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View Full Version : Incarnum... what is good about it?



The Gilded Duke
2007-04-11, 01:25 PM
So I read through the magic of Incarnum book a second time. While the system seems kinda neat at first, a power pool of sorts that can be shifted back and forth between abilities, it doesn't seem that effective or well done. The totemist seems like the only interesting class, and the other two and many of the ideas of incarnum itself seem to be furthering the horrible alignment ideas of dnd.

So.. do people actually like it? And if so, what is good about it?

Not interested in starting some sort of Incarnum Good, Incarnum bad debate, or arguing its merits vs magics, psionics or tome of magic, just interested in what is neat and intriguing about the system.

Fax Celestis
2007-04-11, 01:28 PM
I think it's a terrific book. It allows for interesting and diverse characters who are flexible in a variety of situations. Granted, the Incarnate and Soulborn are not the best put together classes (as they are alignment heavy) but they are better than the Paladin in my opinion.

Further, Incarnum grants supernatural abilities to noncasters without overly strengthening casters further. It's a nice little nudge, and makes the game more interesting.

Counterspin
2007-04-11, 01:33 PM
I've gotta side with Fax. I love Incarnum because it opens up a class of interesting combat options(shifting around your points between your various soulmelds), without having to go into the dark pit which is bookkeeping for a full caster.
I also like it because I'm in love with natural attacks, and there's a meld which gives you access to a stack of them.

Fax Celestis
2007-04-11, 01:36 PM
I've gotta side with Fax. I love Incarnum because it opens up a class of interesting combat options(shifting around your points between your various soulmelds), without having to go into the dark pit which is bookkeeping for a full caster.
I also like it because I'm in love with natural attacks, and there's a meld which gives you access to a stack of them.

Yeah. The Totemist can get a metric ton of natural attacks with the right melds, and it's glory. Glory on a stick.

ArmorArmadillo
2007-04-11, 01:42 PM
Thirding the discussion, I love Incarnum. Given, I'm not terribly excited by Incarnate or Soulborn, but Totemist is one of my all time favorite classes, because it's all about creative and interesting combinations of iconic abilities.

Also, Incarnum feats give a pretty interesting idea of having feats that scale as levels increase, and offer a new tactical system of investing Essentia.

I think one of the primary benefits of the Incarnum system, as opposed to the SRD, is that standard spells get too powerful as spell levels increase (think magic missle to scorching ray, scorching ray to fireball) to the point where high level spells are too much beyond what anyone else can reliably do.

Incarnum gives a good system where you have a lot of basic abilities and can invest to improve them in basic, but significant ways.

The book has flaws, Incarnum Magic is a little underwhelming, but I really think it has a lot of potential and does things in a creative way.

Fax Celestis
2007-04-11, 01:46 PM
I was rather disappointed at the fact that they didn't do anything with the Monk class. One would think chakras and monks would go together hand in hand, but apparently not. So, I made the Sapphire Eremite (http://corporation.walagata.com/fax/wiki/index.php/Sapphire_Eremite) PrC to compensate.

Khantalas
2007-04-11, 01:47 PM
I have a monster based on Incarnum (specifically, the power of good souls... and the truename of good). That show I like it.

I don't know what's good about it. I like the concept, more than anything, and the thoughts of a VoP Skarn Monk // Soulborn or Monk // Totemist makes me giddy inside.

And why doesn't anyone like Incarnates and Soulborns?

Morty
2007-04-11, 01:54 PM
I don't have Incarnum, but from what I've heard it's preety interesting. I'll try to grab it as soon as I'm abroad.
I'm confused about one thing though: are Tome of Magic and Incarnum the same book?

Khantalas
2007-04-11, 01:56 PM
Nope. It's Magic of Incarnum, not Tome of Magic. Different books.

Fax Celestis
2007-04-11, 01:56 PM
No. Tome of Magic covers Binders (Pact Magic), Shadowcasters (Shadow Magic), and Truenamers (Truename Magic), while Magic of Incarnum covers Incarnates, Soulborns, and Totemists (Incarnum).

The Gilded Duke
2007-04-11, 02:14 PM
Is there anyway to increase the incarnum cap of feats besides the Incadescent Champion class ability?

Shiny, Bearer of the Pokystick
2007-04-11, 02:16 PM
And why doesn't anyone like Incarnates and Soulborns?
Fourth of fifth-ing the love of Incarnum, and more specifically of Totemists.

As to Incarnates and Soulborns, they both suffer from the 'paladin problem' of excessive role-playing restriction, especially the Incarnate, and the Soulborn just doesn't feel inspired to me. They look and feel like Incarnum Paladins.

Fax Celestis
2007-04-11, 02:16 PM
Is there anyway to increase the incarnum cap of feats besides the Incadescent Champion class ability?

Yes. Go epic.

Ramza00
2007-04-11, 02:18 PM
Incarnum does to melee similar options what Tome of Battle: Book of the Nine Swords does it gives them more options, and the thing melee needs most mobility.

It can also help a skill user.

Instead of rehasing things I said before I will just link you two threads.
http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=39616
http://boards1.wizards.com/showthread.php?t=826781

Also check out the char op threads.

Incarnum
Incarnum Tricks/Combos/Builds
http://boards1.wizards.com/showthread.php?t=530815

Incarnate by the numbers
http://boards1.wizards.com/showthread.php?t=574633
Soulborn Handbook
http://boards1.wizards.com/showthread.php?t=592729

Totemist Mobility Expert: 1-20 Build Optimization
http://boards1.wizards.com/showthread.php?t=666169
The Soulmeld Eater, master of negative levels
http://boards1.wizards.com/showthread.php?t=586076
Does Incarnum save the Samurai?
http://boards1.wizards.com/showthread.php?t=527135
The Incarnum Four: Four Unique Totemist Builds to Annoy Your DM or Players!
http://boards1.wizards.com/showthread.php?t=789365

Free excerpt Draconic Soulmelds (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/ex/20060912a&page=4) - meant for incarnum classes; soulmelds from Dragon Magic
http://www.wizards.com/default.asp%3Fx%3Ddnd/ex/20060912a%26page%3D4
Free excerpt (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/ex/20060912a&page=4) Psionics of Incarnum (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/psm/20060217a) - psionic soulmelds and the Soul Manifester (dual psionic and meldshaping advancement)
http://www.wizards.com/default.asp%3Fx%3Ddnd/psm/20060217a

Akennedy
2007-04-11, 02:37 PM
I think it needs a slight power adjustment. Otherwise, thumbs up. I mean, most abilities do a max of 7d6 damage. That's kinda weak, and to top it off, the main caster of incarnum need to be geared for close-ish combat. The con for a casting stat is nice though.

Fax Celestis
2007-04-11, 02:41 PM
I think it needs a slight power adjustment. Otherwise, thumbs up. I mean, most abilities do a max of 7d6 damage. That's kinda weak, and to top it off, the main caster of incarnum need to be geared for close-ish combat. The con for a casting stat is nice though.

I happen to think my Pauper of Smack build is rather fun and is in no way underpowered.

Assassinfox
2007-04-11, 02:54 PM
It's BLUE! What's not to like about that? :smalltongue:

Ramza00
2007-04-11, 04:23 PM
I think it needs a slight power adjustment. Otherwise, thumbs up. I mean, most abilities do a max of 7d6 damage. That's kinda weak, and to top it off, the main caster of incarnum need to be geared for close-ish combat. The con for a casting stat is nice though.
You just aren't playing/thinking correctly on how to use incarnum. For example a evil incarnate can do this amount of damage just from his soulmelds. (Stealing from Incarnate by the numbers).

Melee Combat and Incarnum by the numbers.
Melee Combat

An Evil Incarnate might shape his Incarnate Avatar and his Incarnate Weapon at first level. He would add Necrocarnum Weapon & get his Incarnum Radiance at 3rd level, however he would not be able to power all three fully until later levels. At 9th level he might spend a feat to allow double Chakra binds on the Arms and shape both Bloodwar Gauntlets and his Incarnate Weapon.

A Law Incarnate might shape the Incarnate Avatar and Weapon at first level too. However he has no match for the Necrocarnum Weapon. At 9th level he would add Bluesteel Bracers using the same double Chakra bind feat.

This is what their bonuses would look like by level:
To Hit = Bonus to hit (not incuding BAB)
Damage = Bonus to damage (not including anything else)
IB = Item Bonus from an Incarnum Focus for the arms.
FB = Feat Bonus if the character took Expanded Essentia Capacity.



Level Evil Evil Law Law
To Hit Damage To Hit Damage
1 1 3 2 1
2 1 3 2 1
3 2 8 5 2
4 2 9 5 2
5 2 12 6 2
6 3 16 8 3
7 3 16 8 3
8 3 16 8 3
9 6 19 8 6
10 6 21 9 6
11 6 21 9 6
12 8 26 11 8
13 8 26 11 8
14 8 26 11 8
15 10 33 14 10
16 10 33 14 10
17 10 33 14 10
18 12 38 16 12
19 12 38 16 12
20 12 40 17 12

IB 14 42 18 14
FB 15 43 19 15
Though he will have fewer attacks by default the Incarnate, before non-weapon items & feats, will have about the same or better chance to hit as a fighter & will have reasonable to very strong bonus damage to even things out.

Poor BAB remains a problem but there are ways to overcome this at least partially with feats and gear.

1. Skillful Weapon or other regular BAB booster
2. UMD & things like Divine Power
3. Dual Wielding
4. Going the AoO route via Tripping, Defensive Throw, or whatnot
5. Going the Charge route with Leap Attack
6. Non-standard attacks like Disarm

With the huge damage bonus the Evil Incarnate will really shine in TWF builds. They also have good trip potential since their Incarnate Weapon is a flail thus making the AoO route potentially tempting as well.

Having a better to-hit bonus the Lawful Incarnate will be good at disarming and make a reasonable TWF. However they can make fantastic chargers since their huge to hit bonus can offset any BAB loss. By taking Power Attack, Leap Attack, and any other charge related feats they can do good damage.

Note: if you choose to focus on tripping or disarming then the Mauling Gauntlets soulmeld is worth a look. It may be well worth it to burn a feat to add this to a build.

Good Incarnates can have monster AC, but will be unable to come close to the melee attack bonuses that Lawful and Evil can muster. They will likely do better to focus on the direct damage soulmelds like Lightning Gauntlets and Dissolving Spittle.

Chaos Incarnates have fantastic mobility & can see use as a charger or spring attacker, but I like them better as ranged attackers.

Given a huge AC the Good Incarnate could theoretically be good at Defensive Throw. However the trouble will be getting all the feats needed.

Overall the Evil Incarnate looks stronger to me in melee by default. Lawful and Chaotic Incarnates have some potential, especially if they take the Necrocarnum Acolyte feat which will allow them to shape necrocarnum soulmelds.

And Hitpoints
Durability in combat

Durability has also been mentioned as a problem for some Incarnates. As Zemyla notes below this isnít necessarily the case. First since Con is the primary class stat most Incarnates will have plenty of HP in addition to their raw dice. The Vitality Belt can really help melee builds as well giving them even more HP.

Con = Consitiution Score
Inc. HP = Average base HP for the Incarnate at that level
Vit. Blet = HP from Vitality Belt
Inc. Total = Incarnate Base HP + Vitality Belt HP.
Fighter HP = Average base HP for a Fighter at that level with the same Constitution



Level Con Inc. Vit. Inc. Fighter
HP Belt Total HP
1 14 5 1 6 7
2 14 11 2 13 15
3 14 16 6 22 22
4 15 22 8 30 30
5 15 27 10 37 37
6 15 33 18 51 45
7 15 38 21 59 52
8 16 52 24 76 68
9 16 58 27 85 76
10 16 65 30 95 85
11 16 71 33 104 93
12 17 78 48 126 102
13 17 84 52 136 110
14 17 91 56 147 119
15 17 97 75 172 127
16 18 120 80 200 152
17 18 127 85 212 161
18 18 135 108 243 171
19 18 142 114 256 180
20 19 150 120 270 190
Assuming a reasonable starting Con of 14 (and most Incarnates would do well to start with 15 or better) and no stat boosting equipment we can see that the 20th level Incarnate with this soulmeld will have more HP than a 20th level Fighter with the same Con score ... and both will have access to the same sorts of stat boosting equipment like Amulets of Health. Below 20th the HP total is close or slightly in the Incarnate's favor at most levels. Only at 1st & 2nd level does the fighter have an advantage. Also if the fighter choose to boost another stat, like Strength, the difference becomes even more pronounced in the Incarnateís favor.
Thus an evil incarnate combined can be doing 40 extra damage and +12 to hit due to incarnum. Combine with a skillful weapon, a gestalt character with full bab, a warchanter whatever and you can easily power attack+thf or twf as well as a barbarian or a rogue. You can get more hitpoints than a fighter with the vitality belt.

Thing is an Incarnate isn't a speciality focus he is a generalist. You can do similar amount of damage with a totemist with all his natural attacks, and a soulborn has full meleer right off the bat and since his alignment has two components he can double dip certain soulmelds.

Innis Cabal
2007-04-11, 04:27 PM
its ok, i picked it up thinking it was going to be different with the chakra abilities, thinking more along the lines of eastern magic....i was mistaken, though not so much i regret getting the book, used it to make a materia system for one of the guy's i play with

JackMage666
2007-04-11, 04:43 PM
I've got an Evil Incarnate character up right now, he's taken the place of the fighter in my party. We started at 5th level, and, when I did the math, he did as much damage with a touch attack as the wizard would to one enemy with a fireball. He uses only the Lightning Gauntlets (when against undead) or the Necrocarnum Touch (against everyone else), and does alot of damage. He's pretty nifty, and due to the high Con, doesn't worry about dying in a fight.

Bag_of_Holding
2007-04-11, 05:00 PM
Incarnum's a decent book, with lots of potentials and added flavours!

jameswilliamogle
2007-04-11, 05:09 PM
Regarding the Incarnate, the Incarnate by the Numbers thread shows it all. They make great Skill monkeys, coming in very close to a rogue in most cases, great secondary melee combatants, great ranged combatants (with damage about the same as a warlock), and pretty good secondary healers (healing ~50 hp once per hour works decently). You should not think of them as the "wizard of incarnum": they actually are really, really horrible at that role (except when they get mage's spectacles on and boost their UMD to like +a billionz, then have the staff to back it up...).

Totemists rock, as has been mentioned. Soulborns might be ok, but they're a bit slow on the acquisition of abilities.

Ramza00
2007-04-11, 05:13 PM
Incarnates are like Binders, Chameleons, or Factotums.

Bag_of_Holding
2007-04-11, 05:16 PM
Incarnates are like Binders, Chameleons, or Factotums.


I like the comparison.:smallwink:

Fax Celestis
2007-04-11, 05:16 PM
I need to finish that Incarnum/Binder hybrid PrC I was working on.

Ramza00
2007-04-11, 05:18 PM
I need to finish that Incarnum/Binder hybrid PrC I was working on.
How many games are you in right now Fax? Character a bard? *hearts the violin*

Fax Celestis
2007-04-11, 05:26 PM
How many games are you in right now Fax? Character a bard? *hearts the violin*

Three. Silence Mordekai is retired, Vakiah ahn-Rahlkat is in "Scale Seasons", Tasha Levantine is in "The Flight of Lady Kibitzer", and my newest, Ililani Kaona, is in "Troubles in Ostyo Cilia". She's a bard that'll progress into the Choralist PrC (http://corporation.walagata.com/fax/wiki/index.php/Choralist), circumstances permitting.

The Valiant Turtle
2007-04-11, 09:54 PM
I really like Incarnum quite well, it seems nicely balanced. As the Incarnate by the Numbers thread notes, they actually do very well in a multi-class build because essentia capacity is based on character level, not class level. For anything other than a full caster, a dip into an incarnum class now and then can often be extremely useful.

Gilded Duke, the expanded essentia capacity feat can raise the limit on a soulmeld, but not the limit on a feat. Personally I probably wouldn't have a problem applying it to a feat if I were your GM, but I guess I'd have to know what you want to do with it. It's a feat most Incarnates should have anyway.