View Full Version : Can someone explain Tome of Magic and Incarnum to me?

2008-01-31, 02:42 PM
I've heard of these books on the boards, and have briefly glanced through them at the local Border's, yet I'm still completely clueless of the fluff behind them, how balanced they are, what their abilities and party role is, etc. I was wondering if anyone could offer me a summary of what the magic concepts and base classes in there are about?

2008-01-31, 02:54 PM
I haven't really read Incarnum, but I do have Tome of Magic. ToM has three entirely seperate magic systems: pact magic, shadow magic, and truenaming. The pact magic class is called a binder, and their abilities focus on things called vestiges that give them a selection of abilities. When they bind a vestige, they have to make a binding check: if they fail, they still get all the powers, but they also fall under the vestige's influence, and are prevented or required to perform specific actions.
The shadow magic class is the shadowcaster, and they're the closest to a traditional caster. They get abilities called mysteries which function like spells and can be used once per day. As the shadowcaster levels, the mysteries become easier to use (becoming spell-like and supernatural abilities, and increasing in uses/day). They also get quite a few class abilities, unlike most casters. A mystery is generally a little stronger than a spell of equal level (especially any mystery of 3rd, 6th or 9th level, because of how shadowcasters learn mysteries) but because they get so few mysteries, which can be used so few times per day, they are generally considered weak.
The truenamer is awful. Their casting mechanic is a skill check, which is okay, except that the way in which the check DC scales makes it incredibly difficult to actually cast anything, and their abilities (utterances) are generally quite weak.

Fax Celestis
2008-01-31, 03:03 PM
Magic of Incarnum isn't really a spellcaster book (despite it's slightly-misleading title): it is more centered towards other characters. It's primary focus is the manipulation of spiritual life energy (incarnum) into tools for a character to use (soulmelds). By binding a soulmeld to a chakra, a character can tap deeper into the power of the soulmeld and thereby gain a stronger effect.

The Incarnate and the Soulborn most closely resemble the Paladin in their class fluff, while the Totemist is closest to the Druid. As far as balance goes, the classes and material presented in MoI is actually very well-balanced and usually is broken only when utilized with other already-considered questionable material.

2008-01-31, 03:30 PM
Tome of Magic: Great premise, bad presentation. Incarnum: Odd premise, awesome presentation.

2008-01-31, 04:07 PM
Incarnum: Odd premise, awesome presentation.

Don't you mean: cerulean premise, azure presentation?

Fax Celestis
2008-01-31, 04:09 PM
Don't you mean: cerulean premise, azure presentation?

Midnight clarification.

2008-01-31, 04:54 PM
Don't you mean: cerulean premise, azure presentation?

Well I thought the premise was odd, anyway. :smalltongue: I like it though.

2008-01-31, 05:13 PM
Tome of Magic: Great premise, bad presentation. Incarnum: Odd premise, awesome presentation.

Hey, the Binder rocks. The other two, eh, he has to be the diamond in the rough.

2008-01-31, 06:02 PM
The Binder is considered a well-balanced Jack of All Trades type character. Depending on what Vestiges he chooses to bind each day, he can have whole different sets of abilities from day to day.

He can be a decent tank. He can be an interesting Batman in a much-weaker-than-Wizard way. He can be a decent in-combat skill monkey (i.e. a stealth/Sneak Attack machine), but lacks the skills to be a good skill monkey in other situations. He can be a good out-of-combat healer, but lacks the "oomph" to heal fast enough in combat to be helpful.

Most of his more powerful abilities work on a "5 round recharge" basis, rather than per-day or per-encounter.

2008-01-31, 08:20 PM
Truenamer is a really great idea for a class hobbled by incredibly lousy execution. Trimming the DC requirements and the double stat casting requirements (Seriously, why do you do that..it just encourages people to stick with a class that doesn't) I plan on doing a homebrewed version to test out and see how it works.