Edit: This has received tentative approval for DrK's Savage Tides campaign. Some improvements have already been implemented after discussion, and I expect more refinements as this sees some use in actual play.
This is a custom class for a character who uses both incarnum and psionics, two of my favorite systems. The progression is built upon a Totemist template, but this is only to provide reasonable scale for the acquisition and development of features, not to make this a replacement or variant of that class.
Design at present is only through 6th level. The only decisions beyond that (at present) are that essentia progression should continue to follow Totemist and that chakra binds open up at 9th (lesser), 14th (greater), and 17th (heart) levels. Grey text is tentative.
Tier 3?: With upgrades, I believe this class should now fall within Tier 3, though whether high-, middle-, or low-tier remains to be seen.
Alignment: Any (NG).
Hit die: d8.
Starting Wealth: 4d4x10 (average 100 gp)
Starting Age: As rogue
Skill Points: 4 + Int modifier (x4 at 1st level)
Class Skills: Autohypnosis (Wis), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Knowledge (psionics) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Profession (Wis), Psicraft (Int), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), Tumble (Dex), and Use Psionic Device (Cha).
Spoiler: SkillsBecause for this custom class incarnum is as intimately linked to psionics as it is to arcane magic for other characters, Knowledge (psionics) may be used to answer questions about incarnum and soulmelds, and Psicraft may be used, in place of Spellcraft, to identify soulmelds.
Level BAB Fort Ref Will Class Features Essentia 1 +¾ +⅓ +⅓ +⅓ Essentia, Resistance, Psycarnum Strike, Meldshaping (1) 1 2 +1½ +⅔ +⅔ +⅔ Hidden Talent, Uncanny Dodge 2 3 +2¼ +1 +1 +1 Blink 2 4 +3 +1⅓ +1⅓ +1⅓ Improved Senses, Psycarnum Infusion 3 5 +3¾ +1⅔ +1⅔ +1⅔ Least Chakra Bind 3 6 +4½ +2 +2 +2 Greater Hidden Talent, Rapid Meldshaping 4
Spoiler: Weapon and Armor Proficiency (Ex)You are proficient with all simple weapons and light armor. You also gain proficiency with any non-exotic weapon by taking the weapon focus feat for that weapon. (For this purpose, weapon proficiency is not a prerequisite for weapon focus.)
Spoiler: Essentia (Ex)At 1st level, you gain an essentia pool, if you do not already have one. The size of your essentia pool is shown on the table. You can invest essentia in any essentia receptacle (class feature, feat, soulmeld). Character level, as noted on Table 2-1 in Magic of Incarnum determines the maximum quantity of essentia that you can invest in any single receptacle. You may reallocate all of your essentia as an immediate action.
Spoiler: AnalysisEssentia progression follows the Totemist. The improvement here is to allow reallocation of essentia as an immediate action rather than a swift action, so it may be done out-of-turn. This is necessary to make the Resistance class feature useful. The class still has the same limit on how often essentia may be reallocated (once per turn) and the same action cost (the Swift/Immediate action).
Spoiler: Resistance (Ex)At 1st level, you receive a +1 bonus to all three Saves (Fortitude, Reflex, Will). You may invest essentia in each Save individually for an increased bonus. Each point invested increases that Save bonus +1. Essentia is invested into each Save individually, so 1 point invested into Reflex would not benefit your Will save, for example. This essentia may be freely reallocated with the same Swift or Immediate action used to allocate essentia in other receptacles.
Resistance counts as an instance of the +2 bonus for a good save progression. Thus, if you are in a campaign that restricts the number of times you may receive that bonus and later multiclass, you do not receive the +2 bonus, though you will progress by +½ in any good saves at each subsequent level.
Spoiler: Psycarnum Strike (Ex)At 1st level, you receive Improved Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat. Your unarmed strikes do 1d6 damage (assuming a medium-size character). Additionally, you may invest essentia into your unarmed strikes or any weapon for which you have the weapon focus feat. Each point of essentia grants a +1 enhancement bonus on all attack rolls and damage rolls with that unarmed strike or weapon. As long as at least one point of essentia is allocated here, the attack is considered a magic weapon for purposes of overcoming damage reduction.
Like the Monk, you may apply your full Strength bonus on damage rolls for all unarmed strikes, and they are treated both as manufactured weapons and natural weapons for purposes of spells and other effects that affect such things.
This feature counts as the ability to form a mind blade for purposes of the Psycarnum Blade feat and other feats requiring that ability, and such feats may be applied to any attack in which you may use your psycarnum strike.
(We have discussed an additional enhancement bonus at higher levels, essentially tantamount to free essentia invested in this feature. The details remain to be worked out.
Spoiler: Meldshaping (Ex)At 1st level, you learn to shape soulmelds. At any given time, you may have one soulmeld shaped, drawn from any soulmeld list. You must rest and then meditate for one hour before shaping your soulmeld. Generally, a soulmeld remains shaped until you shape a new one in its place. The DC for a saving throw against your soulmeld(s) is 10 + essentia invested + Constitution modifier. Your meldshaper level is equal to your character level.
Like all meldshapers, the maximum number of soulmelds you may have shaped at one time is the lesser of the sum of the melds granted by class levels and the Shape Soulmeld feat, or your Constitution score minus 10.
Beginning at 5th level, you may bind your soulmeld to any of your least chakras (crown, feet, hands). This ability extends to lesser chakras (arms, brow, shoulders) at 9th level, greater chakras (throat, waist) at 14th level, and the heart chakra at 17th level. This class feature is for a single chakra bind. You must take an appropriate feat to gain additional chakra binds. (I.e., Open Least Chakra, Open Lesser Chakra, or Open Greater Chakra.)
Spoiler: AnalysisThis class gains access to the entire soulmeld list, regardless of class, but only a single soulmeld and a single chakra bind. The changeable soulmeld is intended to give the character some versatility.
The text for the Open ____ Chakra feats is not the best, but I believe to be sensible at all, these feats must be understood to grant an extra chakra bind.
Spoiler: Hidden TalentAt 2nd level, you gain Hidden Talent (Expanded Psionics Handbook at 67) as a bonus feat, giving you 2 power points and one 1st level power. Your manifester level is equal to your character level. The DC for saving throws against your power is 10 + the power’s level + Wisdom modifier, and you gain bonus power points for a high Wisdom modifier.
At 6th level and every four levels thereafter – at 10th, 14th, and 18th level – you gain Greater Hidden Talent as a bonus feat, giving you 3 power points and the ability to learn one 1st or 2nd level power. Alternatively, you may choose to take Psionic Talent in place of any instance of Hidden Talent or Greater Hidden Talent. You may also choose Hidden Talent and Greater Hidden Talent as any one of your regular feat choices.
You may choose your powers from any power list. You may exchange your most recent psionic power for another of 1st (Hidden Talent) or 1st or 2nd (Greater Hidden Talent) after eight hours of rest. This requires a source for the new power, such as a power stone or another psionic who knows the power. Learning the new power expends it from a source such as a power stone.
Although you may select your powers from any list, for purposes of using power-trigger or power-completion items or power stones, your "power list" consists only of the powers you currently know.
Spoiler: AnalysisGreater Hidden Talent is drawn from Dark Sun 3 at 76. As used here, both this feat and Hidden Talent are further modified by the Improved Hidden Talent feat from the same source. By the standard rules, Hidden Talent requires Cha 11, is Cha-based, and provides only ML 1 for that power, unless you have ML from a class. Improved Hidden Talent requires Cha 12 and grants an ML of one-half character level, as well as bonus power points based on that ML and Cha mod. Those effects have been combined, improved (to full ML), and altered (from Cha to Wis).
The change from Charisma to Wisdom is a personal preference (I prefer Wis-manifesters) and because this custom class is intended for an elan character, so keeping the feat Cha-based would punish that choice.
The progression of these feats replaces the Totemist progression of chakra binds. Because this class gains a chakra bind at 5th level, it is slightly "ahead" of the Totemist in terms of chakra-binds-plus-Hidden-Talent-feats. Overall, however, the balance of power favors the Totemist, as chakra binds, particularly at mid- and high-levels, equal or exceed whatever can be accomplished with 14 pp (plus bonus pp) and 5 first- or second-level powers.
The ability to change the most recent power choice is drawn from similar features in some Pathfinder classes, such as the Gifted Blade Soulknife, which is able to change its entire selection of powers each day (from a limited, but good, list), and the Hunter, which is able to change its most recent teamwork feat as a standard action. Requiring a source for the new power imposes a modest cost on this flexibility.
Spoiler: Intended PowersIntended powers for this character are Precognition*, Animal Affinity, and Psychoportive Shelter (CPsi at 97). Other powers are still undecided, but at least part of the purpose of allowing the exchange of the most recent power is to permit the character to craft items using a power and then trade it out again. In that regard, this character is expected to build up a supply of items with low-level psionic powers.
*This is not the SRD Precognition; it is an adaptation of Pathfinder's Timely Inspiration, which performs a similar function in a more usable way. While I love the fluff of the SRD Precognition and the ability to retroactively add a +2 insight bonus to an attack, damage, save, or skill check is powerful, the requirement to manifest the power in advance limits the utility and is at odds with the fluff (a player needs to be precognitive to use Precognition effectively). Timely Inspiration gets around this by being an immediate action with retroactive effect. As a further benefit, it also scales at 1/5 CL, starting lower (+1) but rising to a +3 max.
By RAW, SRD Precognition is personal and may be applied to attack, damage, save, or skill checks. Timely Inspiration is single-target, close range but applies only to attacks and skill checks. I would propose that the modified Precognition follow one or the other of these: be extended to damage and saves, if limited to personal or be exactly like Timely Inspiration, with a simple name change. My personal preference is the former, perhaps having this power be researched using the rules in XPH at 64.
Spoiler: Uncanny Dodge (Ex)At 2nd level, you gain Uncanny Dodge. You retain your Dexterity bonus to AC even if flat-footed or struck by an unseen (invisible or concealed) attacker. You still lose your Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized. At 8th level, you gain Evasion (and/or Improved Uncanny Dodge?) -- still working out the details on this.
Spoiler: Blink (Su)At 3rd level, you gain the ability to teleport short distances, like the Dimension Door spell. As a standard action, you may teleport 10'+10'/ess. You always arrive at exactly the spot desired, whether by visualizing the area or by stating a direction. You cannot bring along other creatures, but you may carry gear and objects up to your maximum load. After using this ability, you may take no other actions that turn.
Spoiler: Improved Senses (Ex)At 4th level, you gain Low-light Vision. Investing essentia in this feature gives you Darkvision with a range of 30'/ess.
Spoiler: Psycarnum Infusion (Ex)At 4th level, you are able to draw upon incarnum to power psionic abilities. To use this feature, you must invest invest essentia in it at the start of your turn (or maintain essentia already invested in this feature as of the start of your turn), and the essentia must remain invested for the entire turn. Each point of essentia invested gives you one temporary power point. If not used, these temporary power points expire before the start of your next turn.
Initially, you are only able to use Psycarnum Infusion to generate 1 temporary power point per day. At 7th level, you may generate up to 2 temporary power points per day and up to 6 per day at 8th level.
SpoilerTo test out this feature, it is presently capped at the difference between the number of power points granted by instances of Hidden Talent and Greater Hidden Talent and the base power point allotment of a Psychic Warrior of 3/4 the character's level.
Spoiler: Rapid Meldshaping (Ex)At 6th level, by expending your psionic focus, you may reshape your soulmeld (and chakra bind), as a full-round action that provokes attacks of opportunity. You may switch back and forth between the original and the new soulmeld (and bind) as frequently as you wish, paying the action cost each time. Thus, you have a choice of two soulmelds and binds, only one of which may be active at any given time. The selection of the second soulmeld and bind is not made until the first time Rapid Meldshaping is used for the day. At 12th level, you are able to use Rapid Meldshaping to change among three different melds and binds, and at 18th level, to change among four. In each case, the additional soulmelds need not be selected in advance: they are chosen the first time in the day that Rapid Meldshaping is used to shape that soulmeld.
Spoiler: Analysis & ExampleThe intended effect is to give the character access to up to four different soulmelds by 18th level, though only one may be active at any given time.
For example, at 12th level, you begin with Lammasu Mantle bound to the Arms chakra. Later, you use Rapid Meldshaping to change to Kraken Mantle bound to the Arms chakra. You may freely switch back and forth between these two combinations, paying the action cost each time. Still later, you use Rapid Meldshaping to bind Lammasu Mantle to the Shoulders chakra. You may now freely switch among all three combinations: Lammasu Mantle bound to Arms, Lammasu Mantle bound to Shoulders, or Kraken Mantle bound to Arms. Note that even though the same soulmeld -- Lammasu Mantle -- is used for two of the choices, the change in chakra binds requires one of the available Rapid Meldshaping slots.