Excerpts 09/07/2005


Magic of Incarnum Excerpt
By James Wyatt, Frank Brunner, Stephen Schubert



A whole new system awaits you in the Magic of Incarnum D&D supplement. With this book, player characters can meld incarnum -- the power of souls living, dead, and unborn -- into magic items and even their own bodies, granting them special attacks, defenses, and other abilities (much as magic items and spells do). Incarnum can be shaped and reshaped into new forms, giving characters tremendous versatility in the dungeon and on any battlefield. This book also features new classes, prestige classes, feats, and other options for characters wishing to explore the secrets of incarnum, as well as rules and advice for including incarnum in a D&D campaign. The excerpts below include information on a new race called dusklings, the totemist class, the lammasu mantle, sphinx claws, the spell conjure midnight construct, and monster statistics for necrocarnum zombies.

Dusklings

"Use incarnum? I am incarnum."

-- Chevaril, duskling ranger

Dusklings

Dusklings are small but savage fey native to the Outer Planes. They boast of an innate connection to incarnum that no other race possesses -- as a dryad is one with her tree, they claim, the duskling race is one with incarnum.

Duskling Racial Traits

Dusklings stand about as tall as elves, though they are far more robust. They average about 5 feet tall and about 120 pounds. Their skin is steely blue-gray and their hair ranges from light blue to darker shades of blue, gray, and black. Their eyes are deep blue, emerald green, or purple. They have a wild, feral look about them -- their hair grows long and unkempt, and their faces are long and somewhat vulpine. The men grow long, full beards.

  • +2 Constitution, -2 Intelligence: The duskling race's innate connection to incarnum grants them extraordinary health. Dusklings disdain strict education and learning, though no one is certain whether this is a cause or result of their slightly diminished reasoning capacity.

  • Duskling base speed is 30 feet. However, a duskling can invest essentia to improve this speed. For every point of essentia invested in this racial trait, the duskling's speed improves by 5 feet. (See Essentia, page 50, for information about investing essentia.) This enhancement bonus applies only when the duskling is wearing light or no armor and carrying no more than a light load.

  • Fey (Extraplanar): As fey, dusklings are immune to effects that specifically target humanoids, such as the charm person spell. As natives of an Outer Plane, dusklings have the extraplanar subtype while they are on the Material Plane (or any other plane besides the dusklings' home plane). This makes them vulnerable to certain effects that might force them back to their home plane. See the Duskling Planar Heritage sidebar for more details.

  • Fey (Incarnum): Dusklings are fey with the incarnum subtype (see page 169).

  • Low-Light Vision: Dusklings can see twice as far as humans in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. They retain the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.

  • Essentia Pool: A duskling's essentia pool is permanently increased by 1. If she doesn't have an essentia pool, this trait grants her one with a single point of essentia.

  • Automatic Languages: Common and Sylvan. Bonus Languages: Elf, Gnoll, Gnome, Goblin, and Halfling.

  • Favored Class: Totemist.

Duskling Society

Dusklings are tribal fey who dwell throughout the planes. They travel in small bands but carefully keep track of their family relations even to distant cousins.

Alignment: Dusklings hold alignments without strong extremes. Most dusklings are neutral (or within one step of neutral). They have a slight tendency toward good over evil, but their defining cultural characteristic involves avoiding extremes of morals and ethics.

Lands: Dusklings are nomads -- not because they follow herds on seasonal migrations, but simply because they seem incapable of settling in a fixed location. They favor thick forests in warm climes, but wander through plains, hills, and mountains on their endless travels. They avoid civilized or heavily populated regions, but trade with frontier settlements established by other races.

Settlements: Dusklings set up camps for a week or perhaps a month at a time, very rarely as long as a season, before moving on to a new location. These camps might include tents built from whatever materials are at hand, but just as often the dusklings sleep and conduct their daily business in the open air.

Power Groups: Dusklings (even lawful ones) resist strong authority. Their society is based around clan groups of ten to fifty individuals who share family ties, with the oldest living ancestor governing each group. When that elder dies, the clan splits and each fragment is led by one of the former leader's children. The authority of a clan elder is far from absolute. Every duskling with a grandchild sits on a council of elders whose purpose is to advise the ruling elder. In practice, this council can overrule the ruling elder's decisions in some clans but not in others.

Beliefs: Dusklings are not a particularly religious race. They feel a close connection with the power of nature and produce more druids than clerics.

Relations: Dusklings get along well with almost any other race, though specific relations vary based on the duskling's alignment. They dislike anyone who is rigid, authoritarian, or dogmatic, a description that includes most skarns, many dwarves, and a fair number of humans as well.

Duskling Characters

Dusklings prove themselves as fast, fierce characters whose speed lets them keep out of sight -- or at least out of reach. Ranger and rogue are obvious class choices. Of the melding classes, totemists are the most common, though incarnates are also present; both classes exemplify the ideals the race holds dear.

Adventuring Dusklings: Dusklings value family ties enormously; a duskling without family feels cut off from everything she holds dear. Such dusklings -- whether orphaned or exiled -- often take up a life of adventuring. The close camaraderie of an adventuring party can serve as an acceptable substitute for family ties, and a duskling who adopts her adventuring companions as a surrogate family is the most loyal ally her fellow adventurers could hope for.

Other dusklings manifest the racial tendency toward wanderlust in an extreme fashion and find even the loose bonds of family and clan too restrictive. These dusklings become adventuresome loners, or perhaps find company with similarly independent souls. These adventurers are motivated by nothing more than the need to be on the move and free from any kind of ties, and they view even their adventuring companions as temporary allies rather than lifelong friends.

As a race, dusklings are ambivalent about adventurers. On the one hand, their folklore is full of heroes who, cut off from family, perform heroic deeds and come to find a new family (usually a long-lost group of duskling relatives, in contrast to the reality of adventuring life). Dusklings truly admire these heroes of legend and hold at least a grudging respect for present-day adventurers whose stories mimic theirs to some extent. On the other hand, most dusklings are so terrified at the very thought of losing their families that they can feel little but pity for adventurers who find themselves cut off from even the minimal social structure the race possesses.

Character Development: Dusklings use feats to take advantage of their speed and high hit points. Incarnum feats not only give them another place to invest their essentia, but more essentia as well. Since a duskling's Intelligence is likely low, she should decide early on whether or not skill use is important. If it isn't, she can focus on classes with few skill points, staying competent in only one or two skills. Otherwise, she should focus on high-skill-point classes, trusting to the sheer number of skill points per level to disguise this shortcoming.

Character Names: Duskling names are similar to those of elves -- mellifluous and polysyllabic. Duskling parents name their children, choosing names that reflect some significant event around their birth. Dusklings are more proud of their family names than their given names, frequently using their family names when dealing with other races. Like elf family names, duskling family names are combinations of Sylvan words, though dusklings are less likely than elves to use Common translations of their names among other races.

Male Names: Avandar, Chevaril, Estevial, Farandal, Horathiel, Javarral, Manarro, Photastial, Quarranal, Rhomian, Starronal.

Female Names: Athalia, Brellia, Darandia, Geveryn, Ialannah, Kavanyn, Levesha, Maneryn, Phyannah, Shavallah, Thyrnyn.

Family Names: Avarmathan, Briendarkan, Devishamarral, Fierabrazalan, Heloshartha, Lysseldevar, Merricanath, Oshavalari, Rhiannivar, Shellivathan, Touranisha.

Roleplaying a Duskling

Dusklings can seem paradoxical: they hate restrictions but value family ties, reject authority but hold fierce loyalties. The key to roleplaying a duskling is to acknowledge only those ties and obligations that the duskling chooses to accept. They rebel against anyone who tries to make them follow and obey, but if a duskling swears to follow and defend a companion, she will give up her life to fulfill that oath if need be.

Personality: Dusklings are best described as wild. They feel emotion fiercely, and rarely hide their feelings -- they like to make sure their loved ones feel loved and their enemies know the depth of their hatred. They dislike confinement, whether it is physical, emotional, or legal, and have a hard time staying in one place for long.

Roleplaying Application: Unless a situation demands tact, make it clear what you are thinking and feeling. In situations where being too forthright could jeopardize your mission, it's easiest to stay out of the conversation entirely -- stand away on guard or just staring out the window. Your adventuring companions, at least, should never hold any doubt about what you think of them. Fight with feral intensity -- you could even punctuate your attack rolls with growls or insults directed at your opponents. Should you find yourself captive, pace your cell or jangle your chains. Stand up to bullies and tyrants and don't take orders from anyone unless you've promised to.

Behavior: Dusklings are either moving or still. They move quickly and purposefully from one place to another, and stand very still when they reach where they want to go. The exception is when they feel confined -- trapped dusklings pace and fidget in stark contrast to their usual stillness. Dusklings are more comfortable with their feet than most other races are. Dusklings do not consider it rude to prop their feet up on chairs or tables, while others hide their feet away. They enjoy going barefoot when it is practical. Duskling lovers exchange anklets as tokens of their love and massage each other's feet as an expression of affection.

Roleplaying Application: To the extent that it's possible and practical, avoid heavy armor and items that encumber you -- make the most of your speed. Don't wander, even in combat. Move to where you want to be and stay there as long as possible.

Language: Dusklings use few words but spit them out in a rapid-fire stream. They are not reluctant to offer opinions and contribute to debates, but speak their piece succinctly and then quietly allow others to speak theirs. Though they speak Sylvan, they make use of idioms that other Sylvan speakers do not necessarily understand and that sound even stranger when translated literally into Common. Favorite duskling idioms include "Let's cut these chains" (let's start moving, let's get out of here), "I turned it blue" (I changed my mind), and "You smelted him" (you hurt him badly, you mortally wounded him).

Roleplaying Application: Speak quickly and succinctly. Pepper your speech with unfamiliar idioms and aphorisms.

Duskling Adventures

Adventures involving dusklings might include an entire family facing some external threat, rescuing dusklings who are in captivity, or a conflict caused by humans (or some other race) settling wild territory frequented by dusklings.

  • Members of a PC duskling's family have been captured by goblins or orcs and are being held as slaves. The PC drafts her adventuring companions to help her free them.

  • A group of araneas have built a nest in the heart of a forest inhabited by dusklings and are preying on the fey. The dusklings seek help combating the araneas.

  • A human village experiences rapid growth and begins clearing much of the surrounding forest for farmland. The dusklings who inhabit the forest begin attacking the human loggers. The humans seek protection from these attacks, while the dusklings want their territory preserved.

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