View Full Version : [4e] Incarnum in 4.0 (Possible Project)

2008-06-18, 12:15 AM
I was thinking about Incarnum today, and how cool an idea it was. It didn't really catch on, and it wasn't amazing, but it was such a good idea. Something new and differant and not like every other game out there. So I wondered: Is it possible to do well in 4th Edition? I really doubt they'll be releasing an official book, considering the unpopularity of the original, so I'm taking it on myself to figure out how to do it.

So a few ideas and thoughts I've had so far:

Class roles would probably have Incarnate as a Controller (secondary Leader), Soulborn as a Defender (secondary Controller), and Totemist as a Striker (maybe secondary Defender?). Considering possibly adding a fourth class as a primary Leader.

Soulmelds would make up most of their powers. They would have the ability to prepare melds, like wizards do spells now, but I'm not sure exactly how this would work. It would be nice if they could prepare at-will powers, and maybe based on that selection, they could pick their others? Maybe they would prepare all powers, including encounter, at the start of the day. They wouldn't have an allotted amount so much as they would get to reselect the pwoers of each level. They couldn't have say two powers of their highest power level shaped at once.

I'm not sure how essentia should play in. Most likely just a class feature that they could invest it in at-will powers or other class features as a standard action or something.

Overall, meldshapers would be much more versatile than other classes, being able to reselect their powers and reallocate essentia, but would potentially be less directly powerful in their main role, relying more on their ability to adapt in order to gain the advantage against enemies.

Anyone interested in helping out or throwing some ideas around?

2008-06-18, 06:51 PM
I wholeheartedly support this.

For one thing, why not have the soulmelds act as items that grant different powers. Also, instead of having increasing levels of powers, make the chakra binds dictate the level. For example, you usually gain one utility power at level 10. Instead, level 10 is when you get access to a new chakra, making some of the soulmelds give you different, higher-level powers if you bind them to the new chakra. I hope that makes sense...

EDIT: Or rather, when it says you can replace a power is when you should get access to new chakras. When it tells you to gain a power should be when you get more soulmelds.

I don't have any idea what to do about essentia, though. I'll keep thinking and come back once I do.

2008-06-18, 09:51 PM
My current plan is to make soulmelds and utility soul melds instead of encounter and utility powers, and have chakra binds for daily powers (7 chakras, 7 differant levels of daily powers).

I also think maybe doing something like a spellbook for soulmelds would be good. You pick 2-3 soulmelds each time you would normally get an encounter/utility power, and then aach full rest you reshape them from your list.

Characters would be allowed to pick any soulmeld or utility soulmeld at any level, and at higher levels, after a full rest, they could invest essentia in order to make some melds better.

For example, at level 7, you would have 3 soulmelds, 2 utility soulmelds, 2 chakra binds (Root and Sacral*), and some amount of esentia. So you shape your 5 soulmelds, and then from those 5, you pick 2 to bind, one to Root and one to Sacral, and then you invest your essentia, bringing one normal soulmeld to the equivalent of a level 3 encounter power and one to the equivalent of a level 7, then bringing one utility soulmeld to the equivalent of a level 6 utility power.

I'm not sure how essentia allotment should work such that its not overpowered (invest everything into a couple soulmelds, or take all your essentia and put it into encounter powers instead of utilities).

*I'm using real chakras, not the ones in the original Incarnum

2008-06-18, 10:57 PM
But what about at-wills? Doesn't there have to be a way to handle those?

2008-06-18, 11:33 PM
Incarnates and Soulborn will probably just have at-will powers like other classes. Totemists will have one at-will power as normal, and then have a totem chakra that they can bind any soulmeld to, even if its bound to another chakra, which will provide them with their second at-will power for that day.

Another option instead of normal at-wills is to have minor soulmelds, of which you can have one shaped per at-will you're entitled.

Also, some soulmelds and/or chakra binds, especially utilities, will provide at-will abilities, like the rogue's Chameleon, Nimble Climb, and Shadow Stride powers.

2008-06-20, 06:53 PM
I've completed the first draft of the Incarnate class features and at-will powers. No build option stuff yet, so that's just blank. Here's a link to the PDF so far:

Incarnum 4th Edition (http://www.edanet.com/goober/Incarnum4e.pdf)

2008-06-23, 11:21 PM
I've updated to have a couple soulmelds, the Incarnate class features are done except for suggested soulmelds for the builds, the racial statistics for Azurin, and an intro.

Anyone interested in helping out with this?

2008-06-24, 12:14 AM
I'm helping, but I've got a few other projects on my hands right now. Working on the other races, but have very few ideas for Rilkan racial features

2008-06-24, 01:06 AM
So some race ideas:

Dusklings: +2 Con, +2 Wis, probably an encounter power that increases speed or allows them to shift some number of quares as a minor action. Fey type and low-light vision.

Rilkan: +2 Dex, +2 Cha, +2 to Bluff and Diplomacy, as well as some bonus to all skill checks made for Lore, or maybe just a flat +2 to Arcana, History, and Religion, or something similar to Bardic Knowledge. When flanking, they grant allies that flank with them a +1 bonus to attack the flanked target. Perhaps 7 base movement?

Skarn: +2 Str, +2 Int, +2 to Athletics and Intimidate. Natural weapons (statistically similar to short swords, but +2 proficiency bonus, maybe?). Perhaps a bonus to Will defense because they're proud.

More on classes:

Soulborn will have combat soulmelds and utility soulmelds just as incarnates do, but will have daily channels in place of chakra binds. They will use their chakras to directly channel incarnum, rather than to bind soulmelds.

Totemists will have combat soulmelds, but will have utility channels instead of soulmelds. They will also have "primal soulmelds" in place of chakra binds/daily powers. All of their soulmelds (combat and primal) will be able to be bound to their totem. Up to two will be able to be bound at a time, giving them their two at-will powers. Since they'll start with one combat and one primal soulmeld, they'll have enough to fill out both at-wills at first level. There will have to be some special rule for humans though. Perhaps some other at-will power that only humans get. Or until level 3, they can bind an unshaped soulmeld to their totem, gaining only the totem bind abilities.

2008-06-24, 01:40 AM
Rilkan: +2 Dex, +2 Cha, +2 to Bluff and Diplomacy, as well as some bonus to all skill checks made for Lore, or maybe just a flat +2 to Arcana, History, and Religion, or something similar to Bardic Knowledge. When flanking, they grant allies that flank with them a +1 bonus to attack the flanked target. Perhaps 7 base movement?
I had the skill bonuses as +1 to every knowledge skill. There's five of them, so that's a net +5 bonus compared with other races' net +4. The Magic of Incarnum book explained them as having a special connection to every other Rilkan through some Incarnum link, so one of the perks was that they received benefits when working with another Rilkan. Problem with this is that it would rarely be used since most people try to have some diversity in their group (humans being the exception). Maybe a change in flavor is in order? Instead of making their connection limited to only Rilkans, what if they were all linked, through Incarnum, to the Akashic Field? It could be flavored as the knowledge gathered by all the souls that make up Incarnum. Rilkan are the only ones who can access the knowledge easily, but it is connected to every other being, so a Rilkan has limited influence on his/her allies and can help them with various tasks. I can see a few racial feats or even a racial paragon path expand on these concepts and it would provide Rilkans with some synergy for "leader" roles which, coincidentally, is what you have the incarnate as (half-) being.

2008-06-24, 02:25 AM
I believe the idea that they get the bonus with anyone, not just other Rilkans, is that they have a connection to their race, which gives the experience in working together. It's not like a psychic bond that lets the coordinate with others of their race so much as it is being used to working in harmony. Maybe just call the ability "teamwork," and explain that it comes from a culture of collectiveness, which itself results from the racial knowledge ability.

I think they should definately have +2 to Bluff and Diplomacy still. The knowledge bonus replaces another racial feature, like how halflings get +2 to AC against opportunity attacks or whatever.

2008-06-24, 06:45 PM
Hmm.... I was thinking of this exact same thing. Hmm...

What if we follow the trend from the Magic of Incarnum book. What if we expand upon that even more. What if each soulmeld gave the character acess to a 'suite' of powers, that all coincided with the soulmeld. Just an idea.

I'm still kind of new to 4th edition, I look at my friends when I need to and I've ordered them already form Amazon.

I think that we should not just limit ourselves to updating Incarnum to 4th edition, at least not the exact book. Incarnum wasn't very well liked because it was weak and too complicated. I suggest we streamline it a bit...

Also, I like the idea of not jsut having Incarnum in soulmelds. If it is soul energy, then they should be able to do some direct chanelling.

2008-06-24, 07:13 PM
As I have it right now, a soulmeld grants one or more powers as a basic effect, and then has chakra bind effects (for Incarnates), totem bind effects (for Totemists), and how it benefits from essentia. Soulmelds could grant more than one power. For example, the Cerulean Sandals grant one at-will power and one daily power, without any binding or essentia or anything (not that utilities have essentia).

So at the start of a day (after a full rest), as an incarnate, you shape your soulmelds, up to 3 combat out of 10 you know, and up to 5 utilities out of 5 pairs you know (pick one of your level 2s, one of your level 6s, etc.) by 30th level. This gives you their basic powers, which for the utilities are as powerful as any utility of that level, and for combat, are as powerful as a level 1 encounter power. If it grants multiple powers, they all add up to as useful as these things.

Then you bind your soulmelds to chakras. You've got 8 choices at high level, and 3 maximum binds. Generally you'll bind to your best chakras, but you don't have to. This gets you 3 pwoers that are equal to daily powers of a level equal to the chakra's.

Finally, you have essentia to invest, which improves your combat soulmelds to be equivalent to powers of the essentia investment's level, to keep your encounter powers even with other classes. This investment could improve the power, replace it, add another one, etc. You can then reinvest after each short rest if you want, giving you a massive amount of total versatility.

I think this should work quite well, as it keeps the characters' powers equal in power to other classes. However, the class will have crazy versatility, much moreso than even wizards, meaning a lot of differant powers will have to be based on differant ability scores to, and the powers in general may need to be a little weaker, in order to keep things balanced overall.

Some streamlines I've done is set chakra binds into specific levels, set levels of utilities, and made essentia into specific levels of investment, rather than points. It's definately not weak in the new system, and it's hardly terribly complicated, compared to other game systems, though it is a bit weirder than the classes that exist in 4th Edition already.

Soulborn and Totemists should be much more simple (at least to design), since every soulmeld won't need a ton of differant Chakra binds.

2008-06-24, 08:38 PM
I think this could go far....

Very nice. And if you want an Incarnum rogue, multicalss feats are right there.

Steven the Lich
2008-06-24, 09:12 PM

Not fantastic but it works and I had fun when I played it. I certainly can't wait how this can turn out!

2008-06-24, 09:15 PM
I actually think dnd4E's power system works very well for incarnum. It had a sort of power idea in 3.5

2008-06-24, 10:54 PM
I actually think dnd4E's power system works very well for incarnum. It had a sort of power idea in 3.5

Yeah, it's been a fairly easy conversion so far on the basic level. Making the actual content is more complicated, but the basics worked out really nicely. Especially chakra binds. I liked that I could use the 7 actual chakras, instead of item slots, and match them up perfectly with the 7 daily power levels.

So some detail work I figure I should mention in case anyone wants to make some soulmelds. As a standard, each combat soulmeld for the incarnate class has three chakra binds. One in the first 3, one within the 3 after that, and one within 3 of the second. That way, no soulmeld ever becomes obsolete, even for a few levels, simply because it can't be bound to any of the character's best 3 chakras.

For example, the most basic setup is Root, Heart, Crown. As soon as Root becomes obsolete (level 15), you have access to Heart, and the same when Heart becomes obsolete and you gain Crown. But You could also do something like Root, Sacral, Throat. Generally most soulmelds should be able to bind to Root. If you start at Solar Plexus, you could have just two, and add Throat or Third Eye.

These of course aren;t universal rules, but the majority of soulmelds will follow this format, such that at any given level, the soulmeld can be bound to at least one of the character's top 3 chakras.

Utility soulmelds should have useful chakra binds as soon as you get them, and most likely at some point later, but they don't need to have useful binds at every level.

Anyways, here's a preliminary list of soulmelds for Incarnates and/or Soulborn. The levels of utilities are just ideas for now.

Arcane Focus
Adamant Pauldrons
Armguards of Disruption
Bloodwar Gauntlets
Crystal HelmDissolving Spittle
Fearsome Mask
Flame Cincture
Gloves of the Poisoned Soul
Hunter's Circlet
Illusion Veil
Impulse Boots
Incarnate Weapon
Keening Lenses
Lammasu Mantal
Lifebond Vestments
Lightning Gauntlets
Mage's Spectacles
Mantle of Flame
Mauling Gauntlets
Sighting Gloves
Therepeutic Mantle
Thunderstep Boots
Wind Cloak

Utility 2:
Bluesteel Bracers
Cerulean Sandals
Riding Bracers
Sailor's Bracers

Utility 6:
Airstep Sandals
Silvertongue Mask
Soulspeaker Circlet
Theft Gloves
Vitality Belt

Utility 10:
Enigma Helm
Pauldrons of Health
Spellward Shirt
Strongheart Vest

Utility 16:
Apparition Ribbon
Diadem of Purelight
Fellmist Robe
Truthseeker Goggles

Utility 22:
Dark Shroud
Incarnate Avatar
Planar Chasuble
Planar Ward

And a possible Totemist list:

Beast Tamer Circlet
Brass Mane
Disenchanter Mask
Dread Carapace
Great Raptor Mask
Frost Helm
Heart of Fire
Hunter's Circlet
Phase Cloak
Shadow Mantle
Winter Mask

Primal level 1:
Shedu Crown
Urskan Greaves
Worg Pelt

Primal level 5:
Basilisk Mask
Displacer Mantle
Girallion Arms
Wormtail Belt

Primal level 9:
Ankheg Breastplate
Krenshar Mask
Manticore Belt
Pegasus Cloak

Primal level 15:
Behir Gorget
Blink Shirt
Gorgon Mask
Unicorn Horn

Primal level 19:
Kruthic Claws
Threefold Mask of the Chimera
Yrthak Mask

Primal level 25:
Kraken Mantle
Lamia Belt
Landshark Boots

Primal level 29:
Phoenix Belt
Totem Avatar

Other ideas:

Incarnum paragon paths for all classes.

Necrocarnum paragon path for Incarnates.

2008-06-25, 09:52 AM
I would just like to say that I really liked Incarnates being paragons of their alignments.

I think Incarantes should be good or evil, and soulborns should be lawful good or chaotic evil. Just my opinion.

Inyssius Tor
2008-06-25, 10:16 AM
I don't think it is physically possible to express how little I like forcing people to alter their character concept if they want to play a certain class. That was the largest reason I didn't use this stuff in 3.5--convincing my DM to use the Tome of Incarnum would have been hard enough without also convincing him to let me alter that so I could play a meldshaper whose personality wasn't straitjacketed by either of two cardboard-cutout moral codes.

(That's also a reason I rarely played paladins, on top of how they were pretty weak. I'm quite pleased that I don't have to get a houserule to play 4E paladins with what I think are interesting personalities.)

Putting something in the introductory fluff-block (or even in some of the powers' fluff) about how meldshapers tend to be absolutely sure of their philosophies would be fine, but... yeah.

Just my opinion.

2008-06-25, 11:10 AM
Meh. To each his own I suppose. I still think the incarnates should have a purpose. Some sort of ideal that they cling to like clerics. Just my two cents.

2008-06-25, 02:27 PM
Yeah, reliance on alignment is bad. If you want them to be dedicated to an ideal, then make them dedicated to an ideal. On your own time. One of the best things 4th Edition did was remove the importance of alignment. Let's keep it that way.

2008-06-25, 02:28 PM
Gee man, it's just an opinion. Dungeons and Dragons has always been about the fight between good and evil. Too much gray can also be a bad thing.

2008-06-25, 05:44 PM
I think Incarnates should definately be dedicated to their ideals, but I'm not going to represent it statistically at all, or base it remotely on alignments, which I've always hated. What one person sees as good is not what another sees as good. Two paladins who think they represent the highest ideals of all that is good could be mortal enemies because of their moral differances.

I find that the fight between good and evil is more itneresting if its subjective, and when the villains think they're right for whatever twisted reasons, not cartoon bad guys that are evil and follow the dictates of evil and do evil things becaus good is dumb.

But anyways, the fluff will be pretty open-ended, so you can use it however you want in your games. But I want the statistics to work regardless.

2008-06-25, 05:57 PM
I agree that good and evil are subjective to cetain points (look at the difference between the Catholic and Protestant churches), but there also needs to be an absolute evil and an absolute good. They need some sort of guideline to base themselves off of, that's what the good and evil alignments are for.

2008-06-25, 06:52 PM
Conceivably, there are absolutes of right and wrong, but my problem is when you can look those up in a rulebook that says X is good and Y is evil.

For example, is lying always wrong, or can you do it to help people? There may be an absolute answer to this; the truth of existance, but we can't go cast detect evil and figure it out. And I don't find it fun to be able to do that in a roleplaying game. It doesn't feel like good storytelling.

I think that 4th Edition fixes many of my issues with alignment. It has no statistical effect. It's just a guideline to give you an idea of the moral uprightness in general of a character. It's not a list of rules, just s starting place for helping roleplay.

So dedicating yourself to "good" isn't really a useful description, because you can't know exactly what good is. You can assume, and philosophize, and use reason and talk to divine beings, and learn a lot, but you can never be absolute. There's always some dissagreement as to what the absolute meaning of goodness is. Even the gods tend to not know everything, or at least won't tell mortals the full truth, instead letting them figure it out on their own.

But anyways, on topic, I don't want to base anything on alignment, since not everyone would want it, and it's easy enough to fluff into your own campaign if you dissagree with me.

2008-06-25, 07:10 PM
Good point. I stand corrected. I guess you're right. There should be no mechanical forcing of alignments or whatnot.

All right... so I like a lot of your ideas, I'm just not sure how the essentia will work via game balance. Also, I have noticed that DND 4th edition has very little emphasis on feats (we have so few, so few to choose from). Are you still going to have the feats give essentia points?

Also, I noticed that you're going to have incarnum paragon paths. Wouldn't incarnum multiclass feats make more sense?

2008-06-25, 07:38 PM
Oh, you can multiclass to an incarnum class, but the paragon paths for other classes are more like, you're a fighter who uses incarnum to be a better fighter, or a cleric that infuses incarnum into his or her divine powers. Multiclassing would just be as it always has been: Being two things at once. The paragon paths would be for using incarnum to expand on what you already do.

Also, paragon paths could combine two classes. For example, you're a fighter with the incarnate multiclass feat, and that allows you to take the fighter/incarnate combo paragon path.

Essentia doesn't really have points so... no, feats won't give more essentia, but they could offer some alternate ways to invest it.

How essentia works right now does open up some balance issues, since you can move it between encounters to ready yourself for an encounter you know is coming up. I may have to make it reinvestable only daily, but I didn't want it to be so similar to chakra binds mechanically.

[edit]: New thought: I need a way for soulborn to mark enemies. I want something that works well on multiple enemies, since they'll be controllerish too. Anyone have ideas?

2008-06-29, 06:15 PM
The Soulborn class features and At-Will powers are now complete. Next up is the description, class features, and At-Wills for Totemists.

2008-07-03, 08:08 PM
Totemist features and at-wills are done.

2008-07-09, 03:26 AM
I just did a massive art overhaul for the PDF. It's got borders, page number gems, and images from the original Incarnum (which I assume is legal since I'm not claiming them as my own or selling this). Sadly, I had to add black borders to all tables, since my PDF writer doesn't handle straight lines of other colors too well, it seems (the cells would end up kinda blended into eachother and the background).

I'm playing with Duskling ideas, so what's there now is just some thoughts, plus a racial quote and an image.