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    BardGuy

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    Default Incarnum and YOU: a reference guide

    Well, if you're reading this, odds are you're interested about Magic of Incarnum. Either you've heard rumors about 'an amazing two level dip', or just wanted to check out this really different way of doing things. I'm here to explain some things, dispel a few myths, and either confirm or deny some rumors.

    What is Incarnum?


    This comes from the book Magic of Incarnum. The mechanic is as follows:

    An incarnum-using class has a given number of soulmelds he can use, which provide various benefits. He can also 'shape' some of them to item slots, which provides additional benefits, at the cost of eating up either a magic item slot or a feat (feat can be used to remove the magic item limitation). The number he can use and shape is dependent on his class level. It's in the relevant class chart.

    An incarnum using class has access to ALL soulmelds his class has access to. There's no funny business about 'soulmelds known' or none of that nonsense.

    You may only shape soulmelds after 8 hours of rest, much like preparing spells for the day. You may have heard rumors about Incarnum being 'Schrodinger's characters because they can change their class abilities on the fly'. This probably got started somewhere by someone NOT reading this limitation on meldshaping. Or probably got started when someone mentioned how flexible an Incarnum character can be because they can shift around their essentia to change their focus very rapidly.

    Mind you, Incarnum characters are still very flexible, but they may NOT change out their soulmelds on the fly.

    Only one Soulmeld may be used per chakra slot, however some soulmelds have multiple chakra slots. The exception to this is the funky Totem chakra that the Totemist get. You cannot shape a soulmeld to the Totem chakra, you must shape it elsewhere, then bind it to the Totem chakra.

    For example, if I take Girallon Arms as a 2nd level Totemist and bind it to my Totem, I would first have to shape it to my Arm slot, as that is the only one you can shape it to, then bind it to my Totem chakra. That means I could not then shape Riding Bracers, because the arm slot is already taken up by my Girallon Arms soulmeld.

    As another example, if I take Girallon Arms and shape it to my Arm slot and bind it to my Totem slot, I can still shape my Totem Avatar, which has several options. However, I cannot bind my Totem Avatar to my Arms to gain Improved Grapple, because it's not shaped there, even though it theoretically can be bound there, due to the Girallon Arms taking up that slot. But I could shape it to my Shoulders and bind it there for an increase in the damage of my natural attacks. Which actually synergizes pretty well with all the natural attacks I just picked up from the Girallon Arms in my totem slot shaped to my arms.

    The feat Double Chakra allows you to have two soulmelds in the same slot, and even bound to the same slot. But must be purchased *PER SLOT*.

    Meldshaping Class Levels DO NOT STACK. If I have Totemist2/Incarnate6, then I have Meldshaper level 2 for Totemist binds, and Meldshaper level 6 for Incarnate binds. You don't get to add them together.

    You are limited to a number of shapes equal to Con-10. Yea, this is hidden away on page 20, Abilities and Meldshapers. That means unless you have a stellar Con score, you won't shaping many melds. Fortunately, Con is the only score a Meldshaper really needs to worry about, so it's probably not going to be a big problem. But it can be an issue in hybrid or dip builds.

    Essentia Essentials


    An important part about soulmelds is Essentia. All Incarnum classes gain essentia according to their class charts. You can also gain essentia with certain feats found in the book. Certain PrC's also have unique methods of increasing your Essentia pool.

    Essentia can be invetsed into Soulmelds so that they can provide an increased benefit. Certain feats, class abilities, items, or racial features may also have essentia invested in them to enhance them. You may invest Essentia as a Swift action. This allows you to shift the focus of your character rapidly, however essentia invested in feats are stuck there until the next time you rest for 8 hours.

    You have a cap on the maximum amount of Essentia you may invest in anything, based on your character level. This is where a lot of the legends about Incarnum classes are great multiclassers... because even though you may only have two levels of Totemist, your entire character's set of levels count for purposes of determining how many essentia can go into any given effect. You do *NOT*, however, gain any additional essentia by multiclassing. Therefore, a Totemist2/Barbarian1/Fighter2/Ranger7 might be able to invest up to 3 essentia in any given meldshape, by virtue of being 12th character level, and even be able to invest 4 essentia into his Totem chakra, by virtue of his Totemist2 class ability, he still only has 2 essentia to play with, unless he picked up more via feats.

    There is a cute little quirk about essentia, however, in regards to multiclassing and essentia capacity. Some classes grant an essentia capacity bonus, such as Incarnum. However, they only apply to that class's binds. Therefore, an Incarnate6/Totemist2 would have increased soulmeld capacity for anything bound as an Incarnate, or for the Totem chakra when binding as a totemist, but other totemist binds would not be affected by this.

    Chakras, Shaping, and how it works

    Meldshaping classes also have a column on their chart labeled 'chakra binds'. They also have class abilities which read something like 'Chakra Binds (x and y)'. There's a lot of confusion how they work together. Let's clear up that confusion, and figure out how it works.

    First off, the number on the chart tells you how many meldshapes you can *bind*. The first number on the chart 'soulmelds' is how many you can *shape*. You need to shape it to bind it, and you may only bind it where you shape it.

    EXCEPTION: If you are a Totemist, you cannot shape anything to your Totem chakra, it has to be shaped elsewhere, then bound to your Totem chakra.

    Notice how small that number of binds is? Yea.. that's because binding it can give you some *REALLY* cool nifty tricks. For example, the Crystal Helm. If you just shape it, you get a bonus to resist charms and compulsions. if you invest essentia into it... you get a Deflection bonus to AC. Now that's a pretty dang handy class ability... means not needing a Ring of Protection or finding a Cleric to cast something on you for a Deflection bonus to AC. But wait... bind it to your Crown chakra (one of the first an Incarnate unlocks), and your melee attacks gain the Force descriptor, meaning you never miss incorporeal targets. So it's basically a free +1 equivelant enhancement (ghost touch), in addition to your deflection bonus to AC from your essentia and a bonus on save vs being your enemy's bi... er... pet.

    However, such power does come with a price. If you bind a soulmeld to a chakra, you cannot wear a magic item in that slot. So if you have bound your Crystal Helm to your Crown chakra, you cannot then put on and gain use out of a Headband of Intellect.

    Mind you, ONLY binding blocks magic item slots. Merely shaping it has no effect. So I could shape my Totem Avatar to my feet, and I could still wear Boots of Speed if I wanted to. As long as I don't bind it there, I'd be good.

    The Totem chakra, again, works funky, because the totem chakra doesn't relate to an item equip slot. So if you had Girallon Arms shaped to your arms, and bound to your totem, you could still wear Bracers of Dexterity since it's not bound to Arms, it's bound to Totem.

    There's a feat that allows you to bypass this restriction, however it must be purchased *PER SLOT*. So keep this in mind when planning your character's gear and soulmeld selection.

    Incarnum Classes


    There are two... well, technically there are three, but there are only two worth bothering with... incarnum base classes. Incarnate, and Totemist (Soulborn is the failed attempt at making a paladin-esque meldshaper class, and ended up not only NOT doing a good job, but actually ending up WEAKER than a Paladin).

    Incarnate - More melds than you can shake a stick at
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    Incarnates have a strict alignment requirement... one side MUST be neutral, and the other side must NOT be neutral. Thus your only alignment choices are NG/NE/CN/LN. That's it. Your alignment choice actually has a mechanical impact on how your class behaves, which melds you can shape, and what kind of bonuses you can give your allies. This makes it a lot harder for GM's to handwave as being irrelevant, since it directly affects your character's mechanical advantages.

    Incarnates have the best Meldshaping progression out of the base classes. They get the most binds, the soonest (excpeting the Totem chakra which is exclusively for the Totemist), and the most essentia. However, they've also got a 1/2 BAB progression. Fortunately, that can be somewhat mitigated, but it's still something to keep in mind... if you want to build a melee incarnate (which IS possible), you're really going to have to build for it. And probably get a Totemist dip for some natural attacks because your iteratives... suck.

    They also get the widest selection of soulmelds to shape, with a LOT of fun options. This isn't an Incarnate guide, so I'll simply end by saying: look up every soulmeld they can get, then looking up what their various binds CAN do, and see how you can synergize them.


    Totemist - "What's the scariest thing you ever ran into? Yea, I can do that too"
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    I've heard them called 'Blue Mage done right'. I've also heard them called 'Incarnum's version of barbarians'. I've also heard them referred to as 'the best 2 level dip your character ever had'. The truth is... somewhere in the middle.

    Whenever you hear about Totemist, you always hear about the 2nd level. That's because that is when they get their Totem chakra. It's pretty sweet, although it kind of screws up the shaping/binding rules by being funky like that. However, it does have some of the most interesting and useful abilities in the book. And it can make an excellent two-level dip for many builds. However, that's not to say that every build should have a two-level dip in Totemist.

    Now, Totemist is also a 3/4 BAB class, a d8 HD, and solid Ref and Fort saves, which means he can be a reliable front-liner. When you crank in his meldshaping, things can get nasty pretty quick. However, do keep in mind that he has, effectively, the same BAB and HD of a Monk, so he's not exactly wanting to take a hit, even if he *DOES* have additional ways of gaining more hit points.

    Totemists are very good at damage output, if that is what you build them for. If you are wanting ranged damage, pick up the Manticore Belt. Multiple ranged natural attacks. Which can be increased in damage with other soulmelds (totem avatar to shoulder and dread carapace shaped to name a couple). They also make superior melee damage output devices with Girallon Arms for a whole pile of natural attacks, Uskin Greaves for additional damage on a charge, and Sphinx Claws for Pounce.

    They can also have a lot of utility. Binding Blink Shirt to Totem, for example, gives you unlimited use of a move-action Dimension Door. Very handy for shadowpouncing (and possibly broken with an Idiot Crusader WRT build).

    However, please keep in mind that you may only have *ONE* Totem bind at a time. The 11th level ability does *NOT* allow you to bind two things to your totem, it allows you to bind your Totem-bound meld to it's own chakra. Thus, if you had Girallon Arms bound to Chakra, it could also then be bound to Arms for the Rend ability.

    The Double Chakra feat does allow you to bind two soulmelds to your Totem chakra, and I highly suggest it for any Totemist build who has a serious investment in Totemist, however it does have Meldshaper 9 prerequisite.


    Soulborn - The Trap

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    Don't. Just... don't. Why? Oh.. very well. Just to explain why this class is a huge honkin' TRAP and why you should never bother with it, I will go into all the gory details:

    First off, it's got an Alignment restriction, you can't be Neutral. You've got to be some flavor of extreme. So basically, like the four paladin types. You've got Smite Opposition... so also like paladin variants.

    Then you get Incarnum Defense. Okay, the LG one is just like your bog-standard 'stick up the pigu' paladin's... immunity to fear. CG is immune to Paralysis. Rare, but when it comes up, not bad to be immune to. LE get immunity to exhaustion, only not really because anything that makes you exhausted just makes you fatigued instead. Fail. CE makes you immune to penalty, damage or drain to Strength. Yes, ONLY strength. So it makes you immune to Shadows, but other than that... meh.

    At 3rd level, you get a bonus feat! Well, here's the catch: it has to be an Incarnum feat. Mind you, the class STILL isn't even considered a meldshaping class yet, and you have NO essentia yet. But hey, there ya go.

    - Actually, the bonus feats may, in fact, be the class's saving grace, since you can buy additional chakra openings and melds with them. Depending on the interpretations of the Open X Chakra feat line (see below under Debates), this could help make this an actual 'gish' class. Mind you, only two of the three bonus feats can be used for Open X Chakra feats, due to the levels they are obtained at, and the Bonus Essentia feat might screw you over before you have any meldshaping, because the GM might rule it's not retroactive.

    At 4th level, you theoretically get Meldshaping. You can shape ONE soulmeld, off of a pretty pathetic list. NO essentia, NO binds.

    er... thanks?

    And it goes downhill from there. You don't get your first essentia until level 6. You don't get your first Bind until level 8.

    At level 20, you have 5 soulmelds, 10 essentia, and 3 binds. Total.

    To put this in perspective, a 10th level Totemist has 6 soulmelds, 7 essentia, and 3 chakra binds. And actually has useful binds.

    To further put this in perspective, a 20th level Totemist has 9 soulmelds, 20 essentia, and 5 binds.

    You don't want me to compare it to an Incarnate's meldshaping... it would only make the Soulborn cry. There's a limit to kicking puppies, even for hardened criminals.

    Let me put it another way...

    There's this feat. It's called Shape Soulmeld. The ONLY prerequisite is a Con of 13. There's another feat chain called Open x Chakra. The character level requirement on them is WAY sooner than what a Soulborn gets.

    Therefore, a FIGHTER, who chooses to spend his bonus feats on Shape Soulmeld and Open X Chakra feats can literally be a better meldshaper than a Soulborn can! AND STILL HAVE FEATS LEFT OVER.

    No, Incarnum feats aren't Fighter feats. However, you can pick up Open X Chakra with your level 6, 9, 12, and 15 feats and have MORE binds than a Soulborn does, while relying on your bonus fighter feats to give you something else you can do. You spend your 1st level and 3rd level on melds, and perhaps use other of your feats on more melds rather than more binds.

    Gets better...

    Incarnum2/Fighter18 has one bind (crown), 2 essentia, and 3 melds. Before spending feats. So blow 1st and 3rd feats on either Bonus Essentia or Shape Soulmeld and you've beaten the Soulborn at everything, with the sacrifice of a single point of BAB.

    If he actually developed some meldshaping worth bothering with, it would've been a very nice class. Unfortunately, that never happened. DO NOT take this class. No, not even then.


    PrC's

    Incandescent Champion - Trap

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    I... well... okay, you know how I told you the Soulborn was the worst base class in the book? Yea... this is pretty much the PrC version of that. Well, not really, that award goes elsewhere, but it's definitely in the top of the bottom of the list. However, there's a few things you CAN salvage from it.

    Incandescent Strike. It's unfortunate that it is the victim of poor editing and writing. As it stands, because it's a (Su) ability, the default is a standard action. Which means you get ONE attack when using this. From the verbage 'for each such augmented attack', it's probably intended to give you a full round worth of attacks, but because it never states how long it takes to use, it's defaulted to a standard action.

    Fast Healing. Would've been more useful had it not been so limited.

    Unbearable Countenance. Cool name, crappy ability. There's a lot more things that have a LOT better fear effects. Remember that chart that tells you the maximum amount of essentia you can invest in something? That takes this out behind the woodshed, since the DC is 10 + Essentia Invested (maximum FOUR, unless you blow feats to increase this to FIVE) + CHA mod.

    Incarnum Overload. Okay, now we get into a useful ability, finally. Too bad it's so severely limited by uses per day.

    Incandescent Ray. Remember that list that showed you the maximum amount of essentia you can have invested in something? 4d8 is... even worse than what a base Warlock with zero optimization is doing. Sure, combo it with Incarnum Overload for one okay shot per day, but that's once a day.

    Incandescent Aura. You've waded through a lot of crap to get here, and now here you are. It's good action economy, because you don't have to do anything to use it, which makes it free damage. It's not MUCH damage, and you must be adjacent to a critter to use it, but there you go. Much like cleave, it seems a lot of fun for new players, but veterans will remark on how few times you have multiple opponents adjacent to you.

    Incandescent Transcendence. Bog-standard capstone of turning you into a native outsider, with the added advantage of 1/day making you unable to do anything. You go Incorporeal, but unlike most incorporeality (like, say, the Phase Cloak), it also prohibits you from making any attacks, casting any spells, or activating any special abilities (like soulmelds). Basically, you have your Incandescent Aura and that's it.


    Uses? With all the decent abilities strictly limited to a couple times a day... I got nothing.

    Incarnum Blade - Highly situational
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    It plays extremely unfairly with soulmelding, but to be fair, it's supposed to be used by characters without any soulmelding to give them something cool looking.

    Blademelds are pretty much the worst of both worlds. It eats your soulmeld slots in exchange for minor bonuses. Like the Totem chakra, you shape it to your sword, then bind it to another slot, effectively blocking that slot from being able to be bound with a regular soulmeld which would probably be more effective.

    Just shaping it makes the weapon bypass DR/magic. That's nice if you don't already have a magic weapon. I guess. Mind you, with a BAB +5 prerequsite, either your GM is deliberately punishing your party with no magic items, or you've got some other restriction which probably also gave you this ability already. Okay, if you are kidnapped, thrown in a dungeon, stripped of all your gear, and you have to fight your way out with the rusty spoon you swiped from the meal tray, and have to fight through a bunch of random encounters with DR/magic, then I suppose it can be handy. I guess.

    The good thing about Blademeld Binds is that it doesn't block magic item slots. The bad thing is that only the (ONE) blademeld may be shaped to any of them. Which means most of them are going begging, since you only have one meld and a bunch of bind locations.

    Crown chakra... well, to be fair, it's supposed to be sub-par since it is the first one you get. But... why? You remove the bonus on attacks from being flanked, but not the sneak attack dice which is the important thing? How often do you get disarmed anyways? The bonus against being feinted is, at least, possibly worthwhile, but... yea.

    Feet chakra. Bonus to initiative is never a bad thing, and probably the only worthwhile thing in this class. Too bad you can't invest essentia in it to boost the effects, or I'd call it an actually worthwhile dip.

    Arms chakra. I have never had a problem with not confirming crits, so this stands somewhere between worthless and idiotic.

    Brow chakra. Free Blind Fight feat. Big deal.

    Shoulder chakra. Light Fortification that only works on crits, not sneak attacks.

    Throat Chakra. Can be useful, or not, depending on the GM's interpretation. Since it does use the word 'demoralizes', it might function with Imperious Command. If so, this makes an effective lockdown build, even if it eats up your standard action to do so.

    Waist chakra. Uncanny Dodge + a huge bonus to a pointless attribute.

    Heart Chakra. You get bonus hit points, that go away immediately rather than like temporary hit points. So you can kill yourself by switching out while hurt. Fail.

    Soul chakra. Lesser version of Holy/Unholy/Axiomatic/Anarchistic enhancement. Pass.

    Rebind Blademeld. Well, at least you can shift around which one you are using more frequently.

    Dual Chakra Binding. Wow, you get TWO crappy abilities instead of ONE!


    Uses: It does have *some* use, I suppose. It's a five level PrC, so at least it doesn't eat too many levels. If you have an Imperious Command build, the Throat chakra might make this worthwhile to go into, perhaps go all the way to double-bind so you can get your improved initiative along with it. Just... don't use this in conjunction with a Meldshaper. They don't play nice.

    Ironsoul Forgemaster

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    Actually, not a trap, although very situational. Still beats Dwarven Defender by a mile and a half, although that's not exactly saying very much.

    First off, it advances Meldshaping 9/10. In other words, ignore what they were saying about 'soulborn' and enter through Incarnate. However, the binds it opens are rather limited in nature, so you may have to blow a feat or two on Open Chakra if there's a slot you want for a combo.

    It's only a 3/4 BAB class for one that is touted to be a melee class, but that's still better than the Incarnate gets. In fact, you can get into this class via Incarnate 5 (although you probably want Incarnate 6 simply because you gain so much that level) no problems. A dip into Crusader wouldn't hurt, though, to get some maneuvers to work with your shield.

    Shield Bond - Actually gives you a reason to use a shield! And really, this is why I highly suggest this class, at least a dip, to any shield-centric Crusader or Captain America type builds. If your GM loves throwing lots of blastomancy your way, shrug it off with style!

    Secrets of the Forge - Have you ever heard 'ride the xp wave'? If you haven't then you don't realize how very useful this can be. It means that even if you have no MagicMarts in your world, you still get access to magic weapons/armor.

    Forge Lore - Okay, so this one is mostly for flavor

    Chakra Binds - Most of these you probably already have, but you DO get to unlock the Heart chakra quicker

    Armor Bond - DR /- is fun. DR/- that stacks with the base armor is fun too. Adamantine Full Plate can get quite a bit of DR this way. Granted, it's not all THAT great if you're running into high-damage monsters, but it's great for wading through mooks.

    Please note that you don't get Heavy Armor proficency as an Incarnate, so if you are wanting Armor Bond on Adamantine Full Plate to max out your DR/- then please take the suggested Crusader dip, which also lets you do other things with your shield.

    Weapon Bond - More Damage is More Better. Double effectiveness so you've actually got relevant bonuses too, unless you're Ubercharging. Granted, you're probably not going to get the daze to stick on anything, with that pathetic DC, but hey... things can roll natural 1's. And when they do, Dazed is surprisingly difficult to be immune to, and pretty dang inconvenient to lose your next turn.


    Uses: If you want to be a party tank who can have some interesting abilities, there's worse places to go to be able to say 'no'. I'd probably want to back it up with something that gives Mettle, but it's some ways to get some solid defenses to some commonly used attacks.

    Necrocarnate - Massive essentia potential, but beware the pitfalls
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    Incarnate is just about the only way to get into it in any reasonable amount of time.

    A Necrocarnate is pretty much always going to be Incarnate7/Necrocarnate 13. There's almost no way to cheese the entry, get used to it.

    Harvest Corpse - See all those things you and your party just killed? Free essentia for the day! This can get stupid broken with the right setups, if you're facing a lot of mooks.

    Necrocarnum Soulshield - The victim of a very serious editing problem. While the bonus is clearly defined, the number of times per day is clearly defined... the duration of the ability is not. Does it work for one attack? For class level rounds? For an encounter? Bonus to all saves is VERY nice to have. I just wish I knew how long it lasted.

    Open Chakra/Extra Chakra Binds - You end up with a couple fewer binds total, but you end up with the full compliment of locations.

    Extra Soulmelds - Again, you end up with a few less than an Incarnate does, but you've still got Soulborn beat, and even giving Totemist a run for his money.

    Essentia Trap - Gives you something to do with your swift action. If it is the first encounter of the day and you haven't gotten a chance to Harvest Corpse up your essentia, this is a good way to get some 'snap essentia' temporarily to cover your bases until you can finish the encounter and get around to harvesting the bodies.

    Necrocarnum Zombie Master - Take a look at the Necrocarnum Zombies at the back of the book. They're a good deal nastier than your bog-standard zombie. They've got full movement, and they can invest essentia into AC/Saves or Speed/Initiative. With the bonus essentia you give your pets, they can do both at once. Sure, they're still disposable minions. But they're annoying disposable minions you can replace at no real cost to yourself.

    Expand Necrocarnum Soulmeld Capacity - Remember that problem that meldshapers have about limited soulmeld capacity? This goes a good way to solving that. It's a +1 on top of the +1 you get from your Incarnate. Pick up the feat, and you're cooking with some propane. And it's not like you don't have a whole PILE of essentia from Harvest Corpse and Essentia Trap.


    Uses: You're evil. And you don't do too bad a job of it. You almost ignore the limited essentia through a couple of exceedingly useful abilities, and even expand your capacity even further. This makes for a very suitable Boss Battle

    Sapphire Hierarch - Divine/Meldshaper hybrid class + Stick Up Pigu
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    Okay, so it's got a real pickle up it's arse, being Lawful and all, requiring the Law domain, and having mostly uninteresting abilities.

    Entry is bog-standard Cleric3/Incarnum3 without early entry shenanigans. However, it's really easy to go Incarnum2 (with Bonus Essentia feat)/Cleric1 (typical early entry shenanigans to be considered as having a 2nd level divine spell) since the skill requirements are only 4 ranks.

    You do need Incarnum2 for the bonus meld, unless you're a Human or Azurian and you want to blow a feat on Shape Soulmeld.

    On the upside, it's a 10/10 advancing class, so you can either be a Cleric with some significant melds, or you can be a meldshaper with a decent amount of Divine spells.

    WARNING: This PrC does *NOT* open any Chakra slots. That means your either going to need to be blowing feats on Open X Chakra or your will be crippled (like Soulborn-level crippled) on Chakra slots to bind. While advancing meldshaper levels improves your Essentia, your number of soulmelds, and number of binds, you will almost certainly have fewer chakra slots opened than you have binds available without moderate cheese.

    Divine Soultouch would be a wise feat investment for you, since it does not advance Turn Undead either, you need something to spend your TU attempts on.

    The class abilities are... meh.

    Consultation. That's three per *LEVEL*, my friends. And you still need to pay the xp cost. Once per month once you hit the capstone.

    Smite Chaos. You not only get to compete with the Paladin for who has the biggest stick up their pigu, but you also get to show him up at his shtick.

    Favored of the Eliodon. Bonus vs Chaos spells (are there even any Chaos spells that allow a save?) and Transmutation. Okay, it's good to protect yourself from Disintegrate, Polymorph nerfs, and similar threats. Other than that... meh.

    Damage Reduction. Probably not enough to be worthwhile, but it's there.

    Sapphire Body. Free Light Fortification which upgrades to Fortification. Saves you some cash, anyways.

    Timeless Body. Right, because your game is going to last long enough for this to be relevant.


    Uses: If the alignment matches (must be LN for this to work), and you're a Cleric who wants some extra abilities (not being satisfied with being a T1 class already), it can be a way to get some meldshaping without too much of a loss. It really doesn't work too well going the other way, because you lose too many Open Chakra to really consider yourself a Meldshaper with some Cleric backup.

    Soulcaster - Meldshaper/Arcane hybrid class. Better than MT, but not by much.

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    Well... it has one advantage over the SH previously seen because it actually has Open Chakra Binds. However... don't kid yourself into thinking you get to do everything at once. You get Least and Lesser chakra openings. Anything else, and you'll have to start spending precious feats.

    It's best for arcane casters who want to augment their arcane abilities with a little meldshaping on the side. Otherwise the lack of more powerful chakra binds gets to be crippling.

    Now then, because of the requirements, you need to be at least character level 5. You can probably get away with this with Incarnum2/Wiz3 if you really want to. Because it requires being able to bind a soulmeld to a chakra, and you can't pick up Open Least Chakra until character level 6, the Incarnum2 is pretty much set in stone. You might be able to get away with this for Wiz1 with Early Entry Tricks, but you've already got a feat investment, so it's going to be quite feat-intensive for you to do so. However, it is not to your advantage to do so, because you still need 8 ranks in Knowledge (Arcana), which means it would be Incarnum4/Wiz1, and that's going to prevent you from ever getting 9th level spells pre-epic. So just stick to Incarnum2/Wiz3.

    It's also a 10/10 advancement class, which makes this a worthwhile PrC is you're wanting some meldshaping to go along with your casting without too big a punch to the spellcaster level.

    The other class abilities are... your chakra binds. You get to open up Least and Lesser chakra points. That's Crown (which you already had), Hands, Feet, Arms, Brow, Shoulders. Not too shabby, actually, considering the 2 level cost.

    Other than that... Arcane Investment sucks. Put essentia into it. You can spend one of those essentia to give a +1 DC (and CL) to a spell. Once. Definately not worth it for Sorcerers, and probably not worth it for wizards either. Still, that's not why you got into the class, so consider it a freebie, the cheap plastic toy in your box of Crackerjacks.

    Magical Distillation is also forgettable. Basically, you blow a spell slot for essentia that only lasts one round. Making use of said essentia is a swift action. Then your standard action is probably going to be taken up by using said invested essentia before it goes away. I can think of better things to do with my swift action and a spell slot. Quicken Spell comes to mind.


    Uses: Give your arcane caster some useful Soulmeld abilities without hurting his spellcasting progression *too* much.

    Spinemeld Warrior - Useful, but probably not for the reason you think.
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    For the most part, this class is a 2 level dip, if you happen to be a Skarn.

    BAB + 5 means you're in a full BAB class of some sort. Probably either Crusader or Warblade. Which means you really want a good weapon. Which your spines aren't. Even TWFing with them is... well... not a good idea. However, you CAN pick up useful stuff with this class.

    Twin Spine Fighting. You've probably already got access to d6 Light weapons.

    TWF. At least it lets you pick up a bonus feats if you already have it. Being a race with a Dex *penalty*, however, makes it confusing why one would try to TWF in the first place.

    Spine Enhancement. It's an essentia sink, nothing more. Basically, if you keep this capped, you won't have any essentia left for anything else. And remember the lesson we learned from Arcane Archer: Never spend class abilities on something a 3rd level spell will do for you.

    Noble Familiarity. Now *THIS* is why you get into the class. A Gather Information check (DC 15 + Caster Level) is painful, but you can start off by picking up an item that gives you a bonus to Gather Information. Even if the campaign doesn't have magic marts, you still have access to them.

    It *IS* a full BAB class. So at least you're not completely crippling your ability to contribute in a fight.

    Meldshaping. Well, you get access to the Soulborn list, and there's a couple of goodies from there that might be worthwhile for you.

    Chakra bind (Arms). It's the only one you get. Fortunately, Bluesteel Bracers happens to be one of the better Arm binds, and it's Soulborn only. +2 to initiative for you and your party, and bonus equal to essentia on damage. Slap it on, and never take them off.

    The rest of the abilities... suck.

    Spine Rend. Two-Weapon Rend sucks. Doing it with crappy weapons sucks more.

    Adamantine Spines. You've already GOT an adamantine weapon by now.


    Uses: If your GM doesn't let you normally have access to Magic-Marts, this lets you do it anyways. Also works well with ToB classes, by virtue of how IL is calculated. Probably not worth it to go 7 levels for the Bluesteel Bracers, though.

    Totem Rager - You know how I said Incandescent Champion wasn't quite the worst PrC in the book? Guess what, we're here.
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    Don't let the whole pile of bonus essentia fool you, this class is a Grade A trap.

    Y'see, the problem is that it likes to pretend that it's a meldshaper class... but you only get Least and Lesser chakra binds. You also lose 2 meldshaper levels, when the Totemist already has trouble getting enough binds and shapes to be competitive.

    On top of that... it tries to do two things, and ends up doing neither. Those two things are: pretend it's a Barbarian, and pretend that it's a Totemist.

    Totem RAAAAAAGE. Wow, look at all the bonus essentia you get! Oh, wait... if I'd just gone straight Totemist, I'd probably have ended up with more than that anyways.

    Extra Rage/Extended Rage. Are combats that frequent and that prolonged that you *need* these? Maybe, I suppose, if you're trying to collect prerequisites, it might be a way to do so, but really... this tin is labeled 'fail'.

    DR/- that STACKS with your Barbarian class feature! Only you don't GET DR from Barbarian until Barb7. I don't know of too many builds that gets that far into it.

    Totem Capacity (+2). I'll admit, this one is nice. But it's the capstone on the long road to nerf-bat. This is the pretty little carrot that it dangles in front of you to walk right into the *SNAP!*


    Uses: Don't. WhirlingPounceBarian1/Totemist x is in every way superior to this piece of garbage. And that's only because you want the haste and pounce so you don't have to bind Sphinx Claws.

    Umbral Disciple - Useful dip if you're wanting Hide in Plain Sight, but don't want the enormous feat tax Shadowdancer demands. But beware the traps, young padawan.
    Spoiler
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    Some pretty steep skill requirements. That Concentration requirement in particular really hurts Rogues wanting HiPS, being cross class and all. Still, that's what your 8+Int Mod skill pool is there for. You can still meet all qualifications by level 5, entry at CL 6 if you want.

    It's an odd PrC, because while it gains essentia, and requires it actually, it doesn't have any meldshaping. Rather, it has class abilities you can invest essentia into.

    Sept Knowledge. Pointless, unless cheesed. If two characters take this PrC, they qualify each other for the +2, both being members of the same sept. Handy if you're doing the Knowledge Devotion thing, but otherwise... not so much.

    Step of the Bodiless. Are you really having THAT many troubles with these skills? Pass.

    Sneak Attack. You only get 3d6 over 10 levels, which does kind of hurt. Ditching out at 3rd level is less painful, only losing an effective 1d6.

    Embrace of shadow. This is why you take the class. Concealment plus Hide in Plain Sight. I'll take that for a three-level dip with pathetically easy prerequisites. Stop here. Go no further.

    Sight of the Eyeless. After a few dead levels, you get to this. Blindsight really isn't as cool as you think it is. And that's four levels during which you only get a single d6 of sneak attack to get here. That's a long trek through a barren wasteland, if you ask me.

    Soulchilling Strike. The holy grail of fail. It only applies the strength damage on your FIRST attack. No, it doesn't let you apply it on every attack. And let's not forget the PATHETICALLY EASY Fort save (equal to 10 + *ESSENTIA INVESTED* + Con mod). If it had 'class level' or even '1/2 character level', it might, possibly have been worth it. As it is... double fail.

    Kiss of the Shadows. Your first reaction to this is probably the same mine was... 'What a SWEET capstone ability!'. But the devil is in the details. Basically, it lets you make melee attacks a little bit further out, and that's it. While that can be nice, you have to go through so much fail to get here that it's just bait dangled in front of a massive, camouflaged trap.


    Uses: 3 level dip for concealment and HiPS with relatively low prerequisites. But for the love of Pun-Pun... stop there. Please.

    Witchborn Binder - Another failed attempt at a wonderful archetype
    Spoiler
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    So, as it says on the tin, either go Totemist, or go Ranger/Totemist. Bunch of ranks in a bunch of different skills, feat tax with Alertness, and Track. Oh, and you can't cast arcane spells. That means if you *EVER* pick up ANY arcane casting... any and all abilities you gain from this class instantly vanish.

    Meldshaping 6/10. Remember how 1/2 caster level PrC's suck? Yea, it's true here too. A complete LACK of any additional chakra binds opened seals the deal. Unlike the arcane gish class which might sacrifice some casting for a bunch of Haste related effects, this gives you nothing worth the cost.

    Meldshield. Okay, this *MIGHT* be worth the one-level dip, if you are absolutely swimming in Essentia. It's an Insight bonus to saves, so it stacks with Resistance bonus items like a Cloak/Vest of Resistance.

    Detect magic. Nifty enough ability.

    Dispelling Orb. Remember, please, that Dispel Magic is capped at +10. So it's not that useful by the time you get access to it (around level 8), and caps out very quickly. Besides, a Totemist has better things to do with his actions than throw Dispel Magic around.

    Royal Purse. 500gp/level once a level. Then once a game year after that. How long do your campaigns run? Yea... almost never really worth it in the long run.

    Bonus Essentia. Considering you lose 4 meldshaper levels, this is a pittance at best.

    Mage Shackles. It requires that you get into melee with a caster, at a minimum of level 10. Good luck with that. Why not... oh... pounce + gorillion Arms + Urksan Greaves and KILL them instead?

    Word of Abrogation. So you can blow your action to... counterspell? Why not kill them before they get a chance to cast?

    Spirit Flay. Too little, too late. Granted, forcing a wizard, with low Con and low Fort save, into an actually viable Fort save or Nauseated is fun. But by now, you've lost 4 meldshaper levels, have the same number of chakra binds as a Totemist half your level, if you are lucky, and in general have proceeded to cripple your character's ability to do anything else relevant.

    Grim Integument. I guess the makers forgot that Dimension door and the rest of the Teleport series don't have somatic components? I mean... you prevent anyone from being able to target a wizard in exchange for him not being able to walk around... if I was the wizard, I'd voluntarily FAIL my save, teleport out, and laugh as you stopped your own allies from being able to hurt me.


    Uses: one-level dip for a Totemist if you want Detect Magic and invest essentia into your saving throws. Other than that... big massive trap that fails at what it is suppose to do.

    Soul Manifester - Psi-incarnum 'gish'.
    Spoiler
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    If you want your PsyWar or Psion to pick up some Meldshaping, this is how you do it. You're going to probably use either Totemist2 or Incarnate2 to pull this off. PsyWar/Totemist synergizes amazingly well with various 'claws of x' and the Totemist's ability to dog-pile the natural attacks.

    Basically, the class features you will be using are a) 10/10 progression, and b) Open Least and Lesser chakra. Psionic Investment and Psionic Distillation suffers from the same problem that the Soulborn version has: you have better things to do with your turn.


    Good for making a different sort of King of Smack, I suppose. Not bad for imping some Meldshaping into your psionic build, anyways.

    The Debates

    As with any rule book published by WoTC, there's a few... ambiguous interpretations, let's say... inherent in the rules. I'm not going to stand out and state which side I'm on, but attempt to portray each side equally so you and your GM can come to an agreement.

    Open x Chakra

    Side 1 - the most restrictive interpretation: Basically, it opens the chakra, but unless you already HAVE binds, it's completely worthless. This means you actually need levels in a Meldshaper class in order to bind anything, despite the open chakra. All it does is grant you access to a chakra slot, not the ability to bind there.

    Side 2 - a more liberal interpretation: It lets you bind to the chakra in question as well. Thus, if you picked up Open least Chakra (Crown), you could bind something to the Crown chakra separately from your other binds. Thus a level 6 Totemist would purchase this feat for the Hand chakra, and can then bind Sphinx Claws there, in addition to his Totem Bind and one other bind of choice.

    Side 3 - the most liberal interpretation: You get a free bind with your open slot, but it doesn't need to be in that slot. Yea... I try to be impartial, but I just don't get this one. I don't see how opening up your hand chakra can let you bind something in your shoulder slot.

    The Binds


    Okay, so what CAN you do with it? Well, here is a good start.

    Totemist Totem binds by slot they are shaped in can be found here

    Here is a post containing soulmelds categorized by class and slot.
    Last edited by ShneekeyTheLost; 2011-10-30 at 09:53 PM.
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    Quite possibly, the best rebuttal I have ever witnessed.
    Joker Bard - the DM's solution to the Batman Wizard.
    Takahashi no Onisan - The scariest Samurai alive
    Incarnum and YOU: a reference guide
    Soulmelds, by class and slot: Another Incarnum reference
    Multiclassing for Newbies: A reference guide for the rest of us

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    Default Re: Incarnum and YOU: a reference guide

    Nice! This actually cleared up some questions about Incarnum that I didn't actually know I had. Thanks.
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    Default Re: Incarnum and YOU: a reference guide

    It's good for what it covers. You don't seem interested in a meld by meld analysis of options, which is fine. It's probably worth noting in your multiclass section that class features which increase essentia capacity only apply to soulmelds from that class: an Incarnate 6/Totemist does not get the Incarnate bonus to essentia capacity to Totemist soulmelds. This rule is hidden on page 20, in the class section but before the classes.

    You could talk about the argument about Open X Chakra: the least beneficial reading of the feats is that they open a chakra but do not provide an extra bind so that they are useless without at least 2 levels of Incarnate or Totemist to provide one bind. Another reading gives the ability to bind a soulmeld to that chakra independent of a class progression, which is the interpretation I prefer. The most permissive reading would open a chakra and offer +1 binds, which I feel goes against the spirit of the feat: Open Least Chakra: Hands shouldn't let you bind something to your shoulders when you didn't have the binds needed before, generally.

    You could mention Double Chakra as an exception to "one soulmeld per chakra".

    Did you want to talk about PrC's?

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    Default Re: Incarnum and YOU: a reference guide

    Quote Originally Posted by Glimbur View Post
    It's good for what it covers. You don't seem interested in a meld by meld analysis of options, which is fine.
    Thanks, I appreciate that. This is just a 'basic incarnum mechanics' thread, because the book was so dang confusing. I may do another post with a meld by meld analysis.
    It's probably worth noting in your multiclass section that class features which increase essentia capacity only apply to soulmelds from that class: an Incarnate 6/Totemist does not get the Incarnate bonus to essentia capacity to Totemist soulmelds. This rule is hidden on page 20, in the class section but before the classes.
    Done.

    You could talk about the argument about Open X Chakra: the least beneficial reading of the feats is that they open a chakra but do not provide an extra bind so that they are useless without at least 2 levels of Incarnate or Totemist to provide one bind. Another reading gives the ability to bind a soulmeld to that chakra independent of a class progression, which is the interpretation I prefer. The most permissive reading would open a chakra and offer +1 binds, which I feel goes against the spirit of the feat: Open Least Chakra: Hands shouldn't let you bind something to your shoulders when you didn't have the binds needed before, generally.
    Done

    You could mention Double Chakra as an exception to "one soulmeld per chakra".
    Done

    Did you want to talk about PrC's?
    Erff.... I suppose I should, since most of 'em are traps.
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    Quite possibly, the best rebuttal I have ever witnessed.
    Joker Bard - the DM's solution to the Batman Wizard.
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    Incarnum and YOU: a reference guide
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    Default Re: Incarnum and YOU: a reference guide

    Obligatory link to Person_man's soulborn fix?

    This should be snap-acceptable to any DM who understands ANYTHING about MoI.

    It's worth mentioning for someone who'd like to use the SB fluff and wishes they weren't unplayable.

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    Default Re: Incarnum and YOU: a reference guide

    Open x Chakra

    Side 1 - the most restrictive interpretation: Basically, it opens the chakra, but unless you already HAVE binds, it's completely worthless. This means you actually need levels in a Meldshaper class in order to bind anything, despite the open chakra. All it does is grant you access to a chakra slot, not the ability to bind there.
    This was supported by CustServ back when the original Soulborn Handbook was up on Gleemax (it's since been lost to time and space, but probably not Google).

    Side 2 - a more liberal interpretation: It lets you bind to the chakra in question as well. Thus, if you picked up Open least Chakra (Crown), you could bind something to the Crown chakra separately from your other binds. Thus a level 6 Totemist would purchase this feat for the Hand chakra, and can then bind Sphinx Claws there, in addition to his Totem Bind and one other bind of choice.
    This is supported by the book itself. See CMoI page 108, last sentence in column 1. CustServ is filled with people who have never read the books in their lives, and just ask someone who DMs regularly, so this may be the actual intent behind the feats.

    \Side 3 - the most liberal interpretation: You get a free bind with your open slot, but it doesn't need to be in that slot. Yea... I try to be impartial, but I just don't get this one. I don't see how opening up your hand chakra can let you bind something in your shoulder slot.
    Likewise, it's supported by 1 line. However this is a very poor interpretation since it requires you to completely ignore a word in the feat itself.

    Essentia from multiple classes do not stack. If you have Totemist2/Incarnate6, then you have 2 essentia to spend on Totemist melds, and 6 essentia to spend on Incarnate melds. Bonus essentia from feats or other sources... gets complicated. Double check with and come to an agreement with your GM about how it works.
    Actually, that character would have a flat 8 essentia. The pools do not distinguish between classes. See page 19, paragraph 1 of column 2.
    Last edited by Big Fau; 2011-09-18 at 12:08 AM.

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    Default Re: Incarnum and YOU: a reference guide

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Fau View Post
    Actually, that character would have a flat 8 essentia. The pools do not distinguish between classes. See page 19, paragraph 1 of column 2.
    Actually, that is the phraseology which describes how class-based essentia and non-class based essentia (such as racial and feat-obtained) interact. The correct cite should be Page 20, 1st-3rd paragraphs of column 1.

    Having said that, updating to reflect actual relationships.
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    Quite possibly, the best rebuttal I have ever witnessed.
    Joker Bard - the DM's solution to the Batman Wizard.
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    Incarnum and YOU: a reference guide
    Soulmelds, by class and slot: Another Incarnum reference
    Multiclassing for Newbies: A reference guide for the rest of us

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    Quote Originally Posted by ShneekeyTheLost View Post
    Thanks, I appreciate that. This is just a 'basic incarnum mechanics' thread, because the book was so dang confusing. I may do another post with a meld by meld analysis.
    Want me to repost my meld-by-meld? I've gotten a good deal of the Totemist done already, and the organization is a lot better than the book's.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Godskook View Post
    Want me to repost my meld-by-meld? I've gotten a good deal of the Totemist done already, and the organization is a lot better than the book's.
    Oh... that would be quite phenomonal. Or rather, link it, save the copypasta, and I'll make sure to link, highlight, bold, center, and "READ THIS NOW" in glowing neon letters around it.

    Well, maybe not all that, but... well, you get the idea.

    Moreso if it actually lists what it does when you BIND it to a given chakra. All the list did in the book was say what it did when you shaped it... which of course never changed depending on where you shaped it. If it had, instead, told you what it did when you BOUND it to a given chakra, it would make a much more useful tool.
    Last edited by ShneekeyTheLost; 2011-09-18 at 01:17 AM.
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    Quite possibly, the best rebuttal I have ever witnessed.
    Joker Bard - the DM's solution to the Batman Wizard.
    Takahashi no Onisan - The scariest Samurai alive
    Incarnum and YOU: a reference guide
    Soulmelds, by class and slot: Another Incarnum reference
    Multiclassing for Newbies: A reference guide for the rest of us

    My homebrew world in progress: Falcora

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    Default Re: Incarnum and YOU: a reference guide

    I'm still working on it, but here's the thread. Since that kinda died off other than me, I guess I'll just start posting the meld lists here then.

    http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=214858
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    Default Re: Incarnum and YOU: a reference guide

    Only one Soulmeld may be used per chakra slot, however some soulmelds have multiple chakra slots. The exception to this is the funky Totem chakra that the Incarnum get. You cannot shape a soulmeld to the Totem chakra, you must shape it elsewhere, then bind it to the Totem chakra.
    This was kinda a confusing read. I assumed it was a typo, as that doesn't make any sense, but...yea. Similarly, in the Totemist section on only being able to bind one thing to the Totem, you mention binding Girallon Arms to the "Chakra", not specifying which one.

    As far as the soulborn bit, I'd like to note that open chakra/shape soulmeld aren't fighter bonus feats, which you seem to suggest they are in that section.

    Just a few things you'd probably want to clean up

    Edit: Also, thank for giving me a resource to show to everyone when their inevitable "what do I want to play" question gets answered with "PLAY SOME INCARNUM."
    The Complete Warrior rules on losing prerequisites for a PrC apply to all books. This bothers me enough to sig it. If you disagree, please PM me, I'm down with being proven wrong.


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    Default Re: Incarnum and YOU: a reference guide

    Quote Originally Posted by Thiyr View Post
    This was kinda a confusing read. I assumed it was a typo, as that doesn't make any sense, but...yea. Similarly, in the Totemist section on only being able to bind one thing to the Totem, you mention binding Girallon Arms to the "Chakra", not specifying which one.
    Yeah, he's talking about Totemist there. And Girallon Arms can only be bound to two Chakras. Your Totem and your Arms.
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    Default Re: Incarnum and YOU: a reference guide

    For my personal reference I made a list of all of the soulmeld effects for binding also. It's in a text format right now, but I think I could make a chart out of it w/o too much trouble if that would be helpful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Godskook View Post
    Yeah, he's talking about Totemist there. And Girallon Arms can only be bound to two Chakras. Your Totem and your Arms.
    Fix'd typo. I'm working on a list of binds by class and slot.
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    Quite possibly, the best rebuttal I have ever witnessed.
    Joker Bard - the DM's solution to the Batman Wizard.
    Takahashi no Onisan - The scariest Samurai alive
    Incarnum and YOU: a reference guide
    Soulmelds, by class and slot: Another Incarnum reference
    Multiclassing for Newbies: A reference guide for the rest of us

    My homebrew world in progress: Falcora

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    Quote Originally Posted by ShneekeyTheLost View Post
    Fix'd typo. I'm working on a list of binds by class and slot.
    Did you check the stuff I put in the other thread?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Godskook View Post
    Did you check the stuff I put in the other thread?
    I saw the totem bind chart, and some of the Totemist binds by slot.
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    Quite possibly, the best rebuttal I have ever witnessed.
    Joker Bard - the DM's solution to the Batman Wizard.
    Takahashi no Onisan - The scariest Samurai alive
    Incarnum and YOU: a reference guide
    Soulmelds, by class and slot: Another Incarnum reference
    Multiclassing for Newbies: A reference guide for the rest of us

    My homebrew world in progress: Falcora

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    Default Re: Incarnum and YOU: a reference guide

    Just got Magic of Incarnum recently. This is very helpful!

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    Default Re: Incarnum and YOU: a reference guide

    Quote Originally Posted by ShneekeyTheLost View Post
    I saw the totem bind chart, and some of the Totemist binds by slot.
    Is that what you're looking for(and thus, do you want me to at least finish Totemist), or are you doing your own?
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    Default Re: Incarnum and YOU: a reference guide

    Quote Originally Posted by Godskook View Post
    Is that what you're looking for(and thus, do you want me to at least finish Totemist), or are you doing your own?
    Well, it's certainly one hell of a start, but ultimately, I'd like to have both incarnate and totemist soulmelds listed by bind slot. It's... a fairly work-intensive project, but hey, I guess that's what I've gotten myself into.
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    Incarnum and YOU: a reference guide
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    Multiclassing for Newbies: A reference guide for the rest of us

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    Default Re: Incarnum and YOU: a reference guide

    I hate to nitpick, but I was with you until the Soulborn part, then you lost me. You're right that the Soulborn sucks, but the justifications are a stretch (and this is a case you really don't need to stretch to make).

    The Soulborn does get some really nice soulmelds - Thunderstep boots' sonic damage is useful for pouncers, and their stun effect would be downright nasty with meaningful ML or DCs; Mauling Gauntlets would be handy on a better platform (on an Incarnate, they could be +16 to trip/unarmed damage); Fearsome Mask is a free action mass-Shaken, which would be amazing for fear-stacking builds if it didn't have to deal with the Soulborn's abysmal shaper level or DCs. It's the class itself that makes the melds awful.

    Your examples of Fighters out-meldshaping Soulborns doesn't really work because the Fighter can't actually out-meldshape Soulborns. Even houseruling the Fighter to allow its feats to advance Meldshaping, it would take 8 feats to match the Soulborn's shapes and binds, and 13 more to match its essentia; the Fighter isn't even in the ballpark. The Incarnum 2/Fighter 18 example also neglects essentia difference. Essentia matters - it's why Bonus Essentia is featured in nearly every meldshaper build.

    A Meldshaping class being better than the Fighter at Meldshaping is hardly redeeming, but it does make your argument against the Soulborn ring false. IMO, it would be more convinving to look at the Soulborn's low ML (especially with the SR:yes quality of all soulmelds), its low essentia capacity, the class's late and lackluster bloom, or how little 13 essentia can actually do than it is to try to bash it with bizarre Fighter comparisons.
    Last edited by Jude_H; 2011-09-18 at 02:25 PM.

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    Default Re: Incarnum and YOU: a reference guide

    Quote Originally Posted by ShneekeyTheLost View Post
    Well, it's certainly one hell of a start, but ultimately, I'd like to have both incarnate and totemist soulmelds listed by bind slot. It's... a fairly work-intensive project, but hey, I guess that's what I've gotten myself into.
    Alright, so I'll finish the Totemist ones then, you can start the Incarnate, and first done starts the Soulborn?

    Reposting:
    Spoiler
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    Shaping:
    Spoiler
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    {table=head] Name|Shape|invest|Rating|Chakra

    Ankheg Breastplate|Armor bonus|bigger bonus|situational|Throat
    Basilisk Mask|low-light vision|darkvision|situational|Brow
    Beast Tamer Circlet|Bonus on Handle Animal and Wild Empathy|Bigger bonus|Weak|Crown
    Behir Gorget|Bonus against BR and Trip|electric resistance|situational|Throat
    Blink Shirt|Dimension Door|range|great|Heart
    Blood Talons|as Diehard|Bonus on Spot|good|hands
    Brass Mane|Bonus on Intimidate|bigger bonus|situational|Throat
    Disenchanter Mask|Detect Magic|Range|situational|Brow
    Displacer Mantle|Bonus on Hide|bigger bonus|situational|Shoulder
    Dread Carapce|-attack/+damage|higher tradeoff|good|Arms, Feet, Heart
    Frost Helm|as Endure Elements|cold resistance|situational|Crown
    Girallon Arms|Bonus on Grapple and Climb|bigger bonus|situational|Arms
    Gorgon Mask|Bonus on Fort Saves and against combat maneuvers|bigger bonus|weak|Throat
    Great Raptor Mask|Bonus on Spot|bigger bonus|good|Brow
    Heart of Fire|Bonus when fighting cold creatures|bigger bonus|weak|Waist
    Hunter's Circlet|Bonus on Heal and Survival|bigger bonus|situational|Crown
    Kraken Mantle|Bonus on Swim|faster swim speed|weak|Arms
    Krenshar Mask|Bonus on Jump and Move Silently|bigger bonus|situational|Brow
    Kruthik Claws|Bonus on Hide and Move Silently|bigger bonus|good|Hands, Shoulders
    Lamia Belt[Evil]|Bonus on Bluff and Hide|bigger bonus|situational|Waist
    Lammasu Mantle[Good]|Deflection Bonus against [Evil]|Resistance bonus to saves against [Evil]|situational|Arms, Shoulders
    Landshark Boots|Bonus on Jump|bigger bonus|weak|Feet
    Manticore Belt|Bonus on Jump and Spot|bigger bonus|good|Waist
    Pegasus Cloak|Feather Fall and bonus on Jump|bigger bonus|great|Shoulders
    Phase Cloak|Bonus on Climb, take 10|bigger bonus|situational|Shoulders
    Phoenix Belt|Endure Elements|Fire Resistance|situational|Waist
    Rage Claws|as Diehard|survive longer|good|Hands
    Riding Bracers|Bonus on Handle Animal and Ride|bigger bonus|situational|Arms
    Shadow Mantle|Bonus on Listen|bigger bonus|good|Shoulders
    Shedu Crown[Good]|Can't be pushed|bonus on saving throws against [mind-affecting]|weak|Crown, Heart
    Sphinx Claws|Bonus on Strength skills and checks|bigger bonus|situational|Hands
    Threefold Mask of the Chimera|Can't be flanked|bonus on Search and Spot|good|Crown, Soul
    Totem Avatar|Bonus HP|Natural Armor bonus|great|Arms, Feet, Heart, Shoulders
    Unicorn Horn|Bonus on Wild Empathy and Move Silently|Bigger bonus|situational|Brow
    Urskan Greaves|Bonus when moving on snow or ice|cold resistance|situational|Feet
    Winter Mask|Touch fatigues target|damage on touch attack|situational|Throat
    Worg Pelt|Bonus on Hide and Move Silently|bigger bonus|good|Feet, Hands
    Wormtail Belt|Natural Armor bonus|bigger bonus|good|Waist
    Yrthak Mask|Bonus on Listen|bigger bonus|good|Brow[/table]

    Totem Binds by Chakra(Crown):
    Spoiler
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    Beast Tamer Circlet - Animal Trance, at-will(or 1/combat). I can't see it being useful in D&D, or in combat at all. Also doesn't work for stealth missions since it involves singing/chanting. I don't think its worth it.
    Frost Helm - Semi-AoE standard action stun that might last longer than a round? Can be a great asset, but use it with caution, and bring friends with Scythes.
    Hunter's Circlet - Limited scent and a bonus when tracking, but still requires the Track feat. Incredibly weak. If you need scent, go to ToB.
    Shedu Crown[Good] - Same trample, different chakra. Same evaluation as Gorgon Mask
    Threefold Mask of the Chimera - Notable for being able to occupy your Soul Chakra, which you're just not going to use otherwise. Outside of that, it doesn't play nice with natural attack builds, making it a subpar choice for that purpose, and is inferior to Landshark as a stand-alone attack bind.

    Totem Binds by Chakra(Feet):
    Spoiler
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    Dread Carapace - Save vs Fear whenever you charge. Awesome in fear-based charger builds(there's ways with Barbarians). Mediocre whenever you don't stack fear effects.
    Landshark Boots - Psuedo pounce with 4 claw attacks, all at your best bonus. Probably the best early game natural attack bind. Girallon Arms are just better once you're stacking attacks though.
    Totem Avatar - Synergy with natural attack builds, but you're probably going to need Double Chakra before you even care that this exists.
    Urskan Greaves - I...really don't know about the overrun option, but my instincts tell me that this isn't useful.
    Worg Pelt - Bite attack. I'm getting sick of Bite attack totem binds by now.

    Totem Binds by Chakra(Hands):
    Spoiler
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    Blood Talons - Strictly worse than Rage Claws, and occupies the same chakra. Only notable for the investment bonus if you somehow find a way to get more claw attacks, easiest via Double Chakra with Girallon Arms chakra bind. A lot of hoops for not much pay off.
    Kruthik Claws - 2 claws that both deal bonus acid damage/essentia. Can probably come out ahead of Girallon Arms in the first few levels, and finally, a bind that's better than Ankheg, despite being a different natural attack.
    Rage Claws - Other than being almost strictly better than Bloodtalons, I'm not liking these. They're good, but its the brawling synergy with shaped effect that really makes them notable compared to more damaging options.
    Sphinx Claws - Another 2 claw bind, and no more notable than the others.
    Worg Pelt - Bite attack. I'm getting sick of Bite attack totem binds by now.

    Totem Binds by Chakra(Arms):
    Spoiler
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    Dread Carapace - Save vs Fear whenever you charge. Awesome in fear-based charger builds(there's ways with Barbarians). Mediocre whenever you don't stack fear effects.
    Girallon Arms - Generally speaking, probably the most powerful Totem bind in the game for natural attack builds. 4 claws that 'play nice' with other natural attacks.
    Kraken Mantle - Water Breathing. Highly situational, but when you need it, you need it.
    Lammasu Mantle[Good] - Good early game as a way to get a high-dice breath weapon for the level. Scales poorly with level compared to Dragonfire Adept. Deals fire damage, which is a bad damage type. Short range doesn't help much either.
    Riding Bracers - No, just no. The shaped effect plus any skill point investment gives you 95% of what you'd bind this to your totem for. Should be set on fire. (This is the first time I've said this while writing this guide)
    Totem Avatar - Synergy with natural attack builds, but you're probably going to need Double Chakra before you even care that this exists.

    Totem Binds by Chakra(Brow):
    Spoiler
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    Basilisk Mask - A short range full-round gaze attack that still gives fort save for a 1 round benefit? Not great. I'm sure there's ways to make it work, but its not really going to be synergistic with most builds.
    Disenchanter Mask - A debuffing totem bind. I can see it being useful, but the highly limiting nature of using it makes me wary. If you're new to MoI, leave this one to the experts.
    Great Raptor Mask - Evasion. Probably most notable if you're trying to enter some prestige class you shouldn't otherwise get into.
    Krenshar Mask - Standard action frightening, that can be repeated as nauseum. Another one of those "good at low-levels or if you build for it" soulmelds.
    Unicorn Horn - A gore attack. Handy to know you have for when you want to Double Chakra(gore is a rare natural attack), but is fairly lackluster outside of that purpose.
    Yrthak Mask - Decent damage, good range, touch attack, second best element. All good points. I like it, even if I'd personally rather have a different bind.

    Totem Binds by Chakra(Shoulder):
    Spoiler
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    Displacer Mantle - Primarily notable for being the first(alphabetically) Totem bind to give multiple attacks. Doesn't play nice with natural attack builds and can't be used on a Standard Action. Still, between the bonus reach and the double attacks, you can probably do some interesting things with this early in your career.
    Kruthik Claws - 2 claws that both deal bonus acid damage/essentia. Can probably come out ahead of Girallon Arms in the first few levels, and finally, a bind that's better than Ankheg, despite being a different natural attack.
    Lammasu Mantle[Good] - Good early game as a way to get a high-dice breath weapon for the level. Scales poorly with level compared to Dragonfire Adept. Deals fire damage, which is a bad damage type. Short range doesn't help much either.
    Pegasus Cloak - Really bad psuedo-fly, but available at level 2. Weak, imho.
    Phase Cloak - Bite attack with poison on it? Can be very potent, but use with caution. You're often times going to be better with Landshark, Kruthik, or Girallon.
    Shadow Mantle - And wow, twice in a row, I want to set a totem bind on fire. Hide is a good skill check, but the 20+ times you can do it as a shaped effect makes giving it as a Totem Bind epic fail. Totem's your signature bind, and one of the most powerful. Replicating a shaped meld effect is *NOT* a good choice. Y'know what? (╯□)╯︵ ┻━┻
    Totem Avatar - Synergy with natural attack builds, but you're probably going to need Double Chakra before you even care that this exists.

    Totem Binds by Chakra(Throat):
    Spoiler
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    Ankheg Breastplate - For very early levels, probably a strong single natural weapon attack, given that you can get at least 3 dice of damage off it. However, bite attacks are easy to get, and later game, you'll probably do better with several of the other soulmelds if you're stacking damage at all. The shaped bonus is also synergistic, helping give you an AC worth being in melee with.
    Behir Gorget - Like Ankheg, but less synergy when shaped. And considering that things which deal electric damage often also have resistance or immunity to it as well, the situations where this is notably useful are probably rare.
    Brass Mane - Another bite attack, but with enhancement bonus on investment. Again, Ankheg is better in most circumstances where you want a Bite attack from your Totem.
    Gorgon Mask - Trample attack is incredibly useful when fighting mooks at low levels. Probably not a default bind, but if you know you're going to be fighting large amounts of mooks, this can get useful real fast. Especially cause there's no attack roll. Just a reflex save for half.
    Winter Mask - The cold brother to Ankheg.

    Totem Binds by Chakra(Waist):
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    Heart of Fire - Doesn't give natural attacks, but does give you bonus damage on them. You pretty much have to build for it to make this at all worth while, and you're probably going to get more mileage out of simply grabbing Shape Soulmeld(Thunderstep Boots) from the Soulborn list. Fire is also probably the most commonly resisted element, so yeah.
    Lamia Belt[Evil] - Claws that don't use your arms. Handy if you're using a weapon for some odd reason. Actually stacks with Girallon arms for 6 claws if you go Double Chakra.
    Manticore Belt - Notable, especially if you're too squishy compared to what you're fighting.
    Phoenix Belt - 3x3 fireball that you gotta stand in the middle of. The damage is good, but you'll almost always do better with Lammasu.
    Wormtail Belt - Only notable in espionage settings as a way to paralyze opponents you've already defeated. Mid combat, the str poison probably won't be noticeable compared to higher damage options.

    Totem Binds by Chakra(Heart):
    Spoiler
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    Blink Shirt - Incredibly good in any circumstance where you can make good use of a standard action before teleporting away. However, Totemists are typically built as bruisers, and devoting your Totem to an escape maneuver is typically not a good idea. Remember you have this option though.
    Dread Carapace - Save vs Fear whenever you charge. Awesome in fear-based charger builds(there's ways with Barbarians). Mediocre whenever you don't stack fear effects.
    Shedu Crown[Good] - Same trample, different chakra. Same evaluation as Gorgon Mask
    Totem Avatar - Synergy with natural attack builds, but you're probably going to need Double Chakra before you even care that this exists.

    Totem Binds by Chakra(Soul):
    Spoiler
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    Threefold Mask of the Chimera - Notable for being able to occupy your Soul Chakra, which you're just not going to use otherwise. Outside of that, it doesn't play nice with natural attack builds, making it a subpar choice for that purpose, and is inferior to Landshark as a stand-alone attack bind.

    Crown Chakra binds:
    Spoiler
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    Beast Tamer Circlet - The wording is wonky, but at-will speaking with animals means you can now turn dogs, birds, and other small animals into spies for you. I'm sure there's ways to make this highly useful, but you won't be binding it unless you *KNOW* you're going to need it.
    Frost Helm - Basically, you get an at-will CL 3 orb of cold. Not incredibly potent, but by RAW, there is neither a range nor a range increment on this attack, meaning that in a RAW environment, this can be quite potent for kiting a target at range. Talk to your DM about what he wants to do about that.
    Hunter's Circlet - Remember that track feat you needed to be able to use the Totem bind? Here it is. Ironically, you can't use them together, cause its the same meld. However, this half is actually functional, since Track + Survival bonus(from the shaped effect) means you can actually track fairly well, even without skill ranks.
    Shedu Crown[Good] - This is probably the winner of the Crown bind contest. 100' telepathy, although it may not count for pre-reqs. Still, if you're ever sneaking around, being able to relay to the party what's going on up front without alerting the enemy is a handy tool.
    Threefold Mask of the Chimera - Combined with the Totem bind for Blink shirt, you now have a way of using a full-round + teleport in a single round. Handy for solo work, and I'm sure you could make use of it in a group too. Too finicky to be worth it in a 'normal' combat though.

    Feet Chakra binds:
    Spoiler
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    Dread Carapace - If your DM has a habit of throwing battles at you that require mobility, this may be a good way to get it without sacrificing your probable charger combat style(you could easily get 220' charges with this up). The shaped effect is basically power attack, but with a bonus to bite attacks, so if you've got one, this is an even handier bind.
    Landshark Boots - Short-range tremorsense. I can see it being useful in rare circumstances, but I doubt you'll ever bind it.
    Totem Avatar - A bind that defends against combat maneuvers(to borrow a PF term). DMs don't like using them too much, but if yours does, this could be very, very strong, since its a +8 on most checks that you'd be worried about.
    Urskan Greaves - Bonus damage on a charge. Fantastic meld for the most common type of Totemist.
    Worg Pelt - Untyped bonus movement speed. Less than Dread, but consistent, making it a superior option in some cases. The shaped effect isn't combat related though, so meh.

    Hand Chakra binds:
    Spoiler
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    Blood Talons - Weapon Finesse with natural attacks. I suspect a lot of Totemist have Str >= Dex, but if you don't, even if just for a few levels, this can be a handy way to save a feat.
    Kruthik Claws - Same as for Blood Talons, except with shaped effect that's more synergistic with a roguish playstyle(Hide + Move silently). I'm pleasently surprised that neither's outright superior, despite the redundancy.
    Rage Claws - You're basically raging, except with no penalties. Designed explicitly to work with the shaped effect, with the exact problem that you don't want to plan on fighting while you're in the negatives. Still, can be useful, and is a nice power up for finishing off a fight that's apparently not going your way.
    Sphinx Claws - Pounce with natural attacks. This is the ability everyone wishes about on other classes, and why so many people dip Barbarian with that ACF. Absolutely fantastic unless you've got pounce elsewhere. Ironically, this is one of the rare occasions where you'll want to be pouncing long before you get the ability to pounce.
    Worg Pelt - Requires you to already have a bite attack, but if you do, free trips when you bite. Handy cause melee attacks get a bonus to hit when you trip, so bite early, and hope for it.

    Arms Chakra binds:
    Spoiler
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    Dread Carapace - Improved Critical. Meh, but useful I supposed. A 1/20 chance of being useful per attack, but if you're a natural attack build, that's 7+ attacks, so it'll probably add 1-2 crits per battle.
    Girallon Arms - Rend is nice, but you'll probably never use it. I don't know of any way to Bind the same meld twice, and by the time you get this bind, you're probably already binding this to your Totem Chakra for the natural attacks. Although I suppose Landshark(totem chakra) + Girallon(arms chakra) would be useful if you're not getting any natural attacks from outside your class.
    Kraken Mantle - Bonus on grapple checks with the ability to constrict. Untyped, so if you want to make a grappler build for stealth missions, this + Girallon makes you a fierce grappler. Well, assuming you have improved grapple somehow.
    Lammasu Mantle[Good] - Your shaped bonus is now a 10' aura. The bonus only applied against [Evil], so keep that in mind.
    Riding Bracers - A small flat bonus to damage and AC when mounted. You're probably never mounted, and the flat bonus is meh at most levels. At least its more notable than the Totem Bind.
    Totem Avatar - If you're going grappling, this is the in-class method for getting Imp. Grapple. Like pounce, you can probably get it elsewhere easier, but its nice to know its in-class too.

    New:
    Brow Chakra binds:
    Spoiler
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    Basilisk Mask - Blind Fight. Don't see much call for this personally.
    Disenchanter Mask - Espionage ahoy! Seems good to me when you're in social situations where knowing what someone's got up his sleeves is important to know instantly. For any situation where you can afford 3 rounds of concentration, this is a waste though.
    Great Raptor Mask - Long range low-light vision. Meh.
    Krenshar Mask - A bonus on intimidate checks. You can get this as a shaped effect, so strictly not worth it unless you've somehow got more need for shaped effects than bind effects, which is unlikely.
    Unicorn Horn - Detect Evil. Another of those highly situational deals that can probably be put to a fantastic use, but will *NEVER* be bound on a casual day.
    Yrthak Mask - Limited blindsense. Eh, at least its better than low-light vision.

    Should Chakra binds:
    Spoiler
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    Displacer Mantle - Concealment. Nice, but annoying that there's no scaling.
    Kruthik Claws - Acid resistance. First time I can find where you get this, so the uniqueness alone makes it notable.
    Lammasu Mantle[Good] - If you're fighting summoned creatures a lot, can be useful. Well, unless your DM chooses that the meld 'ends' for all creatures if you only attack one, and in which case, its garbage on Totemist, since you *WILL* be attacking something.
    Pegasus Cloak - Flight! When everyone else takes to the air, so can you.
    Phase Cloak - Oh gawd, the evil, evil things you can do with this. Etherealness like the 'bad' flight melds. Probably not a daily meld, but it could be.
    Shadow Mantle - Another infiltration bind that you can do evil evil things with. Swift action darkness that also grants actual blindsight within, while foes within are effectively blinded? Your rogue will love having you along on the infiltration missions.
    Totem Avatar - as INA, but for all your natural weapons. If you're not stacking size increases, this isn't too interesting, but if you can get to effective Gargantuan or better, you start adding extra dice on all your attacks, even with Girallon Arms' measly dice. The shaped effects are already quite powerful in a build-neutral way, so that does bump it up a bit.

    Throat Chakra binds:
    Spoiler
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    Ankheg Breastplate - Throat comes late in your chakras, and you don't have the +1 from being a totem bind to help the damage out. You'll probably find that you're just a weak DFA when using this. Still, not horrible, especially since its Acid damage.
    Behir Gorget - Like Ankheg, exactly, except Electric damage. Acid is more useful.
    Brass Mane - Fatigued on a failed will save, AoE. Fatigued isn't a great status effect this far into the game, but Exhaustion is. Essentially, this like stacking fear effects, and should be approached with the same caution.
    Gorgon Mask - A 1/day flesh to stone effect? BBEGs tend to be immune to SoDs and mooks aren't worth a daily effect. I'll pass.
    Winter Mask - Except damage type, this is in all ways superior to both Behir and Ankheg. Cones are usually easier to aim(especially from above!), can actually be used multiple times per combat, and the damage scaling is double what any other ability gets(2d6 per essentia). I still don't like it, but its at least potent enough to not make you feel like you're wasting your time.
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    Default Re: Incarnum and YOU: a reference guide

    Quote Originally Posted by Jude_H View Post
    I hate to nitpick, but I was with you until the Soulborn part, then you lost me. You're right that the Soulborn sucks, but the justifications are a stretch (and this is a case you really don't need to stretch to make).

    The Soulborn does get some really nice soulmelds - Thunderstep boots' sonic damage is useful for pouncers, and their stun effect would be downright nasty with meaningful ML or DCs; Mauling Gauntlets would be handy on a better platform (on an Incarnate, they could be +16 to trip/unarmed damage); Fearsome Mask is a free action mass-Shaken, which would be amazing for fear-stacking builds if it didn't have to deal with the Soulborn's abysmal shaper level or DCs. It's the class itself that makes the melds awful.
    The shapes can be purchased via feats if they absolutely are what you want.

    Your examples of Fighters out-meldshaping Soulborns doesn't really work because the Fighter can't actually out-meldshape Soulborns. Even houseruling the Fighter to allow its feats to advance Meldshaping, it would take 8 feats to match the Soulborn's shapes and binds, and 13 more to match its essentia; the Fighter isn't even in the ballpark. The Incarnum 2/Fighter 18 example also neglects essentia difference. Essentia matters - it's why Bonus Essentia is featured in nearly every meldshaper build.

    A Meldshaping class being better than the Fighter at Meldshaping is hardly redeeming, but it does make your argument against the Soulborn ring false. IMO, it would be more convinving to look at the Soulborn's low ML (especially with the SR:yes quality of all soulmelds), its low essentia capacity, the class's late and lackluster bloom, or how little 13 essentia can actually do than it is to try to bash it with bizarre Fighter comparisons.
    Perhaps you missed where I compared it unfavorably to a Totemist HALF it's level?

    And I'm sorry, but a Fighter IS a better shaper than a Soulborn. It has the same ML, can pick up his binds EARLIER, and can end up with more essentia. The build with Incarnate2/Fighter18 has more essentia than a Soulborn... by level 3. That's before the soulborn even GETS the first meldshape.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Underlord View Post
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    Quite possibly, the best rebuttal I have ever witnessed.
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    Incarnum and YOU: a reference guide
    Soulmelds, by class and slot: Another Incarnum reference
    Multiclassing for Newbies: A reference guide for the rest of us

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  23. - Top - End - #23
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    Default Re: Incarnum and YOU: a reference guide

    Quote Originally Posted by ShneekeyTheLost View Post
    And I'm sorry, but a Fighter IS a better shaper than a Soulborn. It has the same ML, can pick up his binds EARLIER, and can end up with more essentia. The build with Incarnate2/Fighter18 has more essentia than a Soulborn... by level 3. That's before the soulborn even GETS the first meldshape.
    Soulborn 20:
    5 Soulmelds (ML 10 for all)
    13 Essentia from class levels
    3 Chakra binds

    Incarnate 2/Fighter 18:
    3 Soulmelds (ML 2 for all)
    2 Essentia from class levels
    1 Chakra Bind

    I2/F18 with 2 Shape Soulmeld feats, 2 Open Chakra Feats, Bonus Essentia and 3 incarnum feats:
    5 Soulmelds (ML 2 for 3, 10 for 2)
    7 Essentia
    3 Chakra Binds

    Fighter 20 at its best:
    5 Soulmelds (ML 10)
    0 Essentia
    2 Chakra Binds
    {Soulmelds/Binds/Essentia can be arranged at a 1:1 rate, depending on what you're going for, but the count is lower than Soulborn regardless of the array}

    The Fighter builds would still have 10-11 fighter feats to build up some combat shtick, compared to the Soulborn's 7 free feats (11-12:8 if Azurin), but even the Incarnate/Soulborn Fighter would still fall 6 essentia short.

    Unless you consider the Dark Chaos shuffle practical op, I'm having a hard time seeing the Fighter coming out ahead.
    Last edited by Jude_H; 2011-09-18 at 08:05 PM.

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Incarnum and YOU: a reference guide

    This makes me wonder at the validity of fighters who use feats to get meldshaping and ToB manuevers on top of ACFs. Using armored mage and Dungeoncrasher while focused on ToB, Binding, and Meldshaping....

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Incarnum and YOU: a reference guide

    Shneekey,

    I think you mis-labelled the firs PrC you reviewed. I think that should be the "Incandescent Champion". You've duplicated it as the "Incarnum Blade".

    Also, I think part of the analysis ended up outside of the spoiler tags.

    Edit: Note about the ISFM. If you don't dip into crusader or fighter, straight incarnate doesn't get heavy armor proficiency so you can't live the dream of Adamantine Full Plate + Armor Bond. This might be worth mentioning as another reason to take the crusader dip you mentioned.

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    Default Re: Incarnum and YOU: a reference guide

    Updated with PrC information. Most of them are traps, thanks to the way meldshaping and chakra binds work, but there's some things to be had here.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Underlord View Post
    All hail great Shneekeythulhu! Ia Ia Shneeky fthagn
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    Incarnum and YOU: a reference guide
    Soulmelds, by class and slot: Another Incarnum reference
    Multiclassing for Newbies: A reference guide for the rest of us

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    Default Re: Incarnum and YOU: a reference guide

    Should we list combinations possible, like builds?

    Otherwise this is a neat guide.

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    Default Re: Incarnum and YOU: a reference guide

    Quote Originally Posted by ShneekeyTheLost View Post
    Totem Rager - You know how I said Incandescent Champion wasn't quite the worst PrC in the book? Guess what, we're here.
    I disagree. Totem Rager may not be 'great', but it isn't 'trap' either. Its decent enough and does well enough to at least be considered a proper Hybrid alongside Soulcaster and Mystic Theurge, even if it isn't up there with Arcane Hierophant.

    Quote Originally Posted by ShneekeyTheLost View Post
    Y'see, the problem is that it likes to pretend that it's a meldshaper class... but you only get Least and Lesser chakra binds. You also lose 2 meldshaper levels, when the Totemist already has trouble getting enough binds and shapes to be competitive.
    And unless you're getting dispelled a lot, losing 2 manifester levels only sets you back 1 shape and 1 bind, and even then, only part of the time(The most notable time this happens is at level 20, actually. For most of the career, you're only behind a fractional amount, so at some levels you'll actually be 'even').

    Quote Originally Posted by ShneekeyTheLost View Post
    Totem RAAAAAAGE. Wow, look at all the bonus essentia you get! Oh, wait... if I'd just gone straight Totemist, I'd probably have ended up with more than that anyways.
    You're only right if you're talking Totemist 20. A totem rager wins here even against your later example of Barbarian 1/Totemist 19.

    And thanks to the faster progression, you actually pull ahead on Essentia in the mid-late levels.

    Quote Originally Posted by ShneekeyTheLost View Post
    Extra Rage/Extended Rage. Are combats that frequent and that prolonged that you *need* these? Maybe, I suppose, if you're trying to collect prerequisites, it might be a way to do so, but really... this tin is labeled 'fail'.
    Extended Rage isn't anything useful, but Extra Rage actually is. Unless your DM is a fan of the 15-minute work day, you should be expecting 3-5 encounters per day. The barbarian dip only gave you 1 rage, and grabbing the extra rage feat only gives you 2. That means you're only covered for 3 of the average 4. The class given ones give you just enough rage to last through the 'standard', as well as one to spare. A decent thing for a Barbarian.

    Quote Originally Posted by ShneekeyTheLost View Post
    DR/- that STACKS with your Barbarian class feature! Only you don't GET DR from Barbarian until Barb7. I don't know of too many builds that gets that far into it.
    Its *DR*. That's a win right there for a front-liner who's definitely going to be taking hits left and right.

    Quote Originally Posted by ShneekeyTheLost View Post
    Uses: Don't. WhirlingPounceBarian1/Totemist x is in every way superior to this piece of garbage. And that's only because you want the haste and pounce so you don't have to bind Sphinx Claws.
    The Totem Rager has higher essentia, more raging(as opposed to only once), DR, and +10 HP(average improvement of a d10 compared to a d8).

    Your proposal has 1 more chakra bind(only half the time), Totem double-bind, 1 more shaped meld(only 2/3rds the time), and slightly better resistance against dispel and unshaping attempts.

    I'm not seeing it being that big of a difference, except if what you're wanting to play is more of a Barbarian than a Totemist, and in which case, its win.

    And before you go into it, Throat, Waist and Heart have such lack-luster binds that a Barbarous meldshaper build would almost *NEVER* bind anything to any of those chakras, making the loss of the chakras meaningless. Its like complaining that Warblade doesn't get maneuvers that work well worth bows. There's a reason for that: Warblades aren't meant to use bows, and don't even have proficiency.

    Oh, in other news, I finished the Chakra binds:

    Waist Chakra binds:
    Spoiler
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    Heart of Fire - Retribution fire damage, but only hits the opponent if they're using unarmed strikes or natural attacks. Otherwise, it hurts the weapon, but you'll almost *NEVER* overcome the hardness of a weapon with fire damage, so this is a really bad bind in most cases. And that's before I get started on the elemental type.
    Lamia Belt[Evil] - Spring Attack at level 14 when you've had pounce for a half-dozen levels by now(or earlier, if you dipped Barbarian). Fail. Worse, this is an [Evil] meld, meaning that this was supposed to be the 'cool' tech that PCs aren't supposed to have. I'll pass.
    Manticore Belt - You had flight since level 9, so this isn't really that powerful, but its notable for two reasons. First, flyby attack opens up some niche combos you can pull out on a rainy day, and second, your shoulder chakra is one of your better chakras, so being able to get flight elsewhere is handy, even if it is worse flight at a later level.
    Phoenix Belt - Very slow fast healing at a very late level. You'll *ONLY* ever notice this as a method of topping off between combats, and if you haven't figured that out by now some other way, this isn't going to help you either.
    Wormtail Belt - You get a bad feat, but they're nerfing it, just for you. No really. You get all the benefits of the feat, except for the best part: The feat uses the damage as the DC to resist, meaning that a character geared for it would almost always be successful at moving people around the battlefield. With a DC based on your normal meld DCs, you're taking a chance, and you're better off using your standard action elsewhere, especially if you're building to get into melee range anyway.

    Heart Chakra binds:
    Spoiler
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    Blink Shirt - You can already afford a ring of blinking by this point. Not bad tech, and it can be worth a bind if you build for it, but this comes really late in the game, and if you wanted the tech, you'd already own the ring. Still, not horrible.
    Dread Carapace - SR on a bad scaling for the level you get it at. Pretty much SR = level, when to be relevant, you need to be close to, if not over, SR = level + 10. Very bad unless you're a BBEG fighting PCs, and in which case, your level is superior to theirs by a few, so your SR is quite likely to be actually relevant in a fight.
    Shedu Crown[Good] - Shadow Mantle as a shoulder bind was *WAY* stronger. 20 rounds/day is annoying and won't provide you with the non-combat utility that made Shadow Mantle so good. Still, again, notable not so much for what it does but rather that it does so from bind that you're not going to be using too much.
    Totem Avatar - Dr/magic is laughable at this point in the game. I almost want to cry about it. Gawd.

    Soul Chakra binds:
    Spoiler
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    Threefold Mask of the Chimera - Give up your next turn for a Standard action this turn. We're at epic levels now, so you'd expect something more useful than a 2-charge spend from a belt of battle, but no, this comes with a drawback too. The only reason to bind this is if you've run out of good binds before you've run out of binding capability.
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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Incarnum and YOU: a reference guide

    Perhaps we need a guide to the totem rager? :P

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Incarnum and YOU: a reference guide

    Shneekey,

    Do you want me to write up those Inc/SB binds by chakra also, or are you beyond the point of no return on that?

    I already have them written up, I just need to put them in a table (or maybe a list would be easier?) I guess.

    Edit:

    Also, you may want to consider adding the Soul Manifester for PrCs. Because of the trickiness of the Ardent, I'd say it's a far better choice than the Soul Caster.

    Edit 2: I hadn't heard from you in a while so I just did it:

    Soulborn Soulmelds sorted/described by bind:
    Spoiler
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    Crown
    Spoiler
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    • Crystal Helm - Melee attacks gain the force descriptor
    • Diadem of Purelight - All but full concealment is negated in the illuminated radius (20ft+10ft/essentia)
    • Enigma Helm - Immune to charms.
    • Hunter's Circlet - Gain Track feat.
    • Necrocarnum Circlet - Animate Necrocarnum Zombie. Control only 1 at a time.
    • Soulspark Familiat - Lesser familiar only.



    Feet
    Spoiler
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    • Cerulean Sandals - Dim Door as spell up to 10ft/MSL. Any number of uses up to max distance.
    • Dragon Tail - +2 competence bonus to balance/swim, +2/essentia
    • Impulse Boots - Evasion
    • Thunderstep Boots - Any creature that takes sonic damage from boots is stunned for 1 rd, fort negates



    Hands
    Spoiler
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    • Claws of the wyrm - Improve shaped damage by 1 step.
    • Gloves of the Poisoned Soul - Add str damage to the poison effect.
    • Lucky Dice - All allies w/in 30ft gain the benefit of your luck effect.
    • Mauling Gauntlets - Moral bonus to unarmed strike damage = to bonus on str checks. Grants imp. unarmed strike
    • Necrocarnum Weapon - Gain temp. essentia = essentia invested (10 rds) after scoring a critical hit.
    • Sighting Gloves - Grants precise shot.



    Arms
    Spoiler
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    • Armguards of Disruption - Gain Insight bonus to AC/saves = essentia vs. undead
    • Bluesteel Bracers - Allies share the granted initiative bonus.
    • Claws of the Wyrm - Crit range for shaped weapon doubles.
    • Lammasu mantle - Apply shaped benefit to all allies.
    • Mauling Gauntlets - Double Crit range of melee weapons, doesn't stack with keen/imp crit.
    • Necrocarnum Touch - Std action ranged touch attack. 1d8/essentia. Fort halves.
    • Riding Bracers - +2 insight to melee damage, +2 dodge bonus to AC, when mounted.
    • Sailor's Bracers - Swim up to speed as FR action, or half speed as a move action. Take no underwater attack roll penalties



    Brow
    Spoiler
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    • Fearsome Mask - std action, gaze, shaken 1 minute, will negates.
    • Illusion Veil - See Invisibility as spell. +1 insight bonus to spot/saves v. illusion/essentia
    • Mage's Spectacles - Continually under read magic as spell.
    • Silvertongue Mask - Gain same bonus to sense motive
    • Soulspark Familiar - Std soulspark.
    • Truthseeker Goggles - DV 60



    Shoulders
    Spoiler
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    • Dragon Mantle - DR 1/magic per essentia
    • Lammasu Mantle - Summoned non-good creatures can't approach you.
    • Pauldrons of Health - Immune to energy drain.
    • Therapeutic Mantle - Gain insight bonus = essentia to CL when casting healing spells.
    • Wind Cloak - Deflect Arrows. Don't need a free hand, even if flatfooted, +1 missile/essentia



    Throat
    Spoiler
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    • Arcane Focus - damaging spell adds fort save v. Soulmeld DC or daze for 1 rd.
    • Necrocarnum Mantle - Immune to poison.
    • Silvertongue Mask - Suggestion, as spell, std action. Will negates. Each target 1/day.
    • Soulspark Familiar - Greater soulspark.
    • Soulspeaker Circlet - Communicate telepathically w/ any creature w/in 20ft/essentia.



    Waist
    Spoiler
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    • Dragon Tail - Reach, damage increases to 2d6+1.5str. Can't be used for AoO.
    • Flame Cincture - whenever you resist fire damage, that much damage is stored and can be released as a swift action on a target w/in 60ft, reflex negates.
    • Necrocarnum Shroud - At beginning of turn anything in shroud's radius is shaken (will negates)
    • Necrocarnum Vestments - Living creatures take 1d6 cold each round adjacent to you. Fort negates.
    • Strongheart Vest - Prevents ability drain also.



    Heart
    Spoiler
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    • Dragon Mantle - fast healing = number of points of essentia invested. Only functions when below half hp.
    • Necrocarnum Vestments - Immune to stunning/death effects.
    • Spellward Shirt - Choose 4 spells of 6th or lower level, you're immune as spell immunity.
    • Strongheart Vest - Immune to energy drain/death effects.



    Soul
    Spoiler
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    • Necrocarnum Shroud - std action, melee touch, bestow 1d4 negative levels (fort halves) you gain 1 temp essentia and 5 temp hp per neg level.



    Incarnate Soulmelds Sorted/Described by Bind:
    Spoiler
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    Crown
    Spoiler
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    • Crystal Helm - Melee attacks gain the force descriptor
    • Diadem of Purelight - All but full concealment is negated in the illuminated radius (20ft+10ft/essentia)
    • Elder Spirit - Immune to frightful presence, sleep, paralysis. +4 insight to intimidate +2/essentia.
    • Enigma Helm - Immune to charms.
    • Necrocarnum Circlet - Animate Necrocarnum Zombie. Control only 1 at a time.
    • Soulspark Familiat - Lesser familiar only.



    Feet
    Spoiler
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    • Acrobat Boots - Reduces Falling by 1d6/essentia.
    • Airstep Sandals - Maneuverability good->perfect
    • Cerulean Sandals - Dim Door as spell up to 10ft/MSL. Any number of uses up to max distance.
    • Dragon Tail - +2 competence bonus to balance/swim, +2/essentia
    • Impulse Boots - Evasion



    Hands
    Spoiler
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    • Bloodwar Gauntlets - +4 confirm criticals
    • Lightning Gauntlets - Once per round, add electricity damage to a weapon, unarmed, or natural attack.
    • Lucky Dice - All allies w/in 30ft gain the benefit of your luck effect.
    • Mauling Gauntlets - Moral bonus to unarmed strike damage = to bonus on str checks. Grants imp. unarmed strike
    • Necrocarnum Weapon - Gain temp. essentia = essentia invested (10 rds) after scoring a critical hit.
    • Sighting Gloves - Grants precise shot.
    • Theft Gloves - Gain Trapfinding



    Arms
    Spoiler
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    • Armguards of Disruption - Gain Insight bonus to AC/saves = essentia vs. undead
    • Bloodwar Gauntlets - Std action + unshape to 3d6/essentia w/in 20ft. Fort halves.
    • Bluesteel Bracers - Allies share the granted initiative bonus.
    • Incarnate Weapon - Move action to charge, on next successful melee attack, stun 1 rd, fort negates.
    • Lammasu mantle - Apply shaped benefit to all allies.
    • Lifebond Vestments - healing range increases to 30ft.
    • Necrocarnum Touch - Std action ranged touch attack. 1d8/essentia. Fort halves.
    • Riding Bracers - +2 insight to melee damage, +2 dodge bonus to AC, when mounted.
    • Sailor's Bracers - Swim up to speed as FR action, or half speed as a move action. Take no underwater attack roll penalties



    Brow
    Spoiler
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    • Illusion Veil - See Invisibility as spell. +1 insight bonus to spot/saves v. illusion/essentia
    • Keeneye Lenses - See Invisible.
    • Mage's Spectacles - Continually under read magic, as spell.
    • Planar Chasuble - Increase incarnum radiance by 1.
    • Silvertongue Mask - Gain same bonus to sense motive
    • Soulspark Familiar - Std soulspark.
    • Truthseeker Goggles - DV 60



    Shoulders
    Spoiler
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    • Adamant Pauldrons - 50% fort.
    • Lammasu Mantle - Summoned non-good creatures can't approach you.
    • Pauldrons of Health - Immune to energy drain.
    • Therapeutic Mantle - Gain insight bonus = essentia to CL when casting healing spells.
    • Wind Cloak - Deflect Arrows. Don't need a free hand, even if flatfooted, +1 missile/essentia



    Throat
    Spoiler
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    • Apparition Ribbon - std action, gain incorporeal subtype 1rd+1rd/essentia. No more than MSL rds/day.
    • Arcane Focus - damaging spell adds fort save v. Soulmeld DC or daze for 1 rd.
    • Necrocarnum Mantle - Immune to poison.
    • Planar Ward - Whenever you're struck by extraplanar, will save or dismissal. It gets HD bonus, you get MSL bonus to DC.
    • Silvertongue Mask - Suggestion, as spell, std action. Will negates. Each target 1/day.
    • Soulspark Familiar - Greater soulspark.



    Waist
    Spoiler
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    • Dragon Tail - Reach, damage increases to 2d6+1.5str. Can't be used for AoO.
    • Flame Cincture - whenever you resist fire damage, that much damage is stored and can be released as a swift action on a target w/in 60ft, reflex negates.
    • Necrocarnum Shroud - At beginning of turn anything in shroud's radius is shaken (will negates)
    • Necrocarnum Vestments - Living creatures take 1d6 cold each round adjacent to you. Fort negates.
    • Strongheart Vest - Prevents ability drain also.
    • Vitality Belt - Immune to con damage/drain.



    Heart
    Spoiler
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    • Lifebond Vestments - healing is at will.
    • Necrocarnum Vestments - Immune to stunning/death effects.
    • Spellward Shirt - Choose 4 spells of 6th or lower level, you're immune as spell immunity.
    • Strongheart Vest - Immune to energy drain/death effects.



    Soul
    Spoiler
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    • Fellmist Robe - Concealment applies to all attacks
    • Incarnate Avatar - Immunitiy to daze, paralysis, petrify, stun, all slows.
    • Keeneye Lenses - True Seeing
    • Necrocarnum Shroud - std action, melee touch, bestow 1d4 negative levels (fort halves) you gain 1 temp essentia and 5 temp hp per neg level.
    • Planar Chasuble - 1/week Gate as the spell. Costs 1k xp if "Calling Creatures".


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