place, or just to spice up an attack when you've run out of power points.
  • Sleeper Awakens (level 12 daily): A stance that grants you a hefty Insight bonus, and prevents enemies from flanking you. It also comes with a secondary at-will that lets you shift when an enemy attacks you or an adjacent ally as an immediate reaction.
  • Inverted Corona (level 16 feature): Whenever you do something that lets an ally burn a healing surge, you can opt to pull one or two allies (doesn't matter which) as a free action. This can be really handy in getting an ally out of danger, or mixing up the battlefield formation. It's based on your telepathy range so, again, if you can increase that range, you increase how useful this will be, too.
  • Open the Floodgates (level 20 daily): A close blast 3 that deals weapon-based damage, in addition to weakening and inflicting ongoing damage. If you miss, it only does half. Regardless you get to shift, you just have to end somewhere in or adjacent to the area of effect.

There's no new magic items or feats to further support this. As it stands, this article is somewhat useful to ardent players, and because of this I doubt it will entice other players to give it a shot.

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