View Full Version : [Philosophical] Homebrew on the brain.

2010-03-08, 04:45 PM
I had a particularly bewildering conversation with one of my campaign-mates the other night about a class recommendation he'd made, and I found it just odd enough to use for conversation fodder.

This is for 3.5, primarily. It expands all over, but the terminology starts there.

Breaking down wizard spells, feats, nine swords maneuvers, magic items and the like into their component parts is something I've gotten used to doing reflexively, as I expect many of you have as well. 2nd level wizard spells can do X dice of Y size of Z element to A targets in a B area, or granting you C bonus on D, E, F checks, and the multitude of adjustments that can be made to remain within the same power signature.
I love me some homebrew, and this is a large part of being able to balance and craft homebrew content. Thus, knowing these elements, or at least the concept of the recognizable constituents, has become a vital part of my understanding of whichever class play style.

Here comes the crunchy part:

Totemists, a class from the Incarnum book, work on a different resource system, which I have managed to piece together with a reasonable degree of certainty. But... well, these resources are used to generate temporary magic items (soulmelds), which again are perfectly sane and easy to break down. Then comes the twist. Totemists, like most other incarnum users, have the option of 'binding' these magic item equivalents that they generate. Binding a soulmeld allows you to continue using it as normal, and provides the effect of an additional magic item, depending on where you bind it, which comes from a completely different power signature. And I haven't quite wrapped my head around how they did this, how one soulmeld associates one magic item effect to another magic item effect.

My companion recommended first, I just stop bloody homebrewing for a while and play something straight from the book. But I couldn't. Because until I break down how they go together, the list of soulmelds might as well be arcane writing. I don't get it. So instead he advised that totemist soulmelds are all based on magical beasts from the monster manual. This was actually somewhat helpful, giving me something I can grasp, beyond an abstract list of disassociated pieces.

I still haven't grown to fully comprehend the way this class is put together, but I'm getting there. And more meaningfully, it makes a very interesting study of how my brain works on a basic level, and how it has changed my initial, rather limited understanding of abstract D&D mechanics, to a very complex, well ordered structure.

Lix Lorn
2010-03-31, 03:40 AM
...wow. (Applauds)
My gut reaction is to get away while I still can, but the fact that I managed to design a good looking Base Class without any real knowledge makes me feel it's too late.

Baron Corm
2010-03-31, 07:33 AM
Homebrewing is how I learned both 3e and 4e. I got an idea, and tried to put it onto paper. It helps you to learn the mechanics of things if you need them for something, to use as tools. The first attempts were god awful and deserved to go straight from keyboard to recycle bin, but they weren't about making good homebrew, they were about learning.

Of course, the first time I homebrewed for 3e I thought I knew things pretty well, but the 4e one was actually on purpose. It's painful for people on the boards to have to sift through the people who have no idea how to put them ideas efficiently onto paper, but I stopped minding once I realized that they would get better just by homebrewing more. No point really in responding in-depth to a topic like that since they won't understand. Short, fortune cookie replies work best there. Being exposed to the writing process and the critiques themselves gets the gears going.

Long story short, as with everything, practice makes perfect.

I don't know jack about Incarnum but your topic felt lonely so I thought I would throw you some paragraphs :P

Lix Lorn
2010-03-31, 09:28 AM
It's the main reason I'm looking at the rules so much. XD

:smallredface: Thanks! And I don't get Incarnum either. Not on The SrD.

2010-03-31, 02:01 PM
I view homebrewing is one of the best ways of expressing oneself in the game, to get just that right fit for what you want to play (or send against your PCs). It's one of the major activities in D&D which keeps me going.
Though I've not used Incarnium extensively, one way that you could try to figure out homebrew for the Totemist is to see approximately what value (in gp) the soulmelds are (like creating custom magical items). If the gp of the soulmelds approximately equals the normal gp, then that would be a nifty fit.

2010-03-31, 02:45 PM
If you ever 'get' this class, I'd love to see more of how it breaks down.

Of the three incarnum classes, the Totemist screams to be used as a springboard for other classes (Magical Beasts? the type of critter with the *least* coherent theme, the dumping ground for 'animals with powerz?' what's up with that?).

A 'Totemist' whose melds were entirely based on Undead traits and abilities, or Dragon abilities, or even *Fey,* would make more sense, as a theme.