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Author Topic: The Incarnate Handbook  (Read 35020 times)
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Sinfire Titan
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« on: January 13, 2010, 03:58:20 PM »

The Incarnate Guide


Section 1: Races
Section 2: Class Features
Section 3: Feats
Section 4: Soulmelds
Section 5: Prestige Classes and Multiclassing Options
Section 6: Magic Items
Section 7: Style 1 (The Tank)
Section 8: Style 2 (The Caster)
Section 9: Style 3 (The Sniper)


Welcome to my third Incarnum-based handbook. This, along with the Totemist Handbook and the Incarnum Handbook itself, will be your guide to playing a Meldshaper. But first, a brief explanation about the Incarnate.


What is an Incarnate?
To put it simply, think (Artificer+Cleric)-Game Breakers. Well, not all of them. Incarnates have access to a large array of tricks that can turn them into the party's... well, anything. Its all a matter of style.

Anything huh?
Basically, yes. The Incarnate has no set role in a party, and their class features and power source allow them to shift between several major roles on a day-to-day basis. While they aren't as effective as a dedicated member of another class who specializes in that role, they are capable of filling in for most roles out there.

Roles?
Tank, Skill Monkey, Party Buffer, and Caster. Incarnates excel at the first two, and do decent imitations of the second two (especially Buffing, thanks to a very potent class feature).

Wait, they can fill all three of those roles?
There are some powerful limitations in place preventing an Incarnate from covering all 4 roles simultaneously, and several factors prevent them from being able to switch roles entirely on a daily basis, but they can still cover for the party. Those limits are:

Skills
Attacks/round
Spellcasting
Feat selection

Because these abilities are almost locked in stone, you can only truly cover one role effectively, but can switch to a nerfed version of the other roles if given time to prepare.

What Tier is the Incarnate?
A high end Tier 4, to a mid-ranged Tier 3. An unoptimized Incarnate (read: Anyone who hasn't read an Incarnum Handbook or had major experience as an Optimizer) can fall all the way to Tier 6, AKA Useless to the Nine Hells and Back.

Useless?! I don't want to play a useless character!
Neither do I, hence the reason I read these handbooks. And hence the reason you were directed to this one. If you're reading this, then let me lay down one rule: You will never look at this class the same way again once you've finished making an Incarnate, provided you follow my advice.

It isn't the most powerful class in the game, but it is very versatile (despite its looks). The chassis isn't the best, but a little customization and some practical application of the CO board's special touch, and you will be very powerful.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2011, 12:36:15 PM by Sinfire Titan » Logged



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« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2010, 03:58:35 PM »

Races

(Insert witty joke here SiFir)

Because you can't play the game without a race, this is a list of the best races to pick.


Azurin: Its the first race in the MoI for a reason. This should be your default option kids; you really can't go wrong here.

Duskling: Not that practical for this, though they can work for a Scout-build. If you anticipate mobility being a key skill your party lacks, this race isn't too shabby (but others may be better).

Skarn: I like the Mishtai races, and the Skarn just look badass. The bonus to Str and the extra natural weapon, along with the Favored Class make this a solid choice for a Melee-oriented Incarnate.

Rilkan: Not as awesome as the Skarn, but still pretty cool. Better than elves! Great skill monkey/ranged-combatant here. The only problem? Incarnates got shafted in the Ranged department. Its still viable (very much so), but they are a bit all over the place here.


Human: Sort of good, but only if you prefer the Skill Points over the Azurin's Essentia.

Gnome: Yes! Hands down the best choice in the PHB. Small size, Con bonus, and good PrC choices? Sure, why the hell not?

Halfling: Another great choice for a Skill Monkey Incarnate. The skill boosts they get are great, but they aren't that good with combat. They can work nicely. Special note for the Strongheart Halfling, which is effectively Human+ (ask your DM about swapping some of the racial traits for Essentia, and it's effectively Azurin+).

Elf: For those who've read my handbooks (any and all of them), you know what I'm about to say. Fuck no! Second-worst possible LA 0 race for any Meldshaper (with the first being the Spellscale, from Races of the Dragon).

Half-Orc: If Full Orc or Water Orc aren't allowed, don't play the Half Orc in their place. Play a Skarn. If Water Orc or Full Orc are allowed, play those over this. Half Orc just isn't that good.

Half Elf: Nothing good, nothing bad. Not worth your racial choice though.

Dwarf: One more reason why Dwarves are better than elves (Meldshaping). You also get access to the best noncasting PrC for an Incarnate ever, the Ironsoul Forgemaster.


Dragonborn: This should be a default kids.

Mongrelfolk: On its own, it isn't too bad (the Int penalty hurts a little). Coupled with Dragonborn, and you are a living tank!

Shifter: Best reserved for the Totemist, not the Incarnate, though a few Shifter traits work nicely with the Incarnate's soulmelds.

Warforged: A step below the Mongrelfolk, but on-par with the Skarn (Wis penalty be damned). There's serious RP potential too, so bonus points. The Warforged Scout race (MM3) also works nicely, if you're careful.

Kalashtar: I mention this race for 3 major reasons. First and foremost, Power Points equal to Character Level. Secondly, the Soul Manifester PrC. Third, and finally, access to Psionic Feats. This isn't as much of a default as the Azurin, but its still a great choice (considered the best option for a Ranged Incarnate, despite no stat boosts).

Kobold: Because they can do everything, this seems to be a natural choice, right? Make sure not to use the default MM Kobold race, and try to get Desert or Jungle variants from Unearthed Arcana (also the SRD) instead. If default is a must, go Dragonborn. Or Dragonwrought, but that isn't as useful to an Incarnate.

Other races: There's a lot of them out there kids, so look carefully. Pay attention to stat bonuses, benefits, level adjustment, and your goal as an Incarnate. Pick a race that suits your goals, and make sure to avoid Con penalties as much as possible.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2010, 02:01:07 PM by Sinfire Titan » Logged



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« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2010, 05:32:55 PM »

Class Features

I'm sure many of you have finally cracked open the book to see what all of the fuss is about, and I'm willing to bet that many of you are ready to throw the damn book at me. I wasn't kidding when I said the chassis isn't that good. But I was also serious about this class being flexible and powerful. You just need a little bit of effort to make it fall into place.

Statistically speaking (with all Soulmelds, magic items, and other benefits included), the Incarnate is rivaled only by the Totemist and Full Casters in terms of numbers. You can get an obscenely high modifier to damn near anything, but you need a clear goal in mind to do so.

This comes into play later on, BTW. So, the first step to building an Incarnate is to figure out your Goal. What does your party need most?

A note on alignments: This class is more restrictive than the Druid with regards to alignment choices. You can only be one of four. Some have adapted the class to be alignment-free. The problem behind this is that the alignment restrictions were put in place not to balance the class, but to make roles clear. Removing them is a mess, and requires careful attention to make it work. I recommend putting up with it, and praying that your DM isn't that strict about alignments. The good news is that you have no moral code, and are free to select one that suits your RP style.

Anyway, onto the class features.


Ability Scores

Str: Mixed feelings here. In case of Lawful Neutral or Neutral Evil, this should be your priority stat (even above Con). Anything else can feel free to ignore Strength.

Dex: Again, mixed feelings. While everyone likes Init, and you like your Reflex saves, this isn't exactly needed (even without Dex, you can get a solid Armor Class and a decent Init modifier). Chaotic Neutral and Neutral Good would do well to make this a priority.

Con: Everyone needs this, but Meldshapers need it most. A 16 will do for most purposes, and 20 or higher is also welcome. Depending on the build, you can get away with a 24 (Dragonborn Mongrelfolk).

Int: I love this stat, and as a Skill monkey class, you will want this to be decent. If skills aren't your focus, feel free to ignore Int.

Wis: Completely dumpable. Why? Incarnates have the least number of soulmelds that allow a saving throw, meaning this is fairly useless to you. If you do pump it for the Capstone class feature, you can set it to 14 base and boost it later with items.

Cha: Yet another mixed stat. If your build is going to abuse UMD (and let's face it, every build can do that), this is a priority too. If not, you have no need for Cha.


Hit Dice: A lowly d6, but this is going to be augmented by your Con score. Really, this class taught me that HD means nothing. You could give a d8 to the Wizard, and they would barely bat an eyelash over it. Seriously, doesn't matter except at the absolute lowest of levels (where some spells can kill you).

Base Attack Bonus: Half. And here's were the shit hits the fan. Of course, some optimizers have found that Base Attack Bonus is meaningless (and I count myself amongst them), but still, they could have given it Medium. The good news is you can boost your attack rolls into obscenity, just like your skills. The Soulborn loses to the Incarnate in the attack department (again, I'm not kidding).

Saves: 2 good, and they're the two most important saves in the game. Reflex can be pumped, so don't worry.

Skills: 2+Int, with a rather odd skill list. Finding ways to expand it isn't needed, as CC skills work just fine for an Incarnate. Getting more skill points may be helpful though...

Soulmelds: Your bread. You get the most soulmelds out of any class, and more can be obtained with feats (you won't need that many).

Essentia: Your butter. You have the most essentia in the game, with a massive 26 points. However, as many have noted, this doesn't seem to be that much. Your soulmelds have an essentia capacity of 6 without feats or items at 20th level, and you are 10 off from being able to max out all of them. Worry not; you don't need max essentia in every soulmeld (despite what others may say), and your Capstone fills all of them for a limited time.

Chakra Binds: The cherry on top of the ice cream. 5 isn't that much, but depending on how your DM rules, some feats can add Chakra binds. I've never really had a need for all 10 slots, and have been very satisfied with just 5 myself.

Weapons and Armor: A decent selection. Armor is really the only thing you care about here. Incarnates normally wield magic items or their Incarnate Weapon soulmeld, which grants auto-proficiency.

Aligned Soulmelds: You can't shape opposing melds, but LN and CN can shape Necrocarnum ones with a feat (Necrocarnum Acolyte).

Aura: You glow under a blacklight. Nothing important.

Detect X: You can also spam said blacklight. First level is a real drag, huh?

Chakra Binds (Crown-Soul): You're the only meldshaper class in canon DnD to get access to all 10 (number 11 is special). This makes multiclassing very hard on you, as losing the Soul Chakra is a hard choice (a lot of good effects tied to it). Worth noting is that you can simply forgo the Heart and Soul, and simply take the Open Chakra feats to make up for what you are missing. Unfortunately, your Meldshaper Level will suffer if you multiclass at all. This is the main reason Incarnate 20 is the most recommended Incarnate build.

Expanded Soulmeld Capacity: Weee! You'll fall in love with this ability fast.

Incarnum Radiance: If only it were 1/encounter, or if there were an Extra Radiance feat. RAW, this ability is keyed of off character level, not class level. This makes it a little more multiclass friendly. The Lawful and Evil ones are the best, the Good one being average, and the Chaotic one sucking.

Rapid Meldshaping: An Epic level feat as a class feature. Too bad it doesn't affect your Chakra Binds. This lets you play Skill Monkey on the fly. It isn't a powerful class feature though.

Share Incarnum Radiance: You can be a mini-Bard! Nothing wrong with this ability kids, and it stacks with everything.

Perfect Meldshaper: Wow... Kinda worth it, kinda not. If it were useable 3/day, that would be awesome. If it came earlier, that too, would be awesome. If you are playing in Eberron, then there's no reason to multiclass at all (because of shenanigans you can pull with Action Points).

True Incarnation: Best way to become an Outsider ever? Yes. The best part about being an outsider (other than Polymorph abuse)? Your party spellcasters can use Gate or Planar Binding/Ally to call you from another plane of existence. Great for surprise parties!
« Last Edit: January 21, 2010, 02:00:56 PM by Sinfire Titan » Logged



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« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2010, 05:33:17 PM »

Feats

Theres a lot of feats out there. I'm only going to touch on the major ones, and the ones printed in the MoI itself. Everything else will be left out, but feel free to ask.


Azure Enmity: Only good in Gestalt. Most of the feats like this will be. Ranger/Incarnate is a really good Gestalt combo too, especially if you can nab Swift Hunter on the Ranger's side.

Azure Talent: Only good because of a PrC. If only it said Temporary PP, then we could break it wide open...

Azure Touch: Not perveted in any way! Decent for a Paladin, but Gestalt Pally/Incarnate needs House Rules. Monk's Wholeness of Body sucks.

Azure Toughness: If you ever take this, only do so for the essentia. Never, ever, invest in it. Still superior to normal Toughness. There are tricks you can do with Psycarnum Infusion and Essentia Helms, but even then those options are overshadowed by Stone Power.

Azure Turning: Meh. What optimizer in his right mind uses Turning without specifically focusing on Destroying? And why would you take this feat if they're going to dust anyway?

Azure Wild Shape: Because Druids need more love... This is better on Gestalt Totemist/Druid than Incarnate/Druid, but if you can grab Wild Shape from somewhere that scales nicely, this isn't a bad feat to have.

Bonus Essentia: The Improved Init of Incarnum. Got a spare feat? Here you go.

Cerulean Save Boosters: Not needed in the least. Take for the essentia, retrain/DCFS/PsiReform later.

Cobalt Charge: Leeroy! Seriously, I said you can get a good attack bonus off of the Incarnate. This feat isn't needed due to situational uses, mostly because you aren't going to be killing things in one round.

Cobalt Critical: Pass!

Cobalt Expertise: Nice, but odds are if you have the requirements, you're going for Karmic Strike/Robilar's Gambit combo, and thus won't have the spare feat for it.

Cobalt Power: Works best with Crusader Gestalt (you'll notice that Gestalt Incarnate works with nearly everything). Stone Power+this feat is a really nice combo.

Cobalt Prescision: Not really that powerful, but the Ranged Incarnate may want it.

Cobalt Rage: You shouldn't be taking this. Its an awesome feat, but Totem Rager needs Totemist levels. CN Incarnate//Barbarians will be pardoned for taking it.

Divine Soultouch: Holy hell! It boosts your essentia capacity and pool? And runs on Turning? You can easily get 30 Turn Attempts/day, even without Nightstick cheese. Sapphire Hierarchs have no reason not to take this.

Double Chakra: If it gave Essentia or provided additional Chakra Binds, it would be a must-have. But it doesn't, so only a few builds will need it.

Expanded Soulmeld Capacity: A must have. Some say you should have it for every soulmeld (which you can very well do, but its a bit of overkill). I say only take it twice, three times tops.

Healing Soul: I often select this feat for the essentia, and invest in it every so often if I feel combat may be brutal. Its a life saver feat, but not required.

Heart of Incarnum: If only it had the Incarnum tag too... Worth taking if you have a spare, and strictly superior to Azure Toughness.

Improved Essentia Capacity: If you have a lot of Incarnum feats, and are focusing on them, this is a fine feat to take. Otherwise, not that powerful.

Incarnum Fortified Body: Yet another feat that needs the Incarnum Tag, this one for thematic reasons (look at the Dragonic or Psionic equivalents). They didn't give it the tag because it would be SU, thus shutting it off in an AMF.

Incarnum Resistance: 1, you can't take it. 2, it sucks anyway. +4 isn't enough, as few soulmelds offer saves anyway. Not to mention, how many meldshapers will you ever fight?

Incarnum Spellshaping: Required for Soulcaster entry.

Indigo Strike: Incarnate Gestalt goes good with everything!

Midnight Augmentation: Game breaker potential? Not so much. It can come close, but its fairly tame. Great for some Soul Manifester builds.

Midnight Dodge: If you ever have to take Dodge, take this instead. In exchange for the additional requirements on the feat, you get equal or 5 times the feat out of it.

Midnight Metamagic: Game breaker! Couple this with the Essentia Helm (Magic Item Compendium) and you can get free essentia!

Necrocarnum Acolyte: Not bad for some builds. If you can see yourself using the Necrocarnum Zombie as an ally, and can spare the feat, go right ahead. Needs the Incarnum tag...

Open Chakras: These feats are mixed. If your DM reads them and rules by RAW, they're great ways to boost your Chakra Bind advancement. If the DM is aware of and agrees with a Cust Serv ruling on them (and seriously, it's Cust Serv...), they suck. Hard. However, Cust Serv is wrong about these feats (Page 108, Magic of Incarnum, text explicitly calls out feats that grant Chakra Binds, and these feats are the only ones to qualify).

Psycarnum Blade: Yet again, Incarnate goes great with Gestalt builds. TWFing with the Incarnate Weapon and a Soulknife looks kinda wierd though...

Psycarnum Crystal: Erudites and Psions want this if they go Soul Manifester.

Psycarnum Infusion: Game breaker #2! Actually, coupling this with the Mindight Metamagic or Augment feats above works rather nicely.

Sapphire Fist: One of the many ways to make Stunning Fist viable. Incarnum makes Monks better!

Sapphire Smite: Works best with Pally, but Crusaders may want it if they focus on their Smite class feature.

Sapphire Sprint: You can run really fast if you're a CN Duskling Incarnate...

Shape Soulmeld: Need I say why this is the best feat for you if you don't know what to take? Extra soulmelds are good.

Share Soulmeld: One interesting house rule I've seen is to allow the Soulspark Familiar to share soulmelds with this feat. Works best with Gestalt Druid or a Soulcaster build. An interesting trick is to share Dissolving Spittle with both your Familiar and your Animal Companion (via Shape Soulmeld), which allows extra uses of the ability each round. Good potential.

Soulsight: Kinda meh, kinda good.

Soultouched Spellcasting: Kinda good if you're an Abjurer.

Split Chakra: Good feat if you need that slot, but not required.

Undead Meldshaper: Never ever ever EVER take this feat! It prevents you from taking other Incarnum feats (as they all require a Con score). If you have to take this feat for some reason, do yourself a favor and make a new character instead.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2010, 02:29:11 PM by Sinfire Titan » Logged



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« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2010, 05:33:54 PM »

Soulmelds

Onto the best part. A case-by-case review of every soulmeld you can naturally shape. Some special mentions will be made for specific soulmelds.

Crystal Helm: Bonus to Will saves, deflection bonus for investing essentia, and Force descriptor on attacks when bound. Needless to say, I shape this often. Its great for a tank, but anyone wanting a bonus to AC can use it.

Diadem of Purelight: God, this one sucks! If you ever need a torch this bad, do me a favor and punch yourself when you shape it. Never ever Bind it!

Enigma Helm: SR against Divination spells, a school your allies won't be likely to target you with. The real kicker is immunity to Charm effects and bonus to Will saves. Between this and the Crystal Helm, its a tough call. Soulcaster builds will want the Crystal Helm more, due to great Will saves all ready, but the Divination protection is undoubtably useful.

Necrocarnum Circlet: I'm not a fan of the Necrocarnum abilities, due to the PrC sucking compare to straight Incarnate levels (even with infinite essentia abuse). This one makes the list becaus the Crown chakra is the first one you get, and its actally very useful at that level. Once you've killed something, it gives you a free Animate Dead on that creature. Also, the soulmeld's basic effects are really good, especially in certain campaigns.

Soulspark Familiar: This really isn't worth the time it takes to stat one out. At the low levels, they're good for little, and at the high levels they're a wasted slot. Share Soulmeld abuse may make this nice around levels 5-9, but above that these little bastards will die too fast.

Acrobat Boots: This is a default Skill Monkey soulmeld. Note that the chakra bind effect stacks with the Tumble and Jump skill uses, so you can reduce falling damage quite a bit. Beats Slow Fall at least, but a lot can do that...

Airstep Sandals: Lowest level Flight ability there is, and the best one that can be obtained with a feat. The chakra bind is in a bit of limbo; if the DM says it is constant flight, go ahead and bind it. If he rules it acts like the unbound one, you have little reason to do so. The mobility it provides is damn powerful at the low levels.

Cerulean Sandals: Situationally useful. The DDoor ability is outclassed by Shape Soulmeld (Blink Shirt), but has its uses.

Impulse Boots: Uncanny Dodge, a boost to Reflex Saves, and Evasion for free? Yes please!

Bloodwar Gauntlets: I think they messed up on the Essentia ability. Talk to your DM. If he agrees, its great for any Evil Incarnate. If not, then it isn't worth shaping.

Lightning Gauntlets: Ugh, I hate this one. I suppose the Chakra bind is OK in Gestalt, especially on a Martial Adept. But the base option isn't that good due to not working with Iterative Attacks. It may outclass the Incarnate Weapon a little, but the damage doesn't scale well and SR applies. As does Energy Resistance.

Lucky Dice: If only the essentia boosted the bonus instead, I'd gladly shape these. But it doesn't, thus it gets overshadowed by the default guns.

Necrocarnum Weapon: Kinda meh. The Chakra bind is nice, but too circumstantial to use often.

Sighting Gloves: Ranged Incarnates shape this, no questions asked.

Theft Gloves: Skill Monkey trickery here. The DC to steal someone's pants while they're wearing them is fairly low, considering it is Epic...

Armguards of Disruption: Seriously campaign-reliant, and very weak too. Not that good IMO, at least the Lightning Gauntlets affected everything not outright immune.

Bluesteel Bracers: Party buffer chakra bind, bonus to Init, and a bonus on damage rolls. Not bad, all in all.

Incarnate Weapon: Best for a Lawful Incarnate, but the Evil ones like it too. Chaotic Incarnates are better off getting a Bow, and Good Incarnates can skip it. Only using the chakra bind ability causes SR to apply, depending on how you read that rule. Auto-ignores DR/Magic from Level 1 on up with Essentia.

Lammasu Mantle: A lot of variable abilities, but worth shapping on occasion. Effectively a constant Magic Circle, but not as good.

Lifebond Vestments: A bit of a loop here with the Heart bind allows you to gradually reduce the Healing costs of the entire party to wands of Cure Minor level. Simply bind it, heal an ally, then heal yourself of the damage you took. Repeat until no one has damage. Takes about 5 minutes, and you yourself will need some healing after uses (not much though). Only works with the Heart bind, so it lost a few points.

Necrocarnum Touch: Kinda useful for the Arms bind, makes you a mini-Warlock.

Riding Bracers: Do you know how much a Riding Dog or Warhorse costs? Not much. Did you know they are effective melee combatants at the low levels?

Sailor's Bracers: Very situational. If you see Stormwrack anywhere in your DM's book stack, these are a decent investment.

Illusion Veil: Very nice, even if you aren't a spellcaster.

Keeneye Lenses: Slightly better than the Illusion Veil for most.

Mage's Spectacles: UMD is the single most broken skill in the game. The basis behind the Caster build. Chakra bind sucks though...

Planar Chasuble: Very good, especially the 1/week Gate. The bonus to Incarnum Radiance is good too.

Silvertongue Mask: Diplomancy has been a staple of CO for years, and Incarnates are very good at it (and resisting it too).

Truthseeker Goggles: More Skill Monkey bonuses. Fairly minor too, may be worth skipping. Points for permanent True Seeing though.

Adamant Pauldrons: The real question is if it stacks with the Warforged racial trait. If it does, you win at combat forever. (But not really.)

Mantle of Flame: Kinda meh. Worth it for a grappler build, but Totemists do that better.

Pauldrons of Health: Very potent save booster. Chakra Bind is ok, but not worth constantly binding.

Therapeutic Mantle: Not that powerful. If it worked in reverse, it would be great for post-combat healing. Nice for Gestalt though, and if you are the party's tank it conserves GP nicely. Note that anyone who takes Shape Soulmeld for this one gets a massive benefit if they have an essentia pool. You know how Clerics like persisting Circle of Vigor? Well this applies to that healing too. And effects like the Vampiric weapon quality. Or the Crusader's Healing maneuvers and stances. Crusaders may find this very useful. RAW, it needs errata to work with anything other than spells, but maneuvers and stances have levels too, so they may be much more useful. The Vampiric quality is based on a 1st or 2nd level spell, IIRC.

Wind Cloak: And the noncasters now have some defense against pin cushioning. The Chakra Bind is nice, but the DR isn't that good. Note that this is tehcnical Save or Immune to Swarm attacks, but only if the DM agrees with the reading. The Astral Vambraces (available in a Mind's Eye article) are slightly superior due to the DR applying to everything, not just ranged attacks.

Apparition Ribbon: It took me a while to like this soulmeld. Its great for the UMD abuser, or at least the Throat bind is. The melee combatant is better off with the Crystal Helm for the basic effect though. This grew on me, as it's great for infiltration.

Arcane Focus: Gestalt yet again says "Hi!".

Dissolving Spittle: The main focus behind the Ranged Incarnate builds. This+Psionic Shot=Damage. Very boring though. A Speed Splitting bow with Rapid Shot may be more entertaining (and slightly more potent damage-wise).

Necrocarnum Mantle: This soulmeld is fairly weak, but it is effectively immunity to Mind Affecting abilities (suck it Enchantment).

Planar Ward: Save booster against outsiders, a very common creature type. Very powerful, effectively a constant Protection From Evil spell. Many would do well to take Shape Soulmeld for this, but you can just shape it normally.

Flame Cinture: Kinda meh. Proof that Fire damage sucks though.

Necrocarnum Shroud: The Soul bind is freaking good if you know how to use it (AKA: SPAM!), but outclassed by UMD cheese (very much so). Otherwise its kinda meh.

Spellward Shirt: The best source of SR in the game, short of Casters. Furthermore, its protection from spells your allies will cast. Coordinate with the party mage and make sure this is active when they drop spells like Cloudkill.

Strongheart Vest: The oft debated soulmeld, and arguably the best defense against Wraiths and such. Complete and total immunity to Energy Drain is powerful too. Perfect for a Ravenloft game.

Vitality Belt: If you are playing a melee Incarnate, and don't have this shaped, you're doing it wrong! At the late levels, it's effective 160 HP. That's the equivalent of a +32 bonus to Con. In other words, your HP is going to be retarded for a while.

Fellmist Robe: Ranged Incarnates will love this, and melee ones can use the Soul bind.

Incarnate Avatar: Melee and Ranged Incarnates should have this constantly active.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2010, 02:40:55 PM by Sinfire Titan » Logged



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« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2010, 05:34:23 PM »

Prestige Classes and Multiclassing

Incarnum didn't get much love, and meldshapers don't multiclass well.

Still reading? OK, it means you've got a specific goal in mind and want to make it work. Here's a few recommended PrCs and multiclass options for you.

Incandescent Champion: Not very good (pardon) for an Incarnate due to lack of soulmeld progression and mediocre class features. You can't enter it before 12th level anyway.

Incarnum Blade: In the original handbook, I gave a solid review of this class. I stand by that review. It just plain old sucks for a pure meldshaper entry, and the Blademeld Chakra abilities aren't that good.

Ironsoul Forgemaster: Out of all of the PrCs for an Incarnate, this one is great. You lose a level of progression, but the ability to craft magic items is undoubtably the best ability for you. Talk your DM into letting you apply special abilities to your Incarnate Weapon soulmeld instead of making an actual magic weapon, and it is even better! The same effects can be obtained through Legacy Item rules and Kensai levels, but this one actually progresses your meldshaping (and gets you the Heart chakra a level early). Dragonborn Dwarf is the best entry, and it makes a great Tanking PrC due to improved BAB.

Necrocarnate: I deconstructed this PrC in a different thread. Let me find that post. The basic jist is that this PrC is always a level behind in chakra binds, soulmelds, and never gets permanent essentia. That last part is the real kicker. Never mind infinite abuse when you can't even kill something during your first encounter each day. The extra Zombie is nice, but not needed. It's possible to use this and Totemist to get access to every single Chakra Bind and Soulmeld in existence, but thanks to a lack of easy essentia you're going to be spending most of your GP on Wands of Soul Boon and Essentia Helms, along with needing some random mooks to off every now and again. A Thrallherd in the party will help with that last option, as will anyone who wants to abuse Planar Binding+Animate Dead.

Sapphire Hierarch: Optimal entry is Ur-Priest, but that requires alignment house rules (shifting the SH or Ur-Priest to either Evil or Lawful, respectively). Cleric entry works too, but don't focus on the Incarnate side too much (as you won't be able to progress it any further after 10th level, at least not without Epic rules and such). The class features are fairly mediocre, but the spellcasting is all you care about. The Incarnum Domain has Incarnum Apothesis, which can be Persisted for great fun. Meldshaping is a great way to augment your Divine abilities, and a DMM: Persist Cleric with soulmelds is pretty scary. The only complaint is the lack of Chakra Bind progression, but spells again make up for most of that.

Soulcaster: Take it to 7th or 8th level, then PrC out. That's all its really worth to an arcane caster. Gnome is the best race for this PrC, and Incarnate 2/Wizard 5/Soulcaster 8/Shadowcraft Mage 5 is the best build for you (despite the 2 level drop in CL). Kobold Sorcerers can pull some shenanigans (I told you they were better at everything) to get 16th level meldshaping advancement and 9th level spells, pretty much the best deal you can get pre-Epic.

Spinemeld Warrior: I don't recommend Incarnate entry here, unless your DM has a homebrew Dual-Advancement class for Meldshapers.

Totem Rager: Leave it for the Totemist.

Umbral Disciple: It isn't exactly a good Prc for a dedicated meldshaper, but if you dipped into Incarnate and don't have spellcasting or similar abilities, this PrC is rather nice.

Witchborn Binder: Ahh, useless. I love how they make a PrC to combat spellcasters that relies on your meldshaper level, then cuts 4 levels out of your advancement. In effect, this is a massive nerf. Not worth even dipping. The Dispelling Orb is nice, but you can just leave it to the full casters. If it had 8/10th advancement, Chakra Bind progression, and made up for the lost levels with a boost to your Meldshaper level (because the spellcasters can boost CL easier than you can sneeze), it wouldn't be half bad (possibly even worth it). But it sucks.

Legacy Champion: Even if you can't designate a Soulmeld as a Legacy Item, I'm sure you can craft a custom one that will be worth while. The key here is the UMD as a class skill and 8/10s Soulmeld/Chakra Bind progression with Medium BAB. Losing the Soul chakra kinda hurts, but you can make up for it threefold.

Kensai (Complete Warrior): For the melee builds. If you can talk your DM into treating your Incarnate Weapon as your signature weapon (which really makes sense), this is an ideal PrC for a Lawful Neutral Incarnate. You can boost your Concentration checks using the Vitality Belt and Lucky Dice. If this flies with your DM, Chaotic Neutral is also viable because of Legacy items. I don't recommend more than a few levels (and Incarnate can't enter easily). 3 at most, and take the Skillful Enhancement from Complete Arcane. A build I've thought about in the past was Incarnate 16/Cloistered Cleric 1/Kensai 3, which works out nicely and sets you up for Sapphire Heirarch in Epic play.

Apostle of Peace (BoED): This is a somewhat broken, somewhat crap PrC. Its a wannabe Ur-Preist for NG, but the spell list is more limited. Thankfully, it makes up for this with Vow of Poverty and Peace and Nonviolence, and by breaking VoP's restrictions somewhat. The bad news is that you can't hurt people, the good news is that you can be a DMM Healer, Buffer, and Diplomancer at the same time. I myself ban this PrC for various reasons (mostly due to the inter-party strain and the headache concerning the WBL restrictions).

Ur-Priest (CD): Tiefling Incarnate substitution levels get you the required skills and saves, so all you need are the feats. Get the Incarnum Domain through Divine Oracle, devote yourself to an Elder Evil, and ask your DM to reflavor the Sapphire Heirarch to NE instead of LN. Two of these are RAW, one of these is house rules. Regardless, even straight Incarnate 10/Ur-priest 9/Divine Oracle 1 is great.

Home Brew: There may be some PrCs out there that someone else made, or there may be one you or your DM made. If it matches up fairly well to the recommended PrCs listed above, then it may be worth taking. If it matches up to the ones that I told you to avoid, don't bother.

Multiclassing in General: Very little should be used unless you know what to do/avoid doing. Because so little advances your meldshaping abilities, I mostly recommend not multiclassing at all and taking Leadership to make up for it. However, there's times when Multiclassing is the best option. Level dips into Incarnate are very powerful despite what you lose, and Soulcasters/Sapphire Heirarchs are very well-off taking 2 levels in Incarnate (Totemist is fine too, but this handbook is about Incarnates). Factotum 1+Able Learner (Races of Destiny) is an excellent level-dip costing you only your capstones (one is good, the other is ok, both can be saccrificed) at the benefit of making you Skill Monkey GOD. Totemist 2 also makes a good dip, replacing your Soul Chakra with the Totem Chakra (works best with NE and LN Incarnates). Kobold Incarnates may want to go Sorcerer/Soulcaster and grab Greater Rite of Passage and Loredrake to make up for your 4 or 6 Incarnate levels (6th level offers an extra Chakra Bind, and 16th level offers 8 soulmelds, 18 Essentia, and 4 chakra binds as opposed to 12th level's 7, 12, and 3).

Gestalt: I mention this because I use it, and many other people like it. Gestalt is Incarnum's playground, allowing you to either test out Incarnum itself or optimize the unholy hell out of your stats. Really, Incarnate goes good beside mostly every other class, and doesn't ask much in exchange (you just need to put a little into Con). This is a list of potential Gestalt Builds and how they work. All of them assume the other half is pure Incarnate. Seriously, Gestalting Incarnate is a great way to boost your abilities, even if you aren't that good an optimizer.

Wizard: GOD, but with more GOD. Less buffs are required, and your Familiar is now worth keeping no matter what (seriously). This is a potentially broken combo if you know how to play a Wizard, as you can shift between any party role almost spontaneously.

Sorcerer: Kobolds love it, and its almost as good as Wizard. Cha/Con doesn't boost much though, and your saves, HD, and BAB aren't going to be that high. Still, potentially good.

Cleric: An obvious choice due to stats and alignment. DMM is your best friend here, as is Midnight Metamagic. Your HD improves and so does your BAB (unless you use Cloistered Cleric, which is worth considering). Regardless, Divine Power=Win.

Druid: Another obvious choice, but for a different reason: Wild Shape. Your soulmelds still function provided your new form has the required limbs to hold them (as defined by Chapter 7 of Magic of Incarnum), meaning you can assume any Bipedal or Quadrapedal form and keep them active. Elementals and Plants are a bit tricky, but most outsiders and Giants (MoMF and Planar Shepherd) will be OK. Your Animal Companion will also benefit if you play it safe. A small race may be best so you can use your Companion as a mount for the first few levels.

Fighter: Its a tad dull, but your stat pumping abilities on the Incarnate's side mesh well with the Fighter's bonus feat progression. Choose carefully and you will be able to outgun any encounter.

Barbarian: Soulmelds don't require Concentration checks unless you get caught shaping them or need to rebind them you'll be fine. Rage also boosts your stats, but Chaotic Neutral is a bit restrictive and fairly dull. Maybe not worth it, but it depends on what your party needs most.

Monk: One of the many potential fixes is to use Gestalt and add Incarnate to the other side. Not worth taking Monk to 20th (as Dman's handbook has told us), but worth looking into.

Bard: You can become the ultimate party-buffer. Plus, spells are always welcome for an Incarnate. Better BAB, better skill selection, at the cost of a little MAD.

Rogue: And we have a potential winner! 8+Int skills, good Reflex, and a better BAB than the Incarnate. Plus it works with every alignment in some way. Can't go wrong, ever.

Ranger: Somewhat a mix between Rogue and Fighter. At least the Animal Companion won't suck like it usually does. TWFing or Ranged, your choice. May want Swift Hunter though, and the Wild Shape variant in the SRD is absurdly good for this combo.

Paladin: No.

Soulknife: ...Seriously? Use PsiWar instead. Exception: Soulbow.

Psychic Warrior: Fighter+Psion/2=Awesome. Between your bonus feats, powers, BAB, and Soulmelds, you will be a house of pain. Any alignment works, and there's even Ability Synergy.

Psion: Like Wizard, but Psionic. Nothing else to say here.

Wilder: Meh, a step down from Psion or PsiWar IMO, but it could work. The problem is you can't spare feats for your Incarnate side.

Ardent: A smaller step down from PsiWar than Wilder, but better than the Wilder IMO. The biggest boon is that your manifester level determines how you learn powers, so it works nicely. There's no limit to the number of ways to play this combo, so feel free to mess around. Always take EK: PsiReform though. Also, Customize your Mantles using Mind's Eye

Divine Mind: Eww, no.

Lurk: Many people recommend the Psionic Rogue over this, and I frankly agree. The Psi Rogue is online for free, and is an excellent class (it should be equal to the Rogue, IIRC).

Erudite: Wizard+. Its broken as written both ways, so do you and your DM a favor and don't use it.

Crusader: Flavorful, powerful, and nearly unkillable if built right. A great choice for melee, and Stone Power+Cobalt Power is kinda mean. Incarnate is a natural choice for this. MAD may show up if you focus on Cha-based abilities like Smite, but you can make up for that.

Swordsage: Almost as natural as Druid, and an improvement to everything. Between a massive number of maneuvers known, the best meldshaping abilities in the book, and the freedom to choose whatever feats you want, this is an amazing choice. Totemists like it too.

Warblade: Equal in almost all respects to the Crusader, and the Int focus is more useful than the Cha focus. A bonus to everything that rivals the Swordsage too. Your class features stack with your meldshaping abilities, and you are very versatile. The only problem is the recovery mechanic uses a Swift action, meaning your Incarnate side can't switch essentia around when using it.

Dragonfire Adept: 1) UMD as a class skill. 2) Con-focused. 3) Everything BURNS! Its kinda hard to mess this combo up.

Warlock: Flavorful too, and equal to the DFA if built right. The problem is a questionable ruling on the Strongheart Vest+Hellfire Warlock, but even if it gets denied you still have the best UMD check in the game. And the Sighting Gloves arguably apply to EB due to it being a Ray.

Warmage: One soulmeld boosts your damage, but this is more limited than a Sorcerer. If you think about using this, consider just playing a Sorcerer or Wizard with Focused Specialist instead so you don't get screwed with your spells.

Wu-Jen: Never been partial to them.

Favored Soul: A step down from Cleric, but still very potent.

Spirit Shaman: A step down from Druid, but notable in that it keeps the spell list. If your DM is afraid of your optimization skills, this may be the safer choice. Some feel this is still Tier 1 material.

Shugenja: Its Tier 2, but barely. It got no love, unlike the Wu-Jen. Spirit Shaman is the better choice here.

Totemist: This is a difficult combo to make work due to Soulmeld restrictions, but if you shape them carefully you may be able to pull it off. Ask around CO for help with this, and note that you will be taking Double Chakra a LOT.

Soulborn: Possibly fortunatly, this can't  be done as per RAW. The class is kinda weak anyway; you'd end up being better off with Ranger in the long run.

Incarnate: If only...

Binder: More flavor love, and a class that neatly compliments your versatility. Look into this combo.

Shadowcaster: Kinda good, kinda weak. A step down from Sorcerer in my experience.

Truenamer: Its possible to fix the class using Incarnum, provided you home brew a soulmeld or take the Item Familiar feat and run with it. Not a good combo if you can't.

Hexblade: Use one of the various fixes please. Still, even without them you've got access to Polymorph.

Swashbuckler: Made possible thanks to Daring Outlaw in CS, this is an alternative to Fighter, Ranger, or Warblade.

CW Samurai: Lawful syngery, but sucks. You'd be more focused on Incarnate than this, but could pull it off.

Factotum: A personal favorite class, this is better than the Rogue thanks to its skill selection and class features. You can't possibly suck with this combo unless you tried.

Scout: It honestly works better with Totemist.

Spellthief: A weak class, but if you're in a high-magic campaign and face spellcasters regularly, this+Incarnate=Powerful. Its a step down from Rogue in some ways, but it makes up for it if you are careful.

Ninja: There's a little synergy between the two. Notably, you can make up for this class' inherently weaker Sneak Attack with Incarnum abilities.

Artificer: Hello broken! My name is your best friend. These two classes were practically made for each other. UMD boosters, skill boosters, magic items galore, and abilities abilities abilities. The only problem? Complicated six ways to Sunday. Be prepared to give your DM a headache unless he's intimately familiar with both classes.

Archivist: Its like a Wizard fucked a Cleric and stole the child. Seriously, this class is for you.

Dread Necromancer: Necrocarnum fun, but you don't have to be Evil for this class. Never take it to 20th though, as Lichdom itself screws your Incarnate half.

Beguiler: A mix between Wizard and Rogue. Not the best of both worlds, but good enough to make up for it.

Dragon Shaman: I recommend DFA over this class, but there's nothing stopping you. It can play like a gimped DFA/Tank.

Duskblade: Duskblade is a fusion of the Fighter and Wizard, and Incarnate makes this class really powerful. Consider it strongly. NE+Full BAB=Death.

Knight: Lawful Neutral is manditory, but the class features make up for this. Its a step down from Crusader, but it has abilities unique to it to make up for that. Grab Wild Cohort and you can be the ultimate Paladin.

Other: DMs are strange. They allow the weirdest things from home brew. Look at your options and the list above, and consider where the class he provided you falls. If it stands at least a step down from the class you compare it to, consider trying it out over that class (unless I said no to the class you compared it to or if Alignment is a problem). If its lower than that, don't bother.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2010, 03:07:01 PM by Sinfire Titan » Logged



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« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2010, 05:34:38 PM »

Magic Items

Because no adventurer in their right mind would be caught dead without spending his WBL, here are some useful items for an Incarnate. Note that while you can enjoy your soulmelds nicely, you need actual magic items (or VoP) to remain competent during encounters. I only draw from two sources here, the DMG and the MIC, so there will be a lot of items missed that could be good for you. I'll touch on the important ones in the Builds section, noting where they are from.

DMG: Armor
« Last Edit: January 16, 2010, 05:41:25 PM by Sinfire Titan » Logged



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« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2010, 05:35:45 PM »

Builds

The following are sample builds. While the builds themselves are partially incomplete (skill points need to be spent), this post will highlight what skills are important (and the minimum ranks required for certain options).

To conserve space, all builds are being posted on my Keep and Share account. I will link the downloads (all of them will be in Text format, so anyone with Notepad can open them). An explanation of each build's purpose will be kept here.

NG Melee Tank
This build focuses on high AC, concealment, and other defenses. This build also has a very poor damage output, so only use it in a party where there's a Buffer (such as a Dragonfire Bard, War Weaver, or a White Raven/Devoted Spirit Crusader).

This build also requires a custom Legacy Weapon (since you NEED the Skillful enhancement from CArc). If your DM does not allow Weapons of Legacy or CArc, then consider a different build.

NG Ranged Tank
Virtually identical to the above, but minus the Legacy Weapon and plus Dissolving Spittle. You end up nearly on-par with a moderately optimized Warlock in damage output, but you also have defenses on par with a spellcaster (almost).

NG Caster
This build utilizes UMD and Spell trigger items (do not use Scrolls). While not as effective as an Artificer, you will end up playing like one. You use your soulmelds primarily for defense (along with Incarnum Radiance).

Again, a custom Legacy Item is needed for this build (since you can conserve cash). Also, the Ancestral Relic feat will prove useful if allowed.

While any class can mimic UMD users, the Incarnate excels here because of the Mage's Spectales soulmeld+Expanded Soulmeld Capcity (class feature, not the feat). You end up with a far higher bonus far faster than any other class (except, again, the Artificer). This build is also less complicated than the Artificer if you understand Incarnum, as you don't need to do constant math during level ups.

NE Tank
An AoO-based Tripper build using your Incarnate Weapon and the NE Incarnate's damage boosters.

Plays almost identically to a Fighter with similar feats, but has the advantage of innate buffs and no reliance on other party members.

LN Tank
Utilizing a Charger-style build, but it doesn't make use of PA stacking nearly as heavily (since you lack the feats).

The alternative build cuts out Combat Brute and Shock Trooper, and then uses Incarnum to boost your Attack Bonus into the stratosphere  to compensate. You almost always PA for -10 with this build, since you can always afford to.

LN Caster
Unlike the NG version, this one utilizes Cleric levels and Sapphire Hierarch to be an actual spellcaster. You lack the focus of an Incarnate, but make up for it tenfold with Cleric spellcasting.

There are several alternative builds:
  • a Kobold Sorcerer/Incarnate/Soul Caster, requiring at minimum Greater Rite of Passage (capable of being a contributing member to a Tier 1/2 party).
  • A Wizard version of the above, minus the Kobold cheese (so actually balanced for Tier 2/3).
  • A near-pure Druid entry into Sapphire Hierarch. Favored Soul can replace Druid levels. Not nearly as focused on your Meldshaping, instead opting to gain access to higher level spells (which are superior anyway).
  • A Psionic version using either Psion or Erudite, and then taking Soul Manifester (found online).
  • A Psionic Gish build, using Soul Manifester, Psychic Warrior (or War Mind), and Legacy Champion to gain a decent array of powers and soulmelds.
  • An Eberron-specific Divine Crusader-into-Sapphire Hierarch. Very flavorful, and nearly any Full BAB class can replace the Fighter portions.

LN Skill Monkey
There are two versions of this: A build that is pure Incarnate and utilizes Soulmelds to compensate for CC skills, and a Factotum 3/Incarnate 17 version, which uses the Factotum's natural skill access with a high Int score and Able Learner to be the skill monkey your party needs (one that can defend itself). Rogue can replace Factotum if the latter is not allowed. A third build goes into Chameleon and later Soul Caster.

This build functions similarly to the NG Caster in that you use UMD a lot, but you are more focused on being a skill user than on UMD. This build has a low damage output, so it's best suited to either Gestalt or to parties with a Dragonfire Bard/War Weaver.

CN Archer
While the Chaotic alignment for the Incarnate got a little shafted in the soulmeld department, it's still a solid archer. You utilize straight damage bonuses to your weapon (from Sighting Gloves and Collision all the way up to Splitting) to make yourself a powerhouse sniper, effectively all the way out to 10 range increments (something most Swift Hunters can't do).

This build needs access to Champions of Ruin and a few other abilities. This build also can't make efficient use of Manyshot (it compensates with Travel Devotion, you may wish to consider a Cleric 1 dip for that and Knowledge Devotion). This build is also incredibly feat-intense, and is one of the few Incarnate builds that does not shape the Incarnate Weapon soulmeld (since you need an actual weapon for this).
« Last Edit: June 04, 2011, 07:59:34 PM by Sinfire Titan » Logged



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« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2010, 12:16:09 AM »

Awesome guide.  Here are a few thoughts:

Mauling Gauntlets: Although this is a Soulborn soulmeld, I think that 2 + (2* essentia) to all Str checks is worth the feat investment for Shape Soulmeld if your build relies on Trip, Bull Rush, or Grapple.  In fact, I think it can beat many Psychic Warrior/Expansion builds for battlefield control, especially if your group happens to be playing Pathfinder (which nerfs size bonuses).  

Soulspark Familiar + Share Soulmeld: As you mention in your feats section,  I've met more then one DM that allows you to use your Soulpark Familiar with the Share Soulmeld feat.  If not, you can get a Familiar, Animal Companion, or Special Mount dozens of different ways (I suggest a Familiar, since it shares your hit points).  Regardless of how you get Share Soulmeld to work, it can be ridiculously potent.  Combine with Dissolving Spittle, and you essentially get a shoulder cannon that acts on its own every turn.  Or combine it with a Totemst/Incarnum multiclass build, and you essentially double the number of atacks you make each round.  

Necrocarnum Weapon: When bound to the hand chakra slot, this soulmeld gives you temporary essentia equal to the essentia invested for 10 rounds when you crit (multiple uses don't stack).  I think this is potentially a big deal for mid-high level Incarnum builds, which are always hungry for essentia.  For example, let's say you have 15 essentia, and and this soulmeld has a capacity of 6 points.  You invest 6 points in your Necrocarnum Weapon, and use one or two Keen high crit range weapons until you get a crit.  Now you have 21 points of essentia for the rest of combat, which is a big difference.  Essentially, you're trading a chakra bind for 30%+ more essentia.  In particular, Necrocarnates (who have an expanded essentia capacity for Necrocarnum soulmelds) that are afraid of their piss poor essentia at the start of the day (before they kill things and steal their souls for more essentia) will always want this bound. 

Theft Gloves: As you mention, there’s a great trick here.  If you can hit a high enough DC, Sleight of Hand can be used as a free action.  It can be used to steal any unattended object, such as spell component pouches, holy symbols, quivers, potions, etc.  A really strong option against many different types of enemies.  

Riding Bracers: Buffs Ride and Handle Animal.  The Mounted Combat feat lets you use Ride for your mounts AC once per round, and there are a few PrC out there that let you use it more then once per round, drastically boosting your mount’s suvivability.  Also, there are several items (Amulet of Aberrant Empathy, Pendant of Dragon Empathy) that let you replace Diplomacy with Handle Animal for various types of creatures.  

Sailor's Bracers: Boosts Use Rope.  Justicar can use Use Rope to make Grapple checks.  It’s also a good re-bind option in the middle of the day if your party happens to capture an important NPC you want to keep alive for whatever reason and you don’t want them escaping.  

Mantle of Flame:  Respectably good retributive Fire damage whenever an enemy hits you.  When fighting mooks, boost your DR, hit points, and Fast Healing (Adamant Pauldrans, Vitality Belt, Dragon Mantle, etc). Charge an enemy with Headlong Rush (Races of Faerun) or use a whip or whip dagger at close range – either option will provoke an AoO from your enemy each time you attack.  If possible, get Vampiric Healing, which you can do via a variety of items and psionic powers.  Enemies will kill themselves.  (Note: Do not use this combo against powerful enemies or enemies with attacks that deal conditions, like Daze, Stun, etc).  

Wind Cloak: Binding this and shaping Fellmist Robe essentially make you immune to ranged attacks.  Very potent if your build focuses on ranged attacks.

Dragon Tail (Dragon Magic): Gives you an extra melee attack just for shaping it.  Binding it makes it a reach weapon, which is very handy for melee oriented Incarnates with Standstill or some similar battlefield combo who still want to use their Incarnum Weapon as their primary attack.  


I've got more, but it's late.  Thanks again for writing this.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2010, 12:47:33 PM by Person_Man » Logged
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« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2010, 12:28:45 AM »

Good stuff as usual, Sinfire. I really like the incarnate/artificer gestalt idea. Big Grin Clap Clap Clap
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« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2010, 09:08:38 AM »

Incarnate//Artificer sounds awesome, but it hurts my head. Big Grin
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« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2010, 12:50:48 PM »

You know, the more I read about the Incarnate, the more I'm convinced that they are primarily a very flexible tank class.  Think about the Incarnate's best and most unique soulmelds:

  • Spellward Shirt (unbound): Potentially the best Spell Resistance in the game. 
  • Mantle of Flame (unbound):  Respectably good retributive damage.  The nice thing is that unlike Karmic Strike combos, it doesn't take any actions to use.
    1d6 + 1d6 * essentia Fire damage against enemies every time they hit you.
  • Vitality Belt (unbound): Best bonus hit points in the game. 
  • Wind Cloak (bound to shoulders) 2 + 2 * (essentia) DR against ranged attacks, plus the ability to Deflect Arrows 1 + essentia times per round without needing a free hand.  Since Deflect Arrows works automatically, this soulmeld can pretty much completely negates ranged attacks against you.
  • Flame Cincture (unbound) excellent Fire (the most common energy type) Resistance.  If you bind it to your waist, you also get retributive damage when someone deals Fire damage to you.  (Hint, wade into combat, have a party member cast Fireball in the middle of it).  Depending on your alignment, you potentially also get another form of Energy Resistance from the unbound Planar Chasuble.

You also have easy access to Uncanny Dodge, Evasion, and respectably high AC and Saves.  Put these together with your ability to rebind soulmelds throughout the day (and thus customize your defenses for the encounter as needed) and you've got one of the best tanks in the game.

Now, you can also get access to a variety of Skill, To-Hit, and damage bonuses.  But without multiclassing/PrC, none of them is particularly powerful or unique. And honestly, I'm having a very hard time thinking of things for a pure Incarnate to do offensively.  I'd love your advice on the subject.
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« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2010, 01:38:04 PM »

Now, you can also get access to a variety of Skill, To-Hit, and damage bonuses.  But without multiclassing/PrC, none of them is particularly powerful or unique. And honestly, I'm having a very hard time thinking of things for a pure Incarnate to do offensively.  I'd love your advice on the subject.

Offensively they are like warlocks in many ways, they focus on having okay damage all day long, which gets kind of useless at later levels. But they are amazing at low levels. Incarnates have the lowest level flight, DR, concealment and other really useful ability in the game.
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« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2010, 11:23:33 PM »

I made a 3rd level Azurin LN Incarnate today, after rereading the guide. He will stop around level 5 or 6, but he is going to play like an lieutenant of the undead. So far, I have: Imp. Initiative, Necrocarnum Acolyte, and WF(Longsword) for the incarnum weapon. My melds are: Incarnum Weapon w/2 essentia invested, Incarnum Avatar w/ 2 points of essentia invested, and the Necrocarnum Circlet bound to my crown chakra. Any ideas on what melds or feats I should go with next (I am thinking Undead Leadership for the skeletons, but don't know what melds would go with what I have right now)? I want to play him from the front lines, leading his squad. Available books are: PHB 1 and 2, all of the Completes except Scoundrel (don't have it), MIC, XPH, and of course MOI. Thanks for any tips.
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« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2010, 10:43:06 AM »

I made a 3rd level Azurin LN Incarnate today, after rereading the guide. He will stop around level 5 or 6, but he is going to play like an lieutenant of the undead. So far, I have: Imp. Initiative, Necrocarnum Acolyte, and WF(Longsword) for the incarnum weapon. My melds are: Incarnum Weapon w/2 essentia invested, Incarnum Avatar w/ 2 points of essentia invested, and the Necrocarnum Circlet bound to my crown chakra. Any ideas on what melds or feats I should go with next (I am thinking Undead Leadership for the skeletons, but don't know what melds would go with what I have right now)? I want to play him from the front lines, leading his squad. Available books are: PHB 1 and 2, all of the Completes except Scoundrel (don't have it), MIC, XPH, and of course MOI. Thanks for any tips.

Depends on what you are up against. If spellcasting enemies are expected, shape the Spellward Shirt. If not, vitality Belt should cover your basic needs. Since the character is stopping around 6th level, I recommend taking Shape Soulmeld for an additional meld from the Totemist's list (namely the Blink Shirt). That gives you a powerful tool for the endgame.
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« Reply #15 on: January 20, 2010, 12:42:36 AM »

Thanks Sinfire, I forgot about the ever useful blink shirt lol.
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« Reply #16 on: January 21, 2010, 07:22:49 AM »

Great work once again Sinfire.

I have a question, what do you think about the Soulmeld found here ?

The Astral vanbrace can be nice I think, either to get an ability of feat with the arm bind (Flying and the power attack feat in particular) or the hand bind to gain a secondary natural attack.
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« Reply #17 on: January 21, 2010, 10:41:21 AM »

Great work once again Sinfire.

I have a question, what do you think about the Soulmeld found here ?

The Astral vanbrace can be nice I think, either to get an ability of feat with the arm bind (Flying and the power attack feat in particular) or the hand bind to gain a secondary natural attack.
Also the DR can make you effectively invincible at low levels.
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« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2010, 12:47:04 PM »

Great work once again Sinfire.

I have a question, what do you think about the Soulmeld found here ?

The Astral vanbrace can be nice I think, either to get an ability of feat with the arm bind (Flying and the power attack feat in particular) or the hand bind to gain a secondary natural attack.

Psion's Eyes and Astral Vambraces are amazing (well, the Vambrace loses some goodness after level 5 or so). The Psychic Focus is also decent. The Psion Killer Mask is redundant, as the original version can duplicate it's effects by RAW due to transparency (Soulmelds are considered Magic Items).
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zagan
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« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2010, 01:37:21 PM »

Great work once again Sinfire.

I have a question, what do you think about the Soulmeld found here ?

The Astral vanbrace can be nice I think, either to get an ability of feat with the arm bind (Flying and the power attack feat in particular) or the hand bind to gain a secondary natural attack.

Psion's Eyes and Astral Vambraces are amazing (well, the Vambrace loses some goodness after level 5 or so). The Psychic Focus is also decent. The Psion Killer Mask is redundant, as the original version can duplicate it's effects by RAW due to transparency (Soulmelds are considered Magic Items).

Okay, thanks for your opinion.
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