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.

Totemist

Quarranal Rhiannavar,
a duskling totemist

"Power walks the earth in many forms, but it is the great beast lords that are most willing to share their power with us."

-- Quarranal Rhiannavar, duskling totemist

A mask representing a basilisk, a mantle of the displacer beast, boots of the landshark -- these are the hallmarks of the totemist. You channel the soul energy of magical beasts to make your soulmelds and claim them as your totems to acquire a share in their power.

Making a Totemist

As a totemist, you have close ties to nature similar to those of a druid or ranger, but your power is drawn from incarnum rather than divine magic. Your soulmelds primarily serve to give you new capabilities in combat, mostly new melee attack forms. Several soulmelds increase your defenses and a few improve your ranged attacks, but in general you belong in the front lines of combat, slashing your opponents with displacer beast tentacles before teleporting away like a blink dog.

Abilities: Like all meldshapers, your Constitution score determines how many soulmelds you can have shaped at once; it also sets the saving throw DC for your soulmelds that allow saves. A high Constitution score also increases your hit points, which is important in combat. Since you are likely to engage in melee frequently, a high Strength score is important to improve your attacks, while a high Dexterity increases your Armor Class.

Races: Within all races, the groups most likely to produce totemists are those with relatively close ties to nature, who live by hunting and gathering or slash-and-burn farming rather than extensive agriculture. Dusklings are often totemists. Wood and wild elves also have a strong totemist tradition, and some groups of humans produce totemists as well. Only the wildest groups of halflings and gnomes include totemists, and this class is virtually unknown among dwarves. Half-orcs and members of the savage humanoid races are occasionally totemists as well.

Alignment: Totemists can be of any alignment. Many gravitate toward neutrality like the magical beasts they revere, while others adopt more extreme alignments -- the lawful good of blink dogs and lammasus, the chaotic good of pegasi and unicorns, the lawful evil of displacer beasts, or the chaotic evil of chimeras and lamias.

Starting Gold: 2d4×10 gp (50 gp).

Starting Age: As druid.

Class Features

Like the incarnate, your primary class ability is meldshaping. You have your own distinct soulmeld list, however, and the ability to bind soulmelds to a unique chakra -- your totem chakra. You gain special abilities related to your totem chakra, particularly the ability to quickly switch which soulmeld is bound to it.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: You are proficient with all simple weapons, with light armor, and with shields (except tower shields).

Meldshaping: A totemist's primary ability is shaping incarnum soulmelds, which are drawn from the Totemist soulmeld list (page 58). You know and can shape any soulmeld from this list. Unlike the aligned forces of an incarnate's melds, your soulmelds channel the bestial spirits of nature.

The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a Totemist soulmeld is 10 + number of points of essentia invested in the soulmeld + your Constitution modifier. Your meldshaper level is equal to your totemist level.

A totemist can shape only a certain number of soulmelds per day. Your base daily allotment is given on Table 2-4:

Table 2-4: The Totemist Hit Die: d8

Level Base
Attack

Bonus
Fort
Save
Ref
Save
Will
Save
Special -------Meldshaping-------
Soulmelds Essentia Chakra
Binds
1st +0 +2 +2 +0 Wild empathy, illiteracy 2 1 0
2nd +1 +3 +3 +0 Totem chakra bind (+1 capacity) 3 2 1
3rd +2 +3 +3 +1 Totem's protection 3 2 1
4th +3 +4 +4 +1 -- 4 3 1
5th +3 +4 +4 +1 Chakra binds (crown, feet, hands) 4 3 1
6th +4 +5 +5 +2 Totem chakra bind (+1 meldshaper level) 4 4 2
7th +5 +5 +5 +2 -- 5 5 2
8th +6/+1 +6 +6 +2 Rebind totem soulmeld 1/day 5 5 2
9th +6/+1 +6 +6 +3 Chakra binds (arms, brow, shoulders) 5 6 2
10th +7/+2 +7 +7 +3 -- 6 7 3
11th +8/+3 +7 +7 +3 Totem chakra bind (double bind) 6 8 3
12th +9/+4 +8 +8 +4 Rebind totem soulmeld 2/day 6 9 3
13th +9/+4 +8 +8 +4 -- 7 10 3
14th +10/+5 +9 +9 +4 Chakra binds (throat, waist) 7 11 4
15th +11/+6/+1 +9 +9 +5 Totem chakra bind (+2 capacity) 7 12 4
16th +12/+7/+2 +10 +10 +5 Rebind totem soulmeld 3/day 8 13 4
17th +12/+7/+2 +10 +10 +5 Chakra bind (heart) 8 14 4
18th +13/+8/+3 +11 +11 +6 -- 8 16 5
19th +14/+9/+4 +11 +11 +6 -- 9 18 5
20th +15/+10/+5 +12 +12 +6 Totem embodiment, rebind totem soulmeld 4/day 9 20 5

Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level, x4 at 1st level): Concentration, Craft, Handle Animal, Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (nature), Knowledge (the planes), Listen, Profession, Ride, Spellcraft, Spot, Survival, Swim.

The Totemist. The maximum number of soulmelds that you can have shaped simultaneously is equal to your Constitution score minus 10 or the number of soulmelds on the table, whichever is lower. At 1st level, you can shape two soulmelds at a time (assuming you have a Constitution score of at least 12). As you advance in level, you can shape an increasing number of soulmelds.

At 1st level, you also gain access to your personal pool of essentia, which can be invested into your soulmelds to increase their power. Your essentia pool's size is shown on Table 2-4: The Totemist. Your character level, as noted on Table 2-1: Essentia Capacity, determines the maximum quantity of essentia that you can invest in any single soulmeld. As a swift action, you can reallocate your essentia investments in your soulmelds every round (see Essentia, page 50).

A totemist does not study or prepare soulmelds in advance, but must have a good night's rest and must meditate for 1 hour to shape his soulmelds for the day (see Shaping Soulmelds, page 49).

Chakra Binds: Beginning at 2nd level, you can bind your soulmelds to your chakras, granting you new powers based on the soulmeld and the chakra chosen. Binding a soulmeld to a chakra closes the body slot associated with that chakra (see Chakras, page 50), so that you cannot also benefit from a magic item worn on the body slot associated with that chakra.

The number of chakra binds that you can have active at any one time depends on your level (see the Chakra Binds column on Table 2-4: The Totemist). At 2nd level, you can bind a soulmeld to your totem chakra (see below). Beginning at 5th level, you can bind soulmelds to your crown, feet, or hands chakras. At 9th level, you can bind soulmelds to your arms, brow, or shoulders chakras. At 14th level, you can bind soulmelds to your throat or waist chakras. At 17th level, you can bind a soulmeld to your heart chakra. You never gain the ability to bind a soulmeld to your soul chakra.

For more information on chakra binds, see page 51.

Totem Chakra Bind: At 2nd level, you gain access to a unique chakra: the totem chakra. This chakra is not associated with any location on the body, but rather represents your connection to the wild soul energy of nature, embodied in the magical beasts of the world. When you bind a soulmeld to your totem chakra, you take on characteristics of the creature represented by the meld -- usually involving a limited physical transformation. Since the totem chakra doesn't match a body location, binding a soulmeld to this chakra doesn't restrict your use of magic items that take up a body location.

Any soulmeld bound to your totem chakra has an essentia capacity 1 higher than the normal capacity for your soulmelds. For example, a 2nd-level totemist can invest up to 2 points of essentia in any soulmeld bound to his totem chakra bind (rather than the normal limit of 1 point of essentia). At 15th level, the capacity of any soulmeld bound to your totem chakra increases by an additional point (meaning that a 15th-level totemist could invest up to 5 points of essentia in that soulmeld).

At 6th level, the effective meldshaper level of a soulmeld you have bound to your totem chakra is equal to your actual meldshaper level +1. The primary effect of this benefit is to make that soulmeld harder to unshape.

At 11th level, you gain the ability to bind a single soulmeld to your totem chakra and to another chakra at the same time. You gain the special benefits of both chakra binds.

Wild Empathy (Ex): As the druid class ability; see page 35 of the Player's Handbook. You gain a +4 bonus on wild empathy checks made to influence the reactions of magical beasts of the same kind as the beast associated with the soulmeld bound to your totem chakra. Thus, if you have a basilisk mask bound to your totem chakra, you gain the bonus on checks made to influence basilisks.

Illiteracy: Like barbarians, totemists do not begin the game knowing how to read and write. You can spend 2 skill points to gain the ability to read and write all languages you are able to speak.

If you gain a level in any other class (except barbarian), you automatically gain literacy. A barbarian who gains a totemist level remains illiterate. Any other character who gains a totemist level does not lose the literacy he or she already had.

Totem's Protection (Ex): At 3rd level, you gain a +4 bonus on saving throws against the supernatural abilities of magical beasts.

Rebind Totem Soulmeld (Su): As your link to your totem chakra strengthens, you learn to shift the ties that bind your soulmelds. Starting at 8th level, once per day you can unbind a soulmeld from your totem chakra and bind a different meld to that chakra, as long as the new meld is one you already have shaped. This requires a full-round action and provokes attacks of opportunity.

You can use this ability one additional time for every four levels gained above 8th (2/day at 12th level, 3/day at 16th, and 4/day at 20th).

Totem Embodiment (Su): At 20th level, you gain the ability to temporarily link your body and soul to your totem chakra. This greatly enhances the power of essentia invested in soulmelds bound to that chakra. For the duration of this ability, your normal essentia capacity of any soulmeld bound to your totem chakra is doubled. Every point of essentia invested in a soulmeld bound to your totem chakra counts as 2 points of essentia.

Activating this ability is a free action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity. It can be used once per day and lasts for a number of minutes equal to your Constitution bonus (minimum 1).

Playing a Totemist

As a totemist, you most likely come from a culture that might be considered primitive by other peoples. You spent at least the early years of your life far more concerned with finding food and shelter than with formal education. You probably still think of the most basic needs before less essential desires, such as gaining treasure or taking revenge. Those are luxuries. It might be a personal goal of yours to reach a position in your life where you can afford luxuries, but in the meantime you function at a more basic level.

What are you doing in the towns and cities of civilized society? What has brought you from your home in the wilderness regions of the world? Why have you chosen to keep company with adventurers, and why these particular companions? Answering these questions will give an important handle on your character. Perhaps you have been banished from your people and taken up a life of adventure because it is the only way you can come close to fitting in to civilized society. Perhaps your elders sent you on a quest and you hope your adventuring companions can help you accomplish it.

Religion: Most totemists worship the spirits of magical beasts, invoking them through prayers even as they bind their power into their soulmelds. A few have adopted the worship of Obad-Hai or a similar nature deity, believing that he has authority over all nature spirits. A handful of others worship Kord or Erythnul because their people revere these gods.

Other Classes: Totemists relate well to barbarians and, to a somewhat lesser extent, to druids. In general, they gladly accept the company of any character who accepts them, rarely making quick judgments of any individual based on class. Incarnates and soulborns recognize that the techniques of totemists are related to their own, but vary in their responses to totemists. Incarnates in particular look down on totemists as savages who don't understand the correct use of incarnum, but most other meldshapers are intrigued by the uses to which totemists put incarnum and eagerly discuss their different thoughts and techniques.

Combat: Standing strictly on the basics (Hit Die, attack bonus, weapon and armor proficiency), you're a fair melee combatant comparable to a cleric. Your soulmelds expand your combat capabilities, however, making a position in the front lines of battle even more viable. You have a good mix of attack-enhancing soulmelds and those more focused on defense. With the right soulmelds in place, you can attack effectively without a weapon and stand up in melee without armor.

You also have a wide variety of special abilities to choose from. Do you want to roar like a dragonne, spit acid like an ankheg, trill like a frost worm, scare your enemies like a krenshar, petrify them like a basilisk, or grapple them like a girallon? Do you want to blink like a blink dog, be displaced like a displacer beast, phase like a phase spider, or fly like a pegasus? The special attacks and defenses you choose should give you plenty to do in any combat while ideally complementing the capabilities of your allies.

Advancement: Most totemists declare that they did not choose their career -- it chose them. You might have had a momentous encounter with a magical beast in the wild in your youth, one that left you close to death or simply feeling called. It might have been your community that recognized something in you and thrust the role of a totemist on you.

Your initial training in the class probably consisted of a long period spent alone in the wilderness, fasting and communing with nature spirits to learn their secrets and invoke their blessings. After emerging from that retreat, you learned to form incarnum into your soulmelds.

Like the incarnate, you have a large variety of options available to you in your soulmelds. You have access to a long list of soulmelds from the start of your career. Some totemists identify strongly with a specific magical beast and prefer to bind a related soulmeld to their soul chakra, or they focus on a small number of soulmelds they frequently bind to that chakra. Others prefer to remain completely flexible in their soulmeld choices, using the rapid rebinding ability to quickly bind different soulmelds to their totem chakras.

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