View Full Version : 3.5- Need a Totemist...

2009-02-05, 08:02 PM
So, I'm probably going to be joining up with in 3.5 game and am trying to figure out what to be, here's some info on the group...

"A little about that game; it is about 75% encounter based, can be any race with no more than a level 4 adjustment, we currently have a Catfolk Ninja, Orc Knight, Half-Giant Dragon Shaman, Dwarf Cleric, and a Drow Wizard. Alignments are any Neutral or Good, and we are 9th level."

I figure since they seem so terribly unoptimized, I'm not really worrying about being anything totally absurd. I figure Totemist will let me have a decent amount of versatility in addition to slicing things up in melee, while still not overshadowing the party. But... what race should I be and what soulmelds should I take? Should I go straight totemist or add in barbarian so I can take totem rager?

Fax Celestis
2009-02-05, 08:22 PM
Anything that starts with natural attacks (shifter at ECL 0, lycanthropes ranging between ECL 2 and 5, lizardfolk at ECL 3, jaebrin at ECL 1...) make great Totemists, particularly those with Con bonuses--this way, you can spend your melds on the more exotic forms of natural attacks while still retaining claw/claw/bite. Viletooth Lizardfolk, despite being 2 RHD + 1 LA, make good Totemists for their +Con, claw/claw/bite (with acid), and various other little bits (like dragonblood, which lets you qualify for feats like Draconic Tail for another natural attack).

Binds? Consider dropping a feat on Shape Soulmeld (Thunderstep Boots), particularly if you're going to go with a Sphinx-Claws-pouncer-type totemist. Urskan Greaves may be similar, but the Thunderstep Boots carry a stun effect, which is glorious. Also consider Sphinx Claws (pounce), Girallon Arms (4 claw attacks), Totem Avatar (power-attack lite), and Wormtail Belt (natural armor). If you really feel like it, you can drop a feat on Shape Soulmeld (Astral Vambraces (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/psm/20060217a)), which give you DR 2+2e/magic (which has the side effect of making your attacks count as magic) and also give two slams when bound.

Since you don't list an ECL, I'll give what I'd run with:

Razorclaw Shifter Totemist X, taking Shape Soulmeld (Thunderstep Boots), Extra Shifter Trait (Longtooth), and Multiattack. I'd bind Sphinx Claws and Thunderstep Boots, possibly also Blink Shirt or Phase Cloak to my totem.

Totem Rager is neat, but...well, you can get pretty much the same effect from just going Totemist.

2009-02-06, 04:10 AM
The real reason Totem Rager is so good is because you'll probably want to dip Barbarian for Pounce anyways to save a soulmeld and then you already qualify.

That said, in addition to the mentioned races, any of the Incarnum-races is good; the extra essentia is handy. Azurin and Skarn are both fine, although Azurin lacks natural weapons. A two-level Monk-dip gets you Full Unarmed > Secondary Naturals routine. Warforged are a fine race too, especially since you can pick up Second Slam later on.

2009-02-06, 04:58 AM
Totemist/Barbarian is quite a potent combination, consider this:
Human (or other race with Barbarian/Totemist as favored class) Totemist 4/Barbarian 2/Totem Rager 10/Bear Warrior 1/Warshaper 2/Horizon Walker 1 (not in that order), +12 Str, +2 Dex, +8 Con when raging 13th level soulmeld capabilities. Pounce, natural bite, claw/claw. If you're more interested in the "rage" capabilities, you could swap some of the Totem Rager levels for Frenzied Berserker ones.

Edit: Vow of Poverty also works quite well.

2009-02-06, 04:07 PM
But... what race should I be and what soulmelds should I take? Should I go straight totemist or add in barbarian so I can take totem rager?

Totemist 20 is probably going to be stronger than any multiclass build, even with barbarian.

For an interesting number of natural attacks... start with an Elan (XPH). Max out UMD and buy a wand of Alter Self or convince the Drow Wizard to make you a bunch of Alter Self potions. Once you reach ECL 4, you can Alter Self into a Tako (Oriental Adventures p. 193). You now have 8 natural attacks (with multidexterity mind you) on top of any other natural attacks you might have.

If that's not your cup of tea, here's four Totemist builds from the CO boards:


If none of those strikes your fancy, then Azurin is probably the best race to start with because of the bonus feat. Skarn might also be good for a totemist, since they can use their spines for one additional offhand attack. Since Con is so important for Meldshaping, consider adding the Arctic template from Dragon #306: +2 Con / -2 Cha and zero Level Adjustment.

Dragonborn of Bahumat could also give you +2 Con / -2 Dex, but it also removes most racial abilities, including bonus feats, so it's not a good option for Azurin, Human, or Skarn. But it could be great for Elan, Neraph, or Mongrelfolk. An Arctic Dragonborn Mongrelfolk would have a whopping +8 Con bonus with zero Level Adjustment (and ok, -2 Int, -2 Dex, and -6 Cha... Pretty may trump Ugly, but Ugly trumps Dead).

A Warforged with a Battlefist is also quite tempting...

There are extra draconic soulmelds in Dragon Magic (you'll need to be dragonblooded to use them). There are also three Totemist soulmelds in Dragon #350, although Chaos Roc's Span is the only one worth picking up. It adds two wing buffet secondary natural attacks that do nonlethal damage, although you can bind it to your shoulders to do lethal damage.

You don't start with a lot of binds, so consider taking Open Least Chakra at ECL 6, Open Lesser Chakra at ECL 12, and Open Greater Chakra at ECL 18.

Some of the more optimal soulmelds:
Girallon Arms (totem) = 1 primary claw attack, 3 secondary claw attacks
Lamia Belt (totem) = 2 secondary claw attacks (in addition to the four from Girallon Arms, and you can bind both to your totem chakra at ECL 9 with the Double Chakra feat)
Chaos Roc's Span (shoulders) = 2 secondary wing buffet attacks
Sphynx Claws (hands) = pounce with natural weapons
Thunderstep Boots (feet) = free sonic damage on top of a charge, plus a chance to stun is too good to pass up.
Totem Avatar (shoulders) = increases natural weapon damage up one size category. Take this if you can't get ahold of Chaos Roc's Span or if you want to take Double Chakra again for your shoulders.
Dread Carapace (arms) = doubles crit range for natural weapons.

For your other chakras:
Threefold Mask of the Chimera (crown) = can't be flanked, extra move action
Yrthak Mask (brow) = blindsense as move action
Ankheg Breastplate (throat) = +2 natural armor bonus, spit acid attack
Manticore Belt (waist) = fly 10/essentia, clumsy maneuverability but you get flyby attack
Blink Shirt (heart) = dimension door or blink as a standard action