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Shardminds made their debut as a playable option in the Player’s Handbook 3 for 4e. They’re new to this edition and really lean into its background lore for psionics. They also have the honor of being the second living construct species presented in the game (after Warforged). This entry presents some shardmind stat blocks for use as NPCs or enemies.
At the dawn of time there was a crystaline entity named the Living Gate. Neither god nor primordial, the Gate protected the border between the known planes and the Far Realm. It stood firm even during the Dawn War, but it was eventually sundered by the combined efforts of mind flayers, beholders and other Far Realm inhabitants who wanted to enter the world for reasons ranging from the inscrutable to the foul.
Though the Living Gate was shattered and its pieces spread through the cosmos, its will lived on, gifting the disparate shards with life and purpose. These are the shardminds, living constructs with a strong affinity for psionic power and ancestral memories that compel them to rebuild the Living Gate and once again seal the Far Realm away.
Despite that common ancestral memory shardminds as individuals are as varied in outlook and personality as any other sapient species. Over the ages they have formed three major schools of thought that propose different ways of continuing the mission of the Living Gate. The MM3 doesn’t describe all of them, but I will because they’re cool.
The Thought Builders believe the correct solution is to build a new Living Gate and imbue it with the psionic power necessary to seal the Far Realm. Their main goal is to acquire the knowledge necessary to do so. They tend to be Good and worship Ioun.
The God Shards believe that the Shardminds now form a distributed network that carries on the duties of the Living Gate. It’s each individual’s duty to train and nurture their own power so that they can better contribute to this task. Once this network is strong enough, the Far Realm will be sealed. They tend to be Unaligned and worship no gods.
The Shard Slayers are the faction most likely to come into conflict with the PCs. They believe that the original Living Gate can rebuild itself if it’s psionic energy is allowed to return to its original site. However, this energy is “trapped” in the shardminds, and must be forcibly “released”. So yeah, adherents of this philosophy want to kill all other shardminds and then themselves. They are usually Evil and worship Vecna.
The stat blocks in this entry represent Shard Slayers suitable as mid-to-late Heroic opposition. If your group has one or more shardminds, they have a built-in reason to be hostile. Even if it doesn’t, most non-Evil PCs will be interested in stopping a bunch of genocidal maniacs.
Shardminds are Immortal Humanoids with the Living Construct keyword. They have Resist 5 Psychic and a ground speed of 6. Their signature power is the same one PCs get: Shardswarm, an encounter power which allows them to break apart and reform a short distance away. This causes every adjacent enemy to grant combat advantage for a turn and lets the shardmind teleport half their speed.
Shardminds speak Common, Deep Speech, and have telepathy with range 5.
This psychic warrior disguises its true nature beneath a suit of plate, and wanders about seeking shardminds to slay. Its outwardly calm demeanor hides a murderous rage, which reveals itself when it’s wounded in combat or when an innocent bystander fails to answer its questions.
The warseeker is a Level 6 Soldier with 70 HP. It wears plate and fights with a broadsword and a heavy crossbow. Heavy armor means its speed is only 5.
Both the sword and the crossbow are basic attacks that damage and mark for a turn. If a marked enemy within 5 squares of the warseeker targets makes an attack that doesn’t target it, the warseeker can deal 5 psychic damage to that enemy. Once the warseeker is bloodied, its Furious Mind grants it 10 temporary HP, a -2 penalty to AC, and a +4 bonus to damage for the rest of the fight.
This is a basic frontline fighter with some tricks borrowed from the paladin and the barbarian. It’s sticky and a good choice to form a solid “wall” with other soldiers and brutes.
A psion who is a big fan of mind control. It’s a Level 8 Controller with 86 HP. It wields a dagger as a basic melee attack, but the important bits are its powers geared towards brute-force mind control.
Overwhelming Mind is an at-will power that only has an “Effect” line, meaning this always happens: it forces an enemy within 5 squares to make a melee or ranged basic attack against a target of the dominator’s choice. If the attack hits, the dominator slides the enemy 3 squares. Psionic Puppet (recharge 5+) is a non-damaging ranged attck that dominates the target on a hit (save ends). And Mind Swarm (encounter) is an area attack that deals psychic damage and creates a zone that lasts the rest of the encounter. Enemies who end their turn inside can be slid 3 squares by the dominator.
Dominators will be doing little damage on their own, but they’ll cause lots of friendly fire incidents and will make it very hard for the party to maintain any sort of coherent formation.
A skilled assassin dispatched to murder shardminds identified by its buddies. It’s a Level 10 Lurker with 81 HP, wielding a crystal greatsword called a Shardblade. It does standard damage for its level, which can be increased by the Psychic Boost (recharge 5+). This is a free-action power that triggers when the executioner hits with the sword, so it’s never wasted on a missed attack.
The executioner attacks a range with a Mind Shadows power, which deals light psychic damage and blinds the target for a turn. It can also perform a Psychic Infiltration, a melee attack vs. Will. On a hit this removes the executioner from play and causes the target to suffer 20 ongoing psychic damage and be dazed (save ends). When the target saves, the executioner appears adjacent to it. This is an at-will power.
A boosted sword strike actually deals more damage than a round of Infiltration, but the latter is an excellent move to use while Psychic Boost recharges, as it shields the shardmind from damage. So this lurker actually hides inside the enemy’s minds, and deals massive damage while doing so.
I love all the living constructs, and shardminds are no exception. Their default appearance is a bit meh, but as you can see by the illustrations I chose here this can be easily remedied.