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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    danzibr's Avatar

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    Default danzibr's Totemist Handbook

    Now with a new title! It was called, "Another Totemist Handbook (WIP, input welcome!)"
    Spoiler: Estimated completion and *special thanks*
    Show

    Estimated completion: 98%


    If you want to help out, I'll listen to anything (constructive criticism or new material please, but if you're rude I'll ignore it).

    To do:
    • Add stuff when I discover it

    Special thanks:
    • 123456789blaaa (also known as Count). A lot of input over the months. Very appreciated.
    • thethird for a minor formatting correction.
    • Glimbur for a correction.
    • Chronos for quite a bit of input.
    • Psyren for some rules clarification (and more).
    • ArchangelAzrael for the tragedy of Feral not getting all of its abilities with any ol' HD.
    • Essence_of_War for some races and other stuff.
    • Piggy Knowles for a good few suggestions.
    • ShneekeyTheLost for a couple builds, and otherwise good help (I used his handbook for reference, too).
    • Karnith for reminding me of Sun School's name, and Blood Wind's name.
    • Kuulvheysoon for some race suggestions.
    • Darth_Stabber for reminding me to put IUS in (or maybe I had at that point? Anyway, it's in now for sure).
    • Pesimismrocks for introducing me to Saurian Shifters. So boss.
    • Tenebris for mentioning Soul Manifester before I had it in.
    • Person_Man for numerous suggestions, and for posting tons of crap on GitP over the years. Just check the list of useful links.
    • Coidzor for some minor corrections, a build, some solid homebrew, and other suggestions (and encouragement).
    • Krazzman for suggesting Blood Wind. That's a sweet spell.
    • Waker for noting a mistake in Kensai suggested entry.
    • Aliek for suggesting Soul Eater.
    • Troacctid for suggesting Duskling as a Soul Eater entry.
    • Curmudgeon. He never posted in this thread, but I asked a fair amount of questions in the Q&A by RAW thread which he answered.
    • shaikujin for the masterwork unarmed strikes/natural weapons bit.
    • Anyone who contributed (knowingly or not) to the build section.

    And to TheFallenOne and TuggyNE, it would've been nice to have 11 posts after all. I have more than 50,000 characters in the builds post and so had to split it into two, and I had to combine other posts I didn't want to combine. For those not aware what this is referring to, check this thread.

    Contents


    1: Introduction

    Another Totemist handbook?
    Yeah, another. There are already two Totemist-specific handbooks and two general Incarnum guides which I've found (always open to more!).

    Useful links
    Spoiler
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    Other Totemist handbooks
    • Sinfire Titan's (previously a member here, even). Has quite a bit of general MoI info but focuses more on Totemists, naturally. Seems complete.
    • Doogieboy's: This one's alright. Unfinished.

    Useful Totemist-specific information

    General MoI handbooks

    Useful MoI information, but not Totemist-specific

    Natural weapon info

    Other useful info

    So with all the information out there why am I making a Totemist handbook? For example, Sinfire Titan says, “Readers of the previous Incarnum Handbook will know how powerful [Totem Rager] is,” while Shneekey says, “Don't let the whole pile of bonus essentia fool you, [Totem Rager] is a Grade A trap." That's a pretty radical difference.

    Furthermore, the 2 Totemist-specific guides make the terrible mistake of giving single ratings to all the soulmelds (Sinfire is less guilty of this, though still guilty). But some soulmelds have good shaped effects and bad bound effects or vice versa, and furthermore some soulmelds may be shaped/bound to several chakras. Each aspect deserves its own rating. To collapse them into a single rating loses valuable information. Furthermore, certain soulmelds are more useful at, say, low levels. This should be pointed out as well.

    My hope is to do a (realistically) complete treatment of the class and that at least one person finds it useful.

    Color rating?
    Of course every handbook needs a color key! I'll be using good ol' ROGBV (sorry yellow and indigo!). The colors mean slightly different things when used in different contexts. I'll give an example or two.
    • Red: Very bad. Taking levels in a PrC which is red will make your character worse (relative to taking another level Totemist). Think of the -2 PrC's in the PrC tier list. A red feat, on the other hand, is merely a waste of a feat. And a red class feature sucks and you'll never use it, but doesn't actually make you worse (I guess if you consider illiteracy the default and literacy an added bonus). Do not take this unless you have a darn good reason to, such as fluff or whatever.
    • Orange: In most cases, bad. However, unlike things which are rated red, things which are rated orange might be situationally useful. Like Kraken Mantle bound to Totem. Most of the time it'll be useless, but when you do need, you need it.
    • Green: Average. Meh, okay. Could be worse. Like Run.
    • Blue: Good. A solid choice, though possibly not useful depending on the particular build/situation. For example, no Totem Rager will be buying a Necklace of Natural Attacks with Splitting (well, probably not), but it's a stellar choice if you focus on Manticore Belt (assuming it works).
    • Violet: Very good. Every Totemist should have this! Sort of like every Swordsage needs Adaptive Style; that is, not absolutely necessary, but certainly very good.
    • Important note: There is no black. If a feat or the like is left black that is because I have not yet rated it.

    What are all these funny words?
    MoI has its own dictionary. The last thing in this introductory post is some definitions that will be good to be familiar with.
    Spoiler
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    MoI: Magic of Incarnum. The book we're working out of.
    meldhsaper: Someone who does MoI stuff.
    body slot: *Not* MoI specific. Page 214 of the DMG details 12 body slots, which I'll slightly simplify, one for each of the following: helmet, glasses, necklace, vest, armor, belt, cloak, bracers, gloves, ring 1, ring 2, boots. Well, technically they combine ring 1 and ring 2 as just rings, but the point is you can equip 12 magic items.
    chakra: MoI specific. Basically chakra=body slot in MoI lingo. There are two differences: there is no chakra corresponding to rings and Totemists have the extra chakra, the totem chakra (at level 2 and above, at least).
    • For the non-MoI/MoI correspondence we have the following: helmet=crown, glasses=brow, necklace=throat, vest=heart, armor=soul, belt=waist, cloak=shoulders, bracers=arms, gloves=hands, boots=feet. Rings have no MoI version and totem has no non-MoI version.
    • Chakras and the usual body slots in the DMG *do not overlap*. Physically they're located in similar places, but by taking a meldshaper level you're basically doubling your body slots (2 helmets, 2 glasses, etc.).

    soulmeld: Basically soulmeld=pseudo magic item. With your 10 (or 11 if you count totem, though it's special) shiny new body slots you need stuff to equip! This stuff is soulmelds.
    shape: Basically shape=equip. Instead of “equipping pseudo magic items to your new body slots” you “shape soulmelds to your chakras."
    • Important note: You can shape a soulmeld and equip a magic item in the same body slot! For example, if you shape a soulmeld to your crown chakra you may also equip a magical helmet. Chakras really are like bonus body slots.

    bind: The next level of shaping. Once you have a soulmelds shaped to a chakra you can “bind” it to that same chakra (slight exception with totem chakra, detailed in the step-by-step guide below). Binding a soulmeld gives you more bonuses or abilities at the price of not being able to equip a magic item in the corresponding body slot (which you can get around at the price of a feat, namely Split Chakra).
    meldshaper level: Think caster level.
    soulmeld-magic transparency: Think psionics-magic transparency.
    essentia: Hmm, well, there's no simple analogy with preexisting mechanics to my knowledge. It's basically a pool of points which you can use to enchant your soulmelds.
    essentia damage: Think ability damage for essentia. Like ability damage it heals over time.
    essentia receptacle: Anything you can invest essentia into, the most common of which are soulmelds, but certain feats, racial abilities and class features can be essentia receptacles.
    • Important note: If you invest essentia into a feat you *must* do it at the start of the day and it stays locked in for the *whole day*. With the others (soulmelds, racial features and class features) you can invest whenever you wish as a free action and you may reallocate them at any time.

    natural weapon: From the Monster Manual,
    Quote Originally Posted by Monster Manual, p. 312
    Natural Weapons: Natural weapons are weapons that are physically part of a creature.


    General Incarnum Information and Important Rules

    What is this Incarnum business?
    Simply put, Incarnum is a system where you double your body slots! However, there is the catch of only being able to equip special magic items there (that is, shaping soulmelds to chakras).

    How exactly do you do soulmelds?
    And here "do" entails both shaping and binding. Well, here is a step-by-step process.
    Spoiler
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    1. Step 1: Rest for 8 hours.
      Yup, just like casters you need 8 hours of sleep/rest/whatever.
    2. Step 2: Meditate for 1 hour.
      There goes another hour.
    3. Step 3: Choose which soulmelds to shape to your chakras.
      At the end of step 2/beginning of step 3 your pseudo body slots/chakras are all essentially empty. In this step you equip your pseudo magic items/shape your soulmelds to your chakras. Note
      • Just like with equipping magic items you can only shape one soulmeld per chakra (there are some ways to get around this, see near the bottom of this post).
      • You also may not shape more soulmelds than your Constitution score – 10. This is basically never an issue though since Totemists like high Con (though be wary of hits to your Con)
      • The final limitation is based off of your Totemist level. For example, a level 1 Totemist may shape at most 2 soulmelds.
      • Unlike with binding soulmelds to chakras (step 4), you may shape soulmelds to any chakra from level 1! They're all available to you.
      • You shape all your soulmelds at the same time. You can't just leave a chakra open and shape a soulmeld to it later (unlike a Wizard leaving a spell slot open). To do so you'd have to start back from step 1.
    4. Step 4: Choose which soulmelds you shaped in step 3 to bind to your chakras.
      Similar to step 3 but with some important differences.
      • Like with shaping soulmelds, you have to bind them upon completing your resting and whatnot. There are exceptions, such as the Rebind Totem Soulmeld class feature.
      • You may only bind a soulmelds to the chakra where it is shaped (with the exception of a soulmeld shaped anywhere may be bound to the totem chakra). So you can't, say, shape Dread Carapace on your arms and bind it to your feet. If you shape it on your arms you may *only* bind it to your arms or totem chakras.
      • Like shaping you may only shape so many based on your level. For example, at level 1 a Totemist can't bind any soulmelds to their chakras, at level 2 they have 1 bind, etc.
      • Also like shaping you may only bind one soulmelds per chakra.
      • Unlike with shaping you may *not* bind soulmelds wherever you please. At level 1 you can't bind your soulmelds to any chakra. At level 2 the totem chakra opens up. At level 5 crown, hands and feet chakras all open up. And so on.
    5. Step 5: Invest essentia
      At this point you may invest your essentia in any of the following essentia receptacles (if you have them): soulmelds (which usually gives bonuses to both the shaped and bound effects... usually), certain racial features, certain class features and certain feats.
      • If you plan on investing essentia in a feat you have to do it right now and it stays locked in until the next time you do this process. For the other three you can reinvest your essentia whenever you wish as a swift action.
      • The amount of essentia you can put into a soulmeld is always between 1 and 8. You can put in up to 4 based on your HD, and by stacking other feats and abilities and items you can get up to another 4. Specifically, Expanded Soulmeld Capacity gives +1, Incarnum Focus items give +1. For general soulmelds, Incarnate level 3 and 15 up your essentia cap (for all Incarnate soulmelds) by 1 each, Totemist level 2 and 15 does likewise but only works for soulmelds bound to your totem chakra, and only for Totemist soulmelds.


    Ways to get more essentia (bigger pool)/increase essentia capacity/overcome 1 soulmeld or item per chakra/overcome 1 chakra per soulmeld.
    Spoiler
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    Ways to get more essentia (bigger pool)
    • Take levels in an MoI class (varies +0/+1/+2, permanent).
    • Bonus Essentia feat (+1 or +2, permanent).
    • Following feats: Azure Enmity, Azure Talent, Azure Touch, Azure Toughness, Azure Turning, Azure Wild Shape, Cerulean Fortitude, Cerulean Reflexes, Cobalt Charge, Cobalt Critical, Cobalt Expertise, Cobalt Power, Cobalt Precision, Healing Soul, Incarnum Spellshaping, Indigo Strike, Midnight Augmentation, Midnight Dodge, Midnight Metamagic, Psycarnum Blade, Sapphire Fist, Sapphire Smite, Sapphite Sprint, Soulsight, Soultouched Spellcasting (+1 each, permanent. That's 25 by the way).
    • Divine Soultouch feat (+1/turn or rebuke undead, lasts 1 round).
    • Psycarnum Crystal feat (+1 if psicrystal is within reach).
    • Psycarnum Infusion feat (expend psionic focus to max one essentia receptacle for 1 round).
    • Essentia Jewel item (+1 for one round, consumed upon use, 400 gold).
    • Essentia Helm item (max 1 essentia receptacle/charge, has 3 charges per day, 1500 gold, MIC p. 97).
    • Ring of Essentia item (someone can put 1 essentia in, someone else take it out, lasts 24 hours, 16,000 gold).
    • Soul Boon spell (+1 essentia/3 CL, lasts 1 minute, Cleric 3, Sorc/Wizard/Incarnum domain 2). Too bad it can't be persisted.
    • Incarnum Apotheosis spell (max out all essentia receptacles, lasts 1 round/3 levels, Incarnum domain 8). Also can't be persisted (at least not normally. Its range is touch)! Shucks. Friggin' awesome spell though, though it is level 8 so it better be good.
    • Incandescent Champion's Incarnum Overload ability (limited number of +Cha to single essentia receptacle for 1 round).
    • Necrocarnate's Harvest Soul ability (+1/2 Necrocarnate level rounded up essentia, lasts 24 hours, consumes a fresh body).
    • Thief of Life's Borrow Vigor ability (+1 if you drop a living creature unconscious, lasts 1 hour, from FoE p. 85).
    • Necrocarnum Weapon bound to hands. More specifically, as Person_Man said, "Necrocarnum Weapon bound to Hands chakra gives you temporary essentia = essentia invested in this soulmeld when you crit and enemy for 10 rounds. (Basically you trade a chakra bind for extra essentia). It's an Incarnate soulmeld, not Totemist. But worth listing under the "Ways to get more essentia" section, since anyone can get it with Feats, and Incarnate/Totemist is a common multiclass combo."

    Ways to increase essentia capacity
    • Expanded Soulmeld Capacity feat (+1 to 1 soulmeld determined when shaped, lasts until next shaping).
    • Incarnum Focus item (+1 while equipped, one for each chakra, 25,000 gold).
    • Totemist's Totem Chakra Bind class feature (+1 at level 2, +2 at level 15).
    • Totemist's Totem Embodiment class feature (double cap and invested essentia, level 20).
    • Incarnate level 3 and 15 grant Expanded Soulmeld Capacity +1 and +2, respectively. The text reads, "the essentia capacity of your soulmelds increases by 1" so it should work on, well, all soulmelds, AT LEAST AT FIRST GLANCE. Unfortunately, in "Multiclass Meldshapers" on page 20, we see it only applies to Incarnate soulmelds.
    • Necrocarnate level 9 grants Expanded Necrocarnum Meld Capacity. +1 to max invest-able essentia, but only for necrocarnum melds.

    Ways to overcome 1 soulmeld or item/chakra
    • Double Chakra feat (choose a chakra when taking feat, can bind two soulmelds to it, needs level 9).
    • Split Chakra feat (choose a chakra when taking feat, equip item on it and bind soulmeld to it).
    • Incarnum Focus items (+1 while equipped, one for each chakra, 25,000 gold). Wait, weren't these already mentioned above? Yes, but they have another use! You can use the MiC rules of adding combining effects of magic items. Your only limit is your budget (thanks PsyRen and Essence_of_War).

    Ways to overcome 1 chakra/soulmeld.
    • Totemist's Totem Chakra Bind class feature (can bind 1 soulmeld to two different chakras, level 11).


    Important rules regarding natural weapons
    Spoiler
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    Other nifty things
    Spoiler
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    • Soulmelds are not magical items, whether bound or shaped. Thus they interact very nicely with things like Wild Shape. However, they interact poorly with augment crystals.
    • Soulmelds have no value. Thus they interact very nicely with Vow of Poverty.


    Save DC for abilities granted by soulmelds
    Spoiler
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    The save DC for abilities granted by soulmelds is 10+Con modifier+invested essentia
    Which is a pity. I guess it's supposed to emulate 10+modifier+spell level for casters, but this has a couple of issues: first, the amount of essentia you can invest almost always lags behind spell level; second, most Totemists will not have sky high Con (unlike casters and their mental stats); third, Totemists do not have the same resources available to them as casters do for increasing save DC's; fourth, the abilities granted by soulmelds are inferior to spells in most cases. There simply aren't enough abilities to make it worth investing so much into Con.

    So how can you maximize this? Well, clearly if you increase your Con modifier and/or invested essentia, you can boost the save DC. Drink a potion of Bull's Endurance, play as a Dragonborn Arctic Mongrelfolk (cheesier: Half-Ogre Half-Minotaur Dragonborn Arctic Mongrelfolk, LA +1, +14 Con by RAW). 32 Con at ECL 2. Get some tomes at higher levels. It's impractical but not impossible for this to be effective beyond low levels.

    For essentia, you can only put 1 essentia in until level 6 (base, anyway, can squeeze more out of Totem Chakra Bind and Expanded Soulmeld Capacity), then 2 until 12, then 3 until 18. Again, Totem Chakra Bind gets you can extra 1 and 2, then another extra 1 at 15. Lastly, Incarnum Focus items cost a whopping 25k, but increase capacity by 1. Ultimately, at level 18, you can have 8 essentia if you do it right. At level 20 (given pure Totemist), this can be 16 for a limited amount of time per day.

    Then you can see if you can take Ability Focus. Increase the DC by 2.

    Are the abilities granted by soulmelds (Ex) or (Su) or (Sp) or natural?
    Spoiler
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    That's a great question. I do not know. Here's a quote from the SRD.
    Quote Originally Posted by SRD
    Natural Abilities

    This category includes abilities a creature has because of its physical nature. Natural abilities are those not otherwise designated as extraordinary, supernatural, or spell-like.

    Special Abilities

    A special ability is either extraordinary, spell-like, or supernatural in nature.
    For an example of a natural ability, RC says, "They’re rarely identified as natural—that’s assumed—and they rarely take a distinct action to use. A lion uses its claws as an attack, for instance; it doesn’t activate its claws and then attack."

    Anyway, back to soulmelds, I think it depends on the abilities. The ones which give you breath weapons, or things like breath weapons, are probably (Su), just like the real deal. A dragon's breath weapon is (Su) and its tail sweep is (Ex), for example.

    Shape Soulmeld
    Spoiler
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    Shape Soulmeld is a feat. When you take it, you learn a soulmeld, basically. Here is the key text:
    Quote Originally Posted by MoI p. 40
    Benefit: When this feat is selected, choose a soulmeld from any class’s soulmeld list. You can shape that soulmeld using the normal meldshaping rules (see page 49).
    There are (at least) two reasonable interpretations:
    1. You *only* learn the soulmeld. If you do not have the ability to shape soulmelds (from, say, being a Totemist or Incarnate), then this feat is utterly useless. It'd be like knowing a level 4 spell but having no level 4 spell slots.
    2. You learn the soulmeld and can actually shape it.

    Now the second one is interesting. If you're a Fighter 10 or something and pick up Shape Soulmeld (Thunderstep Boots), then you're just going to shape Thunderstep Boots and call it a day. But what if you're a Totemist 10? Do you just get 1 extra shaped soulmeld? Or do you only learn the soulmeld as in 1 above? Or do you get an extra shaped soulmeld, but it can only be used for Thunderstep boots?

    By RAW it seems like 1 is the case. Take it up with your DM.

    Here's my suggestion: treat it like Martial Study. That is, if you're not a meldshaper, you can shape it. If you are a meldshaper, you just add it to your list of soulmelds you can shape. Considering it takes an epic feat to get an extra shaped soulmeld, I do not believe Shape Soulmeld (which is available at level 1) should give an extra soulmeld.

    Open (Least/Lesser/Greater) Chakra
    Spoiler
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    Shneekey talks about this (just search for "The Debates").

    Open <whatever> Chakra suffers the same problem as Share Soulmeld. Let's look at the key phrase of the feat feat open Least Chakra.
    Quote Originally Posted by MoI p. 39
    Benefit: When this feat is selected, choose one of the following chakras: crown, feet, or hands. You can now bind a soulmeld or a magic item to that chakra.
    There are two common interpretations:
    • You *must* have chakra binds (say from levels of Totemist) to gain any benefit from this feat. If you go Totemist 2/Fighter 18, you have 1 chakra bind available to you, but it's only the Totem. You could choose Crown from the above feat and bind a soulmeld to either the Totem or Crown.
    • You can bind a soulmeld to the chakra you choose regardless of chakra binds from class features.

    For the second one, if a Fighter 10 takes Shape Soulmeld (Thunderstep Boots) and Open Least Chakra (Feet), he can shape it to his feet, then bind it, essentially giving a free chakra bind. But what if it's Totemist 10? They already can bind soulmelds to the Feet chakra, so is there no benefit? Or do they get an extra chakra bind, but only for their feet? Or how about Fighter 10/Totemist 10 who takes Open Least Chakra (feet) at level 6? When he gets the ability to bind soulmelds to his feet, does the feat become useless?

    Again, by RAW it seems 1 is the case, but take it up with your DM.

    What's meldshaper level good for?
    Spoiler
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    First note you have distinct meldshaper levels for Totemist and Incarnate if you happen to be a Totemist/Incarnate. Here's some stuff meldshaper level affects:
    • Dispel Magic can suppress soulmelds' magical properties. The caster of Dispel Magic makes a check against a DC of 11+meldshaper level.
    • Apparition Ribbon bound to Throat. Go incorporeal for meldshaper level rounds per day.
    • Beast Tamer Circlet bound to Totem. Use Animal Trance, up to 1 minute per meldshaper level, basically.
    • Blink Shirt bound to Heart. Use Blink spell with caster level = meldshaper level.
    • Cerulean Sandals bound to Feet. Use Dimension Door with total distance up to 10 feet per meldshaper level.
    • Disenchanter Mask bound to Totem. Suppress a magic item, roll 1d20+meldshaper level against a DC of 11+magic item caster's level.
    • Enigma Helm shaped to Crown. Caster of a divination spell has to pass a caster level check DC of 11+meldshaper level.
    • Lifebond Vestments shaped to Arms or Heart. Heal up to 1 hit point per meldshaper level, and take half as much damage.
    • Necrocarnum Circlet bound to Crown. Animate zombie, HD up to meldshaper level.
    • Planar Ward bound to Throat. Add meldshaper level to Planar Ward's save DC.
    • Shedu Crown bound to Heart. Go to Ethereal Plane for meldshaper level rounds per day.
    • Totem Avatar shaped to Arms, Feet, Heart, Shoulders. Bonus hit points equal to meldshaper level.
    • Vitality Belt shaped to Waist. Get meldshaper level*essentia bonus hit points (yeah, that can be a lot).

    Of these, the most important soulmeld-wise is Vitality Belt, with Necrocarnum Circlet as a second (not that either are Totemist soulmelds). Obviously you don't want your stuff getting suppressed by Dispel Magic.

    Masterwork/Enchanting Natural Weapons/Unarmed Strikes?
    Spoiler
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    It seems it is possible. I'll quote shaikujin, to whom all credit is owed.
    Quote Originally Posted by shaikujin View Post
    Regarding Unarmed Strikes aren't masterwork -

    Champions of Valor has a Region call "Chosen Born".
    One of the bonus equipment choice is "deity’s favored weapon (masterwork)".

    There are several deities that have unarmed strikes as their favored weapon.

    Hence, masterwork unarmed strikes is possible.
    Quote Originally Posted by shaikujin View Post
    Regarding that:

    There are deities with "claw" as favored weapons. Sharess, for example. So certain types of natural weapons can be masterwork as well.

    Also, warforged with adamantine body might work. Adamantine items are always of masterwork quality I think.
    And you can enchant masterwork weapons.
    Last edited by danzibr; 2015-08-16 at 06:12 AM.
    My one and only handbook: My Totemist Handbook
    My one and only homebrew: Book of Flux
    Spoiler
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    A comment on tiers, by Prime32
    Quote Originally Posted by KillianHawkeye View Post
    As a DM, I deal with character death by cheering and giving a fist pump, or maybe a V-for-victory sign. I would also pat myself on the back, but I can't really reach around like that.
      /l、
    ゙(゚、 。 7
     l、゙ ~ヽ
     じしf_, )ノ

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Another Totemist Handbook (WIP, please wait to post until the Builds post)

    2: Totemist Overview and Homebrew/Potential Alternate Rules

    Recall the Totemist class information is available here.

    Let's pick apart these class features (top down form the above link).
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    • Proficient with all simple weapons, with light armor, and with shields (except tower shields).
      It's possible to go the ubercharger route with a two-hander, but you'll likely be attacking either with a boat load of natural weapons, with the spines from Manticore Belt or the abilities of your soulmelds. The armor proficiency is nice.
    • Meldshaping.
      Boo yeah, this is where it's at. This is what makes you a MoI class.
    • Hit die: d8
      This could certainly be better, but you want a high Constitution. My guess is they gave a melee class a d8 because they expected high Con.
    • Medium BAB
      Boo. Granted you probably don't care about iterative attacks but full BAB would be nice.
    • Good Fort and Ref saves, bad Will save.
      It is what it is. You can front line like a champ, but be wary of getting dominated or the like.
    • 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.
      Having both Listen and Spot is a great boon. It's a good idea to have at least one of your knowledges be high (well, high enough) for Collector of Stories skill trick, and arcane and nature are good for monsters. Spellcraft is nice so you know what spell you're being hit with. Some of the ratings of these skills change for multiclassing (like Concentration being nice for Warblades).
    • Totem Chakra Bind
      The first chakra bind you get. This is what makes you a Totemist. Not only that but it starts out able to take 2 essentia (that's what the +1 capacity means), then it gets another boost at level 15.
    • Wild Empathy (Ex)
      Diplomacy for animals! It's a pity you only get 1d20+Cha for the result. The bonus is highly situational, but when it's in effect that +4 is nice. However, as Piggy Knowles noted, if you build for it (high Cha and essentia in Beast Tamer Circlet) you can get some good results at low levels.
    • Illiteracy
      Cool! Like Barbarians you can't read and write.
    • Totem's Protection (Ex)
      Again highly situational. If you're fighting magical beasts which like to use stuff with saving throws, you're in luck! So to speak. This doesn't happen often in my experience, but when it does happen it's nice.
    • Rebind Totem Soulmeld (Su)
      To be honest, this seems pretty cool but I can't see much use for it because it's so limited. Not only is it 1/day per four levels, rounded down, but you have to already have the soulmeld shaped and not bound elsewhere. It's certainly not useless though.
    • Totem Embodiment (Su)
      Oh man this is awesome. Double essentia cap and invested essentia of all soulmelds bound to your totem chakra. To be honest it's rather underwhelming at level 20 (it's a million miles from level 9 spells anyway), but still certainly useful.


    Stat priority?
    Spoiler
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    It depends on what niche you want to fill. Click on the spoiler beneath, "Sample point-buys for various niche-fillers"

    Floor, ceiling?
    Spoiler
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    The best way to give an idea of what these phrases mean are the following: Wizards have a low floor and high ceiling while Warblades have a high floor and low ceiling. A poorly made Wizard sucks hard (low floor), while an optimized Wizard can do anything (high ceiling). But for a Warblade, poorly chosen maneuvers don't shaft you really hard because you're still good at smacking things (high floor), whereas no matter how much optimizing you do a Warblade will never do much outside of combat (low ceiling). Then again they can do ridiculous amounts of damage as an uber charger.

    So what about Totemist? Fortunately you always know all your soulmelds, so if you shape and bind the wrong soulmelds you're only 9 hours away from fixing that problem. Poor race and feat choice can mess you up. Like the Warblade you can do a lot of damage, but won't be doing much beyond damage (at least not relative to Wizards, but they have a good few options).

    Totemist has high floor, low ceiling.

    What tier is a Totemist anyway?
    They're usually regarded as tier 3. Capable of doing one thing quite well (melee), but being able to contribute meaningfully in other areas. I think of them as being mid tier 3 with 9 hours advanced notice, and tier 4 otherwise.

    What levels do Totemists shine?
    A Totemist isn't really a Totemist at level 1. Getting access to their totem chakra at level 2 is when they become awesome (honestly, relative to other classes level 2 is perhaps the single best level for a Totemist since that's their biggest power and versatility jump). As Person_Man said,
    Spoiler
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    Quote Originally Posted by Person_Man View Post
    Cool things a Totemist can do:
    • LOTS of natural attacks which are easy to boost and Pounce.
    • You can easily boost many commonly used Skills by +6 to +10 for minimal effort.
    • Super Grapple checks via Girillion Arms.
    • Blink Shirt bound to Totem is at will, move action Dimension Door. Thus you can use a Standard Action, then Dimension Door, EVERY TURN. You never run out of Power Points, and you never have to "refresh" a maneuver. (And you can do it at level 2).
    • Frost Helm bound to Totem gives you at will area of effect Stun ability. (Remember that enemies also drop their weapons when Stunned).
    • Gorgon Mask bound tot Totem gives you at will Stone to Flesh. (Only effects 1 enemy and lasts one round, but that's long enough for an ally to Sunder that enemy, so it's basically Save or Lose).
    • Shadow Mantle bound to Shoulders gives you (weird, poorly worded) continuous Greater Invisibility.
    • Phase Cloak bound to Shoulders makes you Ethereal when you move. (Avoid AoO, can move through walls, flight, etc).
    • Shedu Crown bound to Crown gives Telepathy.
    • Brood Keeper's Heart (Dragon Magazine 350 pg 86) bound to Heart gives you the Swarm template.
    • Various breath weapon options (weaker then DFA, but useful for most other builds).
    • Manticore Belt bound to Totem gives you a fairly decent ranged attack.
    • Many of your coolest abilities kick in at level 1 or 2. This includes various situational things which are very useful at level 1, like Trample, Die Hard, the equivalent of heavy armor, immunity to Flanking,+15 movement speed, Evasion, and most of the natural weapon options.

    There's lots of other situational things I'm too lazy to list out here. The point is that it's a very well rounded class (melee, mobilility, ranged attack, area of effect, Save or Lose) and that most of his abilities are passive/always on, which means that it stacks well in Gestalt.

    They continue to get power upgrades, in particular at level 9 when they can take the Double Chakra feat. This lets you bind one more soulmeld to your totem chakra, having 2 total.
    A pure Totemist does a decent job keeping up with other melee classes their entire career, but naturally casters outperform them at higher levels.

    What niches can a Totemist fill?
    Spoiler
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    To understand what I mean by niche, read Person_Man's Niche Ranking System.
    • Excellent: Essentially, Totemists have 2 niches which they can fit exceptionally well (though one depends on rules interpretation). In particular, Totemists are excellent at filling the Melee Damage niche with only slight optimization, and thanks to Manticore Belt, are (I would venture to say) equally as excellent at filling the Ranged Damage niche. HOWEVER, it takes a fair amount more optimization for the latter, and there are two catches: first, if your DM rules it's not a weapon, it really sucks; second, if your DM rules it's a weapon but not a natural weapon, it optimizes well, but not as well as it could.
      Totemists can do a bit with their breath weapons, but will not be as good as Dragonfire Adepts or Dragon Shamans. You can still pull tricks with metabreath feats, but it's like putting a square peg in a round hole. Totemist *can* do it, but if that's your goal, don't roll a Totemist.
    • Respectable: There is one more niche which Totemists do quite well at: Mobility. Totemists have *several* soulmelds which enhance mobility in some way or another.
    • Mediocre: Totemists can do a decent job at Debuffing, but only a decent job. Similarly for being a Meat Shield. They have lots of Con, can get decent AC and a little miss chance, but they lack the really good stuff.
    • Bad: There are some things which pure Totemists can... kind of do. Battlefield Control, Curiosity, Party Face, Sage, Scout, Thief. They make good grapplers, but that's grappling. In particular, the party face role mostly applies to animals (they get a little held in the Intimidate department, but not much).
      A Rogue/Totemist/Umbral Disciple makes a great sneak, but the pure Totemist will be passable at best.
    • Ain't happenin': Totemists simply cannot fill the rest of the niches.


    Sample point-buys for various niche-fillers
    Spoiler
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    I originally called it, "Sample point-buys for various archetypes," then I realized... No, not the PF archetypes.

    Face basher
    Most pure Totemists focus on getting a great deal or natural weapons (at least in my mind) then laying the smack down. For these Totemists stats should be as follows:
    • Str>Con>Dex>Wis>Int>Cha

    Con is very important to Totemists, but don't optimize it at the expense of Str in particular. Without high Con you can't shape all your soulmelds, but without high Str you won't be hitting anything or doing any damage. It's also good to have some Wis for that crappy Will save and Dex for AC and Ref save (and initiative and skills). Here are some sample point buys:
    • (30 pb) 16 12 16 10 12 8
    • (32 pb) 16 14 16 10 12 8

    HOWEVER, even if you're not Manticore Belt you can more or less safely dump Str due to Weapon Finesse or binding Bloodtalons or Kruthik Claws to the hands chakra (level 5, most likely, though you don't get your second bind until level 6). Of course you miss out on a lot of +Str to damage, but if you have like a DFI Bard or something then that's not a big deal. Note they say you have Weapon Finesse for natural weapons, so check if it counts for unarmed strikes (I think it does). You deal quite a bit less damage, naturally, but by pumping Dex you get more AC, initiative, better Ref save, potentially more AoO's, skills (thanks to Person_Man for this suggestion).
    • Dex>Con>>Wis>Int=Str>Cha

    Here are some sample point buys (you don't want a penalty to Str, so adjust accordingly based on racials):
    • (30 pb) 10 16 16 10 14 8
    • (32 pb) 10 18 16 10 10 8


    Manticore Belt
    For Manticore Belt, you add half your Str to each spike for damage. Again, it's not good to have a negative Str. However, since you only add half your modifier, and it only adds to damage, you don't get great returns. Most of your damage will be coming from things like Heart of Fire or DFI (if you have a DFI Bard). For stats, probably have Int and Str be 10, hence the equal sign.
    • Dex>Con>>Wis>Int=Str>Cha

    Here are some sample point buys:
    • (30 pb) 10 16 16 10 14 8
    • (32 pb) 10 18 16 10 10 8


    Sneak
    Remember pure Totemists don't make good sneaks, but something like a Rogue/Totemist/Umbral Disciple makes a great sneak. It's really quite a neat combo, loading up on natural attacks and doing lots of SA. You can either take Str or leave it, but... taking Str spreads you pretty thin, so I'll write it up for leaving it.
    • Dex>Con>Int>Str>Cha

    If you're going to UMD, you obviously want higher Cha. Here are some sample point buys (again you don't want a penalty to Str, so adjust accordingly based on racials):
    • (30 pb) 10 18 14 12 10 8
    • (32 pb) 10 18 14 14 10 8


    Soulmeld ability spammer
    Here we're talking abilities which have a save, like Basilisk Mask. Here... it's hard to say. It depends on what else you want to do. You can leave Str at 8 if you plan on doing no melee, or get it to 14 or something. The only guideline here is to get Con to 18.

    Animal tamer
    Like with Soulmeld ability spammer, the only guideline is to get your Cha to 18. With your Wild Empathy class feature, +2+2/essentia competence from Unicorn Horn shaped to brow, +2+2/essentia insight from Beast Tamer Circlet shaped to crown, +4 from class feature if the creature is the same as the one associated with your Totem bind... that's some good Wild Empathy. This was suggested by Person_Man suggested. Then go Beast Heart Adept and ask your DM nicely if your bonuses apply to Monster Empathy.

    General Totemist-playing guidelines
    Simply put, Totemists have 2 major paths they can try to walk:
    1. Get pounce, a bunch of natural attacks and bash faces.
    2. Optimize Manticore Belt and fling spikes in people's faces.

    But this is oversimplifying it. Totemists can also be great defensively, and at certain levels they have other nifty tricks. Let's talk about that.
    Spoiler
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    • Totemists can make good uberchargers. Not the best uberchargers, but good uberchargers. The problem is ubercharging typically takes a 2-handed weapon and 4 feats: Power Attack, Leap Attack, Improved Bull Rush and Shock Trooper. This is a problem because Totemists like to have their hands free for claws/slams/spines/whatever, and Totemists don't have many feats to spare. Oh, and you have less BAB to PA with. The upside is that you can wield a morningstar or whatever and still get your iteratives and all unoccupied natural weapons on a full attack.
      That's the typical way to ubercharge. A Totemist can still get pounce, load up on natural attacks, and use soulmelds which increase charging damage, and still do the usual Leap Attack Shock Trooper business. The returns from PA won't be nearly as good, but still, it's respectable.
    • At lower levels Yrthak Mask is good for ranged damage. The sweet spot is level 2. 1 feat on Enhanced Soulmeld Capacity, play as a MoI race, shape Yrthak Mask on your brow (designate it for your Enhanced Soulmeld Capacity), bind it to your totem, put 3 essentia into it, 3d6 sonic damage every other round. Well, that's passable for level 2 at least. Unfortunately it doesn't improve until 6th level to 4d6 damage every other turn which is almost laughable. At least sonic damage is good.
    • If you're going the face-basher route again look at Person_Man's ways to get extra attacks, natural attacks and AoO's. Soulmelds only take you so far. Grafts, feats, etc. take you the rest of the way.
    • Basilisk Mask is an amazing save-or-lose effect at level 2. Petrify something, your buddy sunders it before your next round. With pumped up Con and Ability Focus (if your DM lets it) you can get the saving throw DC very high for level 2 (easily over 20).


    Increasing your number of natural attacks
    Spoiler
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    It is important to understand that you shouldn't get all of your natural weapons from soulmelds. Good Totemists get natural weapons from their race, their feats, their items and their soulmelds (and maybe even other sources, like their buddies casting spells on them). Then once you have an adequate/absurd number of natural attacks you need to make them stronger.

    You can get at most 10 (or 9 if your DM is a stickler) natural attacks from Totemist soulmelds alone. Throw in Astral Vambraces, possibly up to 12. And this happens at level 9. It seems to me there are two ways to do it. You have to use the 3 attacks from Threefold Mask of the Chimera as your primary, by the way.
    • Option 1, requires the tail from Dragon Tail being ruled as a natural weapon, and the slams from Astral Vambraces not messing with your claws. Be Totemist 9 and take Double Chakra feat and Shape Soulmeld (Astral Vambraces). Shape Girallon Arms to Arms, bind it to Totem (4 claws). Shape Threefold Mask of the Chimera to Crown or Soul, bind to Totem (2 bites and 1 gore). Shape Chaos Roc's Span to Shoulders (2 buffets). Either be Dragonblooded (that is, have the Dragonblood subtype) or pick up a feat to give you said subtype (Dragontouched from Dragon Magic), shape Dragon Tail to Feet or Waist (1 tail). Shape and bind Astral Vambraces to Hands (2 slams). Note the text, "If you use a weapon in one hand, you can use your other hand to deal a slam attack as a secondary natural weapon." This suggests (but does not imply) you can use your slam as a secondary natural weapon if you do not have a weapon in that hand. A claw does not count as a weapon *in* your hand (and Curmudgeon confirmed this here). It's still not clear to me by RAW if you can do both claws and both slams. Up to 12 attacks.
    • Option 2, requires the claws from Claws of the Wyrm and tail from Dragon Tail being ruled as a natural weapon, and same for Astral Vambraces as above. Be Totemist 9 and take Double Chakra feat and Shape Soulemld (Astral Vambraces) feat. Shape Lamia Belt to Waist, bind it to Totem (2 claws on lower body). Shape Threefold Mask of the Chimera to Crown or Soul, bind to Totem (2 bites and 1 gore). Shape Chaos Roc's Span to Shoulders (2 buffets). Again get Dragonblood subtype, shape Claws of the Wyrm to Arms (2 claws on upper body). Shape Dragon Tail to Feet or Waist (1 tail). Again, Astral Vambraces to Hands (2 slams). 12 attacks.

    It seems option 1 is better since it takes 1 fewer soulmelds (4 rather than 5). Keep in mind the buffet attacks can't be done on adjacent foes, so you can't charge and use them all on the same foe, for example. There is an option 3 which requires level 12, namely taking Double Chakra twice, once for Totem and once for Shoulders. Then shape both Displacer Mantle and Chaos Roc's Span to Shoulders, bind Displacer Mantle to Shoulders. Then Claws of the Wyrm, Dragon Tail, Threefold Mask of the Chimera. 2+2+2+1+3+2=12 again.

    If you only want 8 natural attacks, this can happen as early as level 4. Needs 4 soulmeld to be shaped, 1 to be bound.
    • Requires the claws from Claws of the Wyrm and tail from Dragon Tail being ruled as a natural weapon. Shape Threefold Mask of the Chimera to Crown or Soul, bind to Totem (2 bites and 1 gore). Shape Chaos Roc's Span to Shoulders (2 buffets). Again get Dragonblood subtype, shape Claws of the Wyrm to Arms or Hands (2 claws on upper body). Shape Dragon Tail to Feet or Waist (1 tail). 8 attacks.

    If you're okay with 7 natural attacks, this can happen at level 2. Simply follow the above but don't shape Dragon Tail. You shape 3 (Threefold Mask of the Chimera, Claws of the Wyrm and Chaos Roc's Span) and bind 1 (the mask). Beyond that... at level 1 you can shape Claws of the Wyrm and Chaos Roc's Span for 4.

    In order to get more natural weapons, check out posts 6 and 7 and 8, namely races, feats and gear.

    Lots of natural attacks at low levels:
    • Level 1
      • Warforged with Jaws of Death, 1 flaw for Dragontouched (need 11 Cha), shape Claws of the Wyrm and Chaos Roc's Span. Slam, bite, claw 1, claw 2, 5-foot step, wing 1, wing 2. 6 attacks.
      • If you don't want to 5-foot step instead shape Dragon Tail, but drops you down to 5 attacks.
      • Kobold with web enhancement, shape Dragon Tail and Chaos Roc's Span. Bite, tail, claw 1, claw 2, 5-foot step, wing 1, wing 2. 6 attacks.
    • Level 2
      • Warforged with Dragontouched (need 11 Cha), shape Claws of the Wyrm, Chaos Roc's Span, Threefold Mask of the Chimera, bind the latter to your totem chakra. Primary bite 1, bite 2, gore, secondary slam, claw 1, claw 2, 5-foot step, wing 1, wing 2. 8 attacks.
      • If you don't want to 5-foot step instead bind Dragon Tail, but drops you down to 7 attacks.
      • Warforged with Jaws of Death and Dragontouched, shape Claws of the Wyrm, Chaos Roc's Span, Girallon Arms, bind the latter to your totem chakra. Primary claw 1, secondary claw 2, claw 3, claw 4, bite, slam, 5-foot step, wing 1, wing 2. 8 attacks.
      • If you don't want to 5-foot step instead bind Dragon Tail, but drops you down to 7 attacks.
    • Level 3
      • Anthropomorphic Giant Octopus 2/Totemist 1. 6 racial tentacle attacks, 1 bite. With 2 flaws, take Aberrant Blood, Inhuman Reach, Deepspawn (2 more tentacles), Dragontouched. Shape Dragon Tail (1 tail) and Chaos Roc's Span (2 buffets, reach). 10 attacks, 5 foot step (or not, if you start 5' away, due to Inhuman Reach), 2 more. 12 attacks.
    • Level 4
      • Anthropomorphic Giant Octopus 2/Totemist 2. Like above, but shape and bind Girallon Arms. 2 more claws, 14 attacks total.

      Warning: everyone you play with might hate you when you take 5 minutes to make 14 attacks. Every round.


    Homebrew/Alternate Rules
    Perusing the boards you hear some complaints about MoI. First of all, it has very little support (very, very little, like a tiny bit in Dragon Magic, even tinier bit in Dragon Magazine 350, a little in Mind's Eye). People also complain about various mechanics. This section addresses both of those.
    Homebrew
    Spoiler
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    First we address the very-little-support problem. Wouldn't it be nice to have more Soulmelds to choose from? Or more PrC's? It would be nice, and these come in the form of homebrew.

    A word of caution, of course. Homebrew varies from more broken than Truenamer to more broken than Incantatrix. When I provide a link for homebrew, I'll try to make a comment on its relative power level (relative to official, published material).

    Before anything else, here is the Homebrew Compendium. It's still updated, somewhat surprisingly. Just Ctrl+F "Incarn" and you can find all sorts of goodies.


    Alternate Rules Worth Considering
    Spoiler
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    The material presented below is supposed to address certain, let's say, shortcomings of MoI as-written.

    However, one must tread carefully. First of all, there's the saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." MoI is, indeed, not broken, at least not any more than the rest of 3.5. Lots of people use it as it is, and enjoy it just fine.

    Then again, there are those who use MoI as it is and don't quite enjoy it just fine, perhaps because meldshaper can't keep up with CoDzilla or the like. Then there are those who are open to rule modifications. If you are of the latter sort, I suggest reading on, though this calls for a second word of caution: altering any basic rule will potentially have undesirable consequences. I shall try to present the issue, potential fix(es), and ramifications of said fix(es).
    • Problem: Save DC's of soulmeld abilities simply don't keep up.
      More specifically, 10+modifier+essentia for soulmelds is supposed to model 10+modifier+spell level for spells, but the problems are twofold: the max essentia you can have invested will certainly be lower than spell level, and there are many feats and class features which increase save DC's of spells, but meldshaper don't enjoy the same options.
      • Potential solution 1: Alter the save DC to 10+modifier+meldshaper level/2.
        Thoughts: This will keep the save DC's on par with a pure Sorcerer's. Unfortunately, this takes one of the main benefits of having essentia invested.
      • Potential solution 2: Alter the save DC to 10+modifier+essentia+meldshaper level/2.
        Thoughts: Strictly better than what's printed in MoI. You could also make it +meldshaper level/3 or something. In any case, this will allow meldshapers who like to use abilities granted by soulmelds (rather than, say, natural weapons and defensive abilities) to keep up with pure casters on their save DC's.
      • Potential solution 3: Increase essentia cap to HD/2, minimum 1.
        Thoughts: More on this below.
    • Problem: Much as the save DC's lag further and further behind as you gain levels, the blasty soulmelds can't keep up with casters or otherwise. Not that casters are meant to be blasters, but a Sorc will be muuuuuch better at blasting than any meldshaper. And DFA will have better breath weapons.
      • Potential solution 1: Increase essentia cap in some manner, potentially to HD/2, minimum 1.
        Thoughts: This makes Totemists into contenders in the blasting game. Several of the soulmelds which bind to Throat give a breath weapon, often 2d6+1d6/essentia damage. With putting 10 essentia in, that's 12d6 damage at level 20, more than base for DFA or Dragon Shaman (although for Totemists, either the range or the recharge rate is crap, and they lack the flexibility of DFA and Dragon Shaman). Still, it's much more viable.
      • Potential solution 2: Somehow modify the mechanics of the blasty soulmelds.
        Thoughts: I'm open to suggestions. If you don't want to modify essentia cap, I'm not sure how to do this.
    • Problem: Essentia cap scales terribly (1 for 1-5 HD, 2 for 6-11, 3 for 12-17, 4 for 18-20, then for epic it's ONE EVERY TEN LEVELS, which is so pathetic I didn't want to mention it).
      • Potential solution 1: Make it HD/2, minimum 1.
        Thoughts: As mentioned above, this would fix the save DC problem. It makes it much easier to calculate, and makes meldshapers strictly more powerful.
        Ramifications: Abusable with the Necrocarnate/Vivicarnate oil-on-anthill trick or Soul Boon. It also makes feats with the [Incarnum] tag much more useful, as well as racial abilities and class abilities. For example, an Umbral Disciple would be able to get 100% concealment at level 20. Also, at level 20 you could put 12 essentia into, say, Girallon Arms, for +12 to attack and damage on 4 claws. Then the Totemist capstone doubles this for ridiculousness (though it still doesn't hold a candle to level 9's). This might sound game breaking, but keep in mind these numbers are at level 20, where any semblance of balance has long been discarded.
      • Potential solution 2: Make it HD/3, minimum 1.
        Thoughts: Just like above, but slower growth, obviously. Hit 2 the same time you normally would (level 6), then it grows faster than the MoI progression. Other ramifications remain similar.
      • Potential solution 3: Make it the max of manifester level/2 and what's in MoI.
        Thoughts: Like solution 1, but only benefits pure (or almost pure) meldshapers. Alternatively, go the max of manifest level/3 and what's in MoI.
    • While it's contained above, it's worth reiterating that epic essentia capacity is a freakin' joke.
    • Since essentia cap is based on HD rather than meldshaper level, it seems clear that the MoI classes are designed to be multiclass friendly. However, effects which depend on meldshaper level (like how easily they're dispelled or Necrocarnum Zombie HD, see the bottom of post 1) do not like multiclassing. I would suggest calculating meldshaper level like initiator level.
    • The whole essentia-is-locked-into-feats thing is really stupid. Consider ditching it.
    • If you want to go pure Totemist into Necrocarnate, you're kind of shafted by RAW. You need Necrocarnum Acolyte feat, which is fine, but it only lets you shape Necrocarnum feats unrestrictedly: you do not actually learn them, so to speak. So you can blow Shape Soulmeld to pick them up one at a time, but then your meldshaper level for them is only half your character level, which hurts very badly for, say, making Necrocarnum Zombies.
      Long story short: let Necrocarnum Acolyte add the Necrocarnum soulmelds to Totemist soulmelds.
    • Azure Toughness counts as Toughness regarding prereq's. Same for Midnight Dodge and Dodge. Why not Cerulean Fortitude for Great Fortitude? And Cerulean Reflexes for Lightning Reflexes? And Cerulean Will for Iron Will?
    Last edited by danzibr; 2015-08-16 at 06:11 AM.
    My one and only handbook: My Totemist Handbook
    My one and only homebrew: Book of Flux
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    A comment on tiers, by Prime32
    Quote Originally Posted by KillianHawkeye View Post
    As a DM, I deal with character death by cheering and giving a fist pump, or maybe a V-for-victory sign. I would also pat myself on the back, but I can't really reach around like that.
      /l、
    ゙(゚、 。 7
     l、゙ ~ヽ
     じしf_, )ノ

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    Default Re: Another Totemist Handbook (WIP, please wait to post until the Builds post)

    3: Soulmelds

    Table 1: list of all Totemist soulmelds, sorted alphabetically. Note giantitp has the nice feature of changing how they're sorted based on column. In other words, you can sort by chakra or level.
    Spoiler
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    Name Chakra Shape Effect Invest Bonus (Shape) Bind Effect Invest Bonus (Bind) lvl
    Ankheg Breastplate
    throat
    +2 armor bonus to AC
    +1/essentia armor bonus to AC
    1/minute spit line of acid, 5 feet, 2d6 acid damage, Ref half
    +5 feet/essentia and +1d6 acid damage/essentia
    14
    Ankheg Breastplate
    totem
    -
    -
    gain natural weapon 1 bite, 1d8 damage
    +1d4/essentia acid damage on bite
    2
    Basilisk Mask
    brow
    low-light vision
    darkvision 30 ft/essentia
    gain benefit of Blind-Fight
    n/a
    9
    Basilisk Mask
    totem
    -
    -
    full round action, gaze 1 creature within 30 ft. as Flesh to Stone but 1 round, Fort negates
    n/a
    2
    Beast Tamer Circlet
    crown
    +2 insight to Handle Animal and Wild Empathy
    +2 more/essentia
    speak with animals the spell, also magical beasts with Int 1 or 2, needs at least 1 essentia
    at least 1 needed for bind effect
    5
    Beast Tamer Circlet
    totem
    -
    -
    Animal Trance the spell usable 1/minute, lasts concentration up to 1 min/meldshaper level, needs at least 1 essentia
    at least 1 needed for bind effect
    2
    Behir Gorget
    throat
    +4 to resist being bull rushed or tripped
    resist electricity 5/essentia
    standard action 1/minute 5 ft. line of lightning, 2d6 electricity damage, Ref half
    +5 ft. and 1d6 electricity damage/essentia
    14
    Behir Gorget
    totem
    -
    -
    gain natural weapon 1 bite, 1d8 damage
    +1d4 electricity damage on bite/essentia
    2
    Blink Shirt
    heart
    standard action teleport 10 ft. as dimension door, only self, ends turn
    +10 ft./essentia
    use blink spell with CL=meldshaper level
    n/a
    17
    Blink Shirt
    totem
    -
    -
    use dimension door ability as move action
    n/a
    2
    Bloodtalons
    hands
    act normally at 0 to -9 hit points
    +2 unnamed bonus to Spot/essentia
    gain benefit of Weapon Finesse with natural weapons
    n/a
    5
    Bloodtalons
    totem
    -
    -
    gain natural weapon 2 claws, 1d4 damage
    +1 bleeding (undead immune) damage and +1 enhancement bonus to attack/essentia
    2
    Brass Mane
    throat
    +4 competence to Intimidate
    +2 more/essentia
    standard action 1/minute roar, all except dragonnes within 10 ft. Will or be fatigued
    +10 ft./essentia
    14
    Brass Mane
    totem
    -
    -
    gain natural weapon 1 bite, 1d8 damage
    +1 enhancement to attack and damage/essentia
    2
    Disenchanter Mask
    brow
    standard action to use detect magic the spell, range of 10 ft., 1/round
    +10 ft./essentia
    when using detect magic, determine number, strength and location of each magical aura
    n/a
    9
    Disenchanter Mask
    totem
    -
    -
    standard action to make a melee touch attack at normal reach +5 ft., can suppress a magic item
    n/a
    2
    Displacer Mantle
    shoulders
    +4 competence to Hide
    +2 more/essentia
    gain concealment as blur, true seeing overcomes it, see invisiblity does not
    n/a
    9
    Displacer Mantle
    totem
    -
    -
    gain 2 tentacles****, 1d4 damage, normal reach +5 ft., can't AoO
    +1 enhancement damage/essentia
    2
    Dread Carapace
    arms
    PA +2 damage/-1 attack bite, +1 damage/-1 damage for other natural weapons
    1 more PA/essentia
    threat range of natural weapons doubled
    n/a
    9
    Dread Carapace
    feet
    PA +2 damage/-1 attack bite, +1 damage/-1 damage for other natural weapons
    1 more PA/essentia
    1/minute enhancement bonus of +60 ft. to speed
    +10 more ft./essentia
    5
    Dread Carapace
    heart
    PA +2 damage/-1 attack bite, +1 damage/-1 damage for other natural weapons
    1 more PA/essentia
    SR 5
    +4 SR/essentia
    17
    Dread Carapace
    totem
    -
    -
    when charge all enemies within 60 ft. shaken for 1 round, Will negates
    n/a
    2
    Frost Helm
    crown
    tolerate -50 to 90 degrees
    resist cold 5/essentia
    standard action ranged touch attack, range ???, 1d6 cold damage
    +1d6 cold damage/essentia
    5
    Frost Helm
    totem
    -
    -
    standard action stun single opponent within 20 ft. for 1d4 rounds, Will negates, frost worms immune
    +1 creature/essentia
    2
    Girallon Arms
    arms
    +2 competence to Climb and grapple
    +2 more/essentia
    rend when you hit with 2 claws (from any source)
    n/a
    9
    Girallon Arms
    totem
    -
    -
    gain natural weapons 4 claws (behave strangely), 1d4 damage
    +1 enhancement to attack and damage/essentia
    2
    Gorgon Mask
    throat
    +1 resistance to Fortitude, +2 resistance to bull rushed, tripped, overrun or trampled
    +1 more/essentia
    standard action 1/day Flesh to Stone on an adjacent foe
    n/a
    14
    Gorgon Mask
    totem
    -
    -
    full-round action trample attack, 1d8 damage
    n/a
    2
    Great Raptor Mask
    brow
    +2 competence to Spot
    +2 more/essentia
    gain low-light vision but 5x as far
    n/a
    9
    Great Raptor Mask
    totem
    -
    -
    gain evasion
    n/a
    2
    Heart of Fire
    waist
    +1 insight to attack and damage v. cold
    +1 more/essentia
    people attacking take 1d6 fire damage if unarmed, weapons take half
    n/a
    14
    Heart of Fire
    totem
    -
    -
    natural weapons and end-of-turn-grappling do extra 0d4 fire damage
    +1d4 more/essentia
    2
    Hunter's Circlet
    crown
    +2 insight to Heal and Survival
    +2 more/essentia
    gain benefits of Track
    n/a
    5
    Hunter's Circlet
    totem
    -
    -
    detect opponents within 15 ft. by smell, full-round action to identify direction, +4 competence to survival when involving smell
    n/a
    2
    Kraken Mantle
    arms
    +8 competence to Swim, swim faster
    +5 ft. to swim/essentia
    with successful grapple check 1d8+Str bludgeoning damage
    +1 unnamed to grapple/essentia
    9
    Kraken Mantle
    totem
    -
    -
    breathe water as if water breathing
    n/a
    2
    Krenshar Mask
    brow
    +4 competence to Jump and Move Silently
    +2 more/essentia
    +4 competence to Intimidate
    +2 more/essentia
    9
    Krenshar Mask
    totem
    -
    -
    standard action to frighten 1 creature within 30 ft. for 1 round, Will negates
    n/a
    2
    Kruthik Claws
    hands
    +4 competence to Hide and Move Silently
    +2 more/essentia
    gain benefit of Weapon Finesse with natural weapons
    n/a
    5
    Kruthik Claws
    shoulders
    +4 competence to Hide and Move Silently
    +2 more/essentia
    gain acid resist 10
    +5 more/essentia
    9
    Kruthik Claws
    totem
    -
    -
    gain natural weapon 2 claws, 1d6 damage
    +1d4 acid damage/essentia
    2
    Lamia Belt
    waist
    +4 competence to Bluff and Hide
    +2 more/essentia
    +10 enhancement to land speed and gain benefit of Spring Attack
    n/a
    14
    Lamia Belt
    totem
    -
    -
    gain natural weapon 2 claws, lower body, 1d4 damage
    n/a
    2
    Lammasu Mantle
    arms
    +2 deflection to AC v. evil
    +1 resistance to saves v. evil/essentia
    deflection and resistance bonus applies to all allies in 10 ft.
    n/a
    9
    Lammasu Mantle
    shoulders
    +2 deflection to AC v. evil
    +1 resistance to saves v. evil/essentia
    only good summoned creatures can come within 10 ft.
    n/a
    9
    Lammasu Mantle
    totem
    -
    -
    standard action breathe 15 ft. cone of fire, 1d4 fire damage, Ref half
    +1d4 fire damage/essentia
    2
    Landshark Boots
    feet
    +4 competence to Jump
    +2 more/essentia
    move action (while touching ground) to sense number and direction of creatures touching ground within 10 ft.
    +5 ft./essentia
    5
    Landshark Boots
    totem
    -
    -
    gain natural weapon 2 claws, 1d6 damage, if 5-ft. jump in move action can attack with 4 claws as a standard action but can't use any other weapons
    +1 enhancement attack and damage/essentia
    2
    Manticore Belt
    waist
    +2 enhancement to Jump and Spot
    +2 more/essentia
    gain clumsy flight 0 ft. and Flyby Attack
    +10 ft./essentia
    14
    Manticore Belt
    totem
    -
    -
    standard action to release a volley of 0 spikes, range increment of 30 ft., max 150, ranged attack, 1d6 damage
    +1 spike/essentia
    2
    Pegasus Cloak
    shoulders
    gain feather fall at all times, +2 enhancement to Jump
    +2 more/essentia
    gain average flight 0 ft.
    +10 ft./essentia
    9
    Pegasus Cloak
    totem
    -
    -
    gain average flight 0 ft. but must begin and end on a solid surface
    +10 ft./essentia
    2
    Phase Cloak
    shoulders
    +4 competence to Climb, can always take 10 on Climb, keep Dex to AC while climbing
    +2 more/essentia
    if you move at least 5 ft., can become ethereal during movement
    n/a
    9
    Phase Cloak
    totem
    -
    -
    gain 1 bite attack****, 1d4 damage with poison (1d3 Con primary, no secondary, Fort negates)
    +1 enhancement to attack (and DC)/essentia
    2
    Phoenix Belt
    waist
    tolerate 40 to 140 degrees
    gain resist fire 5/essentia
    damage negated from resist fire becomes fast healing
    n/a
    14
    Phoenix Belt
    totem
    -
    -
    standard action to deal 0 fire damage to adjacent creatures, Ref half
    +1d6 fire damage/essentia
    2
    Rageclaws
    hands
    act normally from 0 to -9 hit points
    increase hit point range to act normally by 3/essentia
    if negative hit points gain +2 morale to melee attack and damage and Fort saves
    n/a
    5
    Rageclaws
    totem
    -
    -
    gain natural weapon 2 claws, 1d6 damage, can attack with both while grappling
    +1 enhancement to attack and damage/essentia
    2
    Riding Bracers
    arms
    +4 insight to Handle Animal and Ride
    +2 more/essentia
    +2 insight to melee damage and +2 dodge to AC while mounted
    n/a
    9
    Riding Bracers
    totem
    -
    -
    if riding magical animal, handle as free or push as move and mount gains evasion
    n/a
    2
    Shadow Mantle
    shoulders
    +4 competence to Listen
    +2 more/essentia
    swift action to make 0 ft. radius orb of darkness, you are invisible to creatures inside unless they can pierce magical darkness, gain blindsight same radius, must be able to hear
    +5 ft./essentia
    9
    Shadow Mantle
    totem
    -
    -
    +4 competence to Hide
    +2 more/essentia
    2
    Shedu Crown
    crown
    immune to being pushed back by bull rush
    +1 competence to saves v. mind-affecting/essentia
    communicate telepathically with any creature within 100 ft.
    n/a
    5
    Shedu Crown
    heart
    immune to being pushed back by bull rush
    +1 competence to saves v. mind-affecting/essentia
    standard action to shift from material to ethereal plane for meldshaper level rounds, back as free
    n/a
    17
    Shedu Crown
    totem
    -
    -
    gain trample attack, 1d8 damage
    n/a
    2
    Sphinx Claws
    hands
    +1 competence to Strength checks and Strength-based skills
    +1 more/essentia
    pounce for natural weapons
    n/a
    5
    Sphinx Claws
    totem
    -
    -
    gain natural weapon 2 claws, 1d8 damage
    +1 enhancement to attack and damage/essentia
    2
    Threefold Mask of the Chimera
    crown
    can't be flanked
    +1 competence to Search and Spot/essentia
    at end of turn take extra move action at -5 to AC and attack
    reduce penalty by 1/essentia
    5
    Threefold Mask of the Chimera
    soul
    can't be flanked
    +1 competence to Search and Spot/essentia
    at end of turn take extra standard action at -5 to AC and attack
    reduce penalty by 1/essentia
    Threefold Mask of the Chimera
    totem
    -
    -
    gain natural weapon 1 bite, 1d8 damage, 1 bite, 1d6 damage, 1 gore, 1d6 damage, all primary or one secondary
    n/a
    2
    Totem Avatar
    arms
    gain bonus hit points = manifester level
    +1 enhancement to natural AC/essentia
    gain benefit of Improved Grapple
    n/a
    9
    Totem Avatar
    feet
    gain bonus hit points = manifester level
    +1 enhancement to natural AC/essentia
    stable as if four-legged and 1 size category larger, +8 to resist bull rush, trip, overrun
    n/a
    5
    Totem Avatar
    heart
    gain bonus hit points = manifester level
    +1 enhancement to natural AC/essentia
    DR 5/magic
    +1 DR/essentia
    17
    Totem Avatar
    shoulders
    gain bonus hit points = manifester level
    +1 enhancement to natural AC/essentia
    natural weapons deal damage as if 1 size category larger
    n/a
    9
    Totem Avatar
    totem
    -
    -
    +0 morale bonus to damage on natural weapons
    +1 more/essentia
    2
    Unicorn Horn
    brow
    +2 competence to Wild Empathy and Move Silently
    +2 more/essentia
    standard action to detect evil, 1/round
    n/a
    9
    Unicorn Horn
    totem
    -
    -
    gain natural weapon 1 gore, 1d6 damage, extra 1d6 v. undead
    +1 enhancement to attack and damage/essentia
    2
    Urskan Greaves
    feet
    move ice and snow at normal speed, +5 unnamed bonus to Balance on ice
    resist cold 5/essentia
    extra 0d4 untyped damage when charging
    +1d4 damage/essentia
    5
    Urskan Greaves
    totem
    -
    -
    when overrun target can't avoid you, +2 unnamed to Str check to knock down
    +1 more/essentia
    2
    Winter Mask
    throat
    standard action (?) to melee touch attack to make target become fatigued, Fort negates
    +1d4 cold damage/essentia
    standard action to breathe 15-ft. cone of cold, once every 1d4 rounds, 2d6 cold damage, Ref half
    +2d6 damage/essentia
    14
    Winter Mask
    totem
    -
    -
    gain 1 bite attack****, 1d6 damage
    +1d4 cold damage/essentia
    2
    Worg Pelt
    feet
    +2 competence to Hide and Move Silently
    +2 more/essentia
    +5 to base land speed
    +5 more/essentia
    5
    Worg Pelt
    hands
    +2 competence to Hide and Move Silently
    +2 more/essentia
    free trip on bite
    n/a
    5
    Worg Pelt
    totem
    -
    -
    gain natural weapon 1 bite, 1d6 damage
    +1 enhancement to attack and damage/essentia
    2
    Wormtail Belt
    waist
    +2 enhancement to natural AC
    +1 more/essentia
    gain Awesome Blow feat and are treated as one size category larger when using it
    n/a
    14
    Wormtail Belt
    totem
    -
    -
    gain natural attack 1 stinger, 1d6 damage with poison (1d4 Str primary, no secondary, Fort negates), not combinable
    +1 enhancement to attack (and DC)/essentia
    2
    Yrthak Mask
    brow
    +4 competence to Listen
    +2 more/essentia
    gain 10 ft. blindsense, -4 to Spot, +4 to visual effects
    +10 ft./essentia
    9
    Yrthak Mask
    totem
    -
    -
    standard action ranged touch attack 60 ft., 0d6 sonic damage to single opponent every other round
    +1d6 sonic damage/essentia
    2
    Claws of the Wyrm*
    arms
    gain 2 claws attacks****, 1d6 damage
    +1 enhancement to attack and damage/essentia
    threat range doubles, doesn't stack with like effects
    n/a
    9
    Claws of the Wyrm*
    hands
    gain 2 claws attacks****, 1d6 damage
    +1 enhancement to attack and damage/essentia
    damage dealt by claws granted by this soulmeld improves by one step
    n/a
    5
    Claws of the Wyrm*
    totem
    -
    -
    gain climb speed, 1/2 base land speed, rounded up
    n/a
    2
    Dragon Mantle*
    heart
    +2 enhancement on Fort saves
    resistance to acid, electricity, fire and cold 3/essentia, stacks
    fast healing 0
    +1/essentia
    17
    Dragon Mantle*
    shoulders
    +2 enhancement on Fort saves
    resistance to acid, electricity, fire and cold 3/essentia, stacks
    DR 0/magic
    +1 DR/essentia, natural weapons overcome DR as if magic
    9
    Dragon Mantle*
    totem
    -
    -
    move action, fly, poor, 0 ft.
    +10 ft./level
    2
    Dragon Tail*
    feet
    gain 1 tail attack****, 1d8 damage, doesn't thretean, can't AoO, can't use while grappling
    +1 enhancement to attack and damage/essentia
    +2 competence to Balance and Swim
    +2 more/essentia
    5
    Dragon Tail*
    waist
    gain 1 tail attack****, 1d8 damage, doesn't thretean, can't AoO, can't use while grappling
    +1 enhancement to attack and damage/essentia
    tail has reach, damage 2d6+1.5*Str
    n/a
    14
    Dragon Tail*
    totem
    -
    -
    standard action, tail sweep, all adjacent foes take damage as if struck by tail, Ref half
    n/a
    2
    Dragonfire Mask*
    brow
    low-light vision
    +2 competence to Spot/essentia
    darkvision out to 60 ft. or existing darkvision +30 ft.
    n/a
    9
    Dragonfire Mask*
    throat
    low-light vision
    +2 competence to Spot/essentia
    standard action breath weapon, 30 ft. cone, 2d6 fire damage, Ref half, 1d4 round wait
    +1d6 fire damage/essentia
    14
    Dragonfire Mask*
    totem
    -
    -
    free action frightful presence 1/round, all within 10 ft. with less HD Will or shaken for 1 round
    +10 ft. to radius and 1 round/essentia
    2
    Brood Keeper's Heart**
    heart
    +4 insight to Concentration
    +2 more/essentia
    gain swarm subtype, lose armor and natural armor bonus to AC
    n/a
    17
    Brood Keeper's Heart**
    totem
    -
    -
    natural armor bonus increases by +4 when fighting defensively
    n/a
    2
    Chaos Roc's Span**
    shoulders
    gain natural weapon 2 buffets, nonlethal damage, reach (can't attack adjacent), secondary attacks, 1d4+.5*Str bludgeoning
    +1 damage/essentia
    wings deal lethal damage, if hit an opponent with both, Fort save or be dazed for 1d4 rounds, mind-affecting
    n/a
    9
    Chaos Roc's Span**
    totem
    -
    -
    full-round action, 10 ft. cone deals 1d4 damage (type determined randomly), Ref half
    +1d4 damage/essentia
    2
    Gravorg Tail**
    waist
    +4 competence to Balance
    +2 more/essentia
    use levitate as the spell, only up and down, 20 ft. per round
    +10 ft./essentia
    14
    Gravorg Tail**
    totem
    -
    -
    levitate you and every willing creature within 10 ft. only up and down, 20 ft. per round
    +10 ft./essentia
    2
    Psion-Killer Mask***
    brow
    standard action to detect psionics, range 10 ft.
    +10 ft./essentia
    when using detect psionics, instantly determine the number, strength, and location of each psionic aura
    n/a
    9
    Psion-Killer Mask***
    totem
    -
    -
    standard action, ranged touch attack, 10 ft., possibly suppress psionic item
    n/a
    2

    Explanation and other important notes regarding above table:
    Spoiler
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    • The lvl column is the earliest you can bind it if you're going straight Totemist. Remember this is just for *binding*. You can shape any soulmeld at any level.
    • * means the soulmeld comes from Dragon Magic. However,
      Quote Originally Posted by Dragon Magic, p. 83
      Only characters of the dragonblood subtype can shape a soulmeld with the draconic descriptor.
    • ** means the soulmeld comes from Dragon Magazine #350.
    • *** means the soulmeld comes from Mind's Eye.
    • **** means the attack is not stated to be a natural weapon. Read the "Important Rules" in post 2 for more on this. Ultimately, ask your DM if he/she considers it a natural weapons.
    • Regarding the “not combinable” found in the Wormtail Belt totem bind row, the text does say you get a natural weapon but explicitly says you can't use it as a secondary attack and that you can't use other natural weapons as secondary attacks with it. Disenchanter Mask is similar but the text does not say it is a natural weapon. Again refer back to the "Important Rules" found in post 2.
    • The listed damage for natural weapons is for medium.
    • If a claw slot is not mention it's on the arms. In fact, they all go on the arms except for Lamia Belt (and Landshark Boots for their jump attack thingy).
    • The – in the bind and invest columns for shape for the totem does not mean you don't get the bonus. They're supposed to mean you can't shape the soulmeld there.


    Table 2: list of other useful soulmelds.
    Spoiler
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    Name Chakra Shape Effect Invest Bonus (Shape) Bind Effect Invest Bonus (Bind) Source lvl
    Astral Vambraces
    arms
    DR 2/magic
    +2 more/essentia
    one special ability of Astral Construct menu A
    n/a
    Mind's Eye, Incarnate
    9
    Astral Vambraces
    hands
    DR 2/magic
    +2 more/essentia
    gain natural weapon 2 slams, 1d6 damage
    n/a
    Mind's Eye, Incarnate
    5
    Incarnate Avatar
    soul
    +0 insight to ranged attack if chaotic/melee damage if evil/AC if good/melee attack if lawful
    +1/2/1/1 more/essentia
    irrelevant
    n/a
    Incarnate
    -
    Sighting Gloves
    hands
    +1 insight damage with ranged weapons
    +1 more/essentia
    gain benefit of Precise Shot feat
    n/a
    Incarnate, Soulborn
    5
    Thunderstep Boots
    feet
    +1d4 sonic damage on charge
    +1d4 more/essentia
    any creature struck at end of charge is stunned for 1 round, Fort negates
    n/a
    Soulborn
    5

    Even More Soulmelds
    Spoiler
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    Here I'll talk about some non-Totemist soulmelds which are worth discussing, but not generally so important they should go in Table 2. Originally I had this under the critique of soulmelds, but exceeded the 50,000 character limit.

    For a note on Necrocarnum soulmelds, they all say, "Classes: Incarnate, soulborn." However, the feat Necrocarnum Acolyte says, "You can shape soulmelds with the necrocarnum descriptor regardless of your alignment." They're evil, so normally unless you're evil, you can't shape them. Anyway, if you want to go pure Totemist/Necrocarnate, you're kind of shafted since you have to take Necrocarnum Acolyte and Shape Soulmeld for whatever Necrocarnum soulmeld you want, and your meldshaper level for them is only 1/2 your character level. Your DM might let you count Necrocarnum soulmelds as Totemist soulmelds if you take Necrocarnum Acolyte.
    • Crystal Helm (crown, shape, bind). For shaping it, +2 to Will saves v. charms and compulsions, and +1/essentia deflection bonus to AC. For binding it, melee attacks gain the force descriptor. Deflection AC is nice. Unfortunately, it's not a bonus to your deflection bonus to AC, so it doesn't stack. Force damage is nice, too.
    • Dissolving Spittle (throat, shape, bind). For shaping it, you can take a standard action to make a ranged touch attack, deals 1d6+1d6/essentia acid damage. Like Yrthak Mask, but better. For binding it, you roll for damage the turn after as well, essentially doubling damage.
    • Fellmist Robe, 5 foot step
    • Necrocarnum stuff
    • Planar Chausible
    • Planar Ward
    • Soulspark Familiar. There have even been entire threads on how badly Soulspark Familiar sucks. Then why talk about it? Well, it's crystal clear that, based on the name, Soulspark Familiar is supposed to be familiar for meldshapers. Wiz/Sorc is to familiar as Psion is to psicrystal as Druid is to AC as Incarnate is to Soulspark Familiar. Problem is, they fall short, horribly. One of the nicest features of genuine familiars is the ability to share spells. You might think Soulspark Familiars can (or should be able to) share soulmelds, but this is not the case. In fact, they're not even valid targets for the feat Share Soulmeld.
      Which is a pity, since it's a cool concept. If you want one, you should talk to your DM about a fix (the above link has some suggestions). At the very least it should be a valid target for Share Soulmeld.
    • Spellward Shirt
    • Vitality Belt

    Last edited by danzibr; 2014-06-11 at 07:57 PM.
    My one and only handbook: My Totemist Handbook
    My one and only homebrew: Book of Flux
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    A comment on tiers, by Prime32
    Quote Originally Posted by KillianHawkeye View Post
    As a DM, I deal with character death by cheering and giving a fist pump, or maybe a V-for-victory sign. I would also pat myself on the back, but I can't really reach around like that.
      /l、
    ゙(゚、 。 7
     l、゙ ~ヽ
     じしf_, )ノ

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    Default Re: Another Totemist Handbook (WIP, please wait to post until the Builds post)

    4: Soulmelds Sorted by Niche

    Originally I had this with the Soulmelds post, but... it's just so much text.
    Spoiler
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    Note this goes hand in hand with "What niches can a Totemist fill?" of 2: Totemist Overview and Homebrew, which in turn stems from Person_Man's Niche Ranking System.

    Soulmelds for battlefield control (namely, grappling)
    Spoiler
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    As far as battlefield control goes, Totemists get two abilities here: limited tripping, and superb grappling.
    • Worg Pelt bound to Hand (lvl 5). Free trip attempt on bite attacks.
    • Girallon Arms shaped to Arms (lvl 1). +2+2/essentia competence bonus to grapple checks.
    • Heart of Fire bound to Totem (lvl 2). +1d4/essentia fire damage at end of turn while grappling.
    • Kraken Mantle bound to Arms (lvl 9). Two boni: with successful grapple check, 1d8+Str bludgeoning damage (scales with size), and +1/essentia unnamed bonus to grapple checks.
    • Totem Avatar bound to Arms (lvl 9). Gain benefits of Improved Grapple.
    • Wormtail Belt bound to Totem (lvl 2). Get a stinger attack. So why is this listed here? With Barbed Stinger (SK, p. 144), you get Improved Grab, so you can grapple with your tail while the rest of your body can do what it wishes.


    Soulmelds which buff allies
    Spoiler
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    Totemist, simply put, suck at this.
    • Lammasu Mantle bound to Arms (lvl 9). +2 deflection to AC and +1/essentia resistance bonus to saves (both only v. evil creatures) to all allies within 10'.


    Curiosity soulmelds
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    To quote Person_Man, these are soulmelds which, "Rarely used but helpful in some meaningful way. (Examples: Forgery, Tongues, Slow Fall, etc)." Totemists have a few.
    • Pegasus Cloak shaped to Shoulders (lvl 1). Gain Feather Fall at all times, and +2+2/essentia enhancement bonus to Jump. Not Slow Fall, but hey.
    • Riding Bracers bound to Totem (lvl 2). If riding a magical animal, handle as a free action or push as a move action. Also, mount gains Evasion. That's neat.
    • Sphinx Claws shaped to Hands (lvl 1). +1+1/essentia competence bonus to Strength checks and Strength-based skills. Smash doors?


    Soulmelds which debuff
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    Totemists make respectable debuffers at lower levels (I say lower levels because the DC's scale very poorly). For example, start at level 2 with 2 flaws, take Expanded Soulmeld Capacity and take Ability Focus (your DM may not allow this) for your Basilisk Masks's ability, take something like Cobalt Charge, put 3 essentia into your Basilisk Mask, have a Con of 26 or more (Arctic Dragonborn Mongrelfolk anyone?). At level 2 you can Flesh to Stone any 1 target within 30' (given they're not immune), and they need to pass a DC 23 Fort save, lasts 1 round, get your buddy to sunder the statue.

    Alternatively, with a similar setup but Frost Helm, stun any 3 creatures within 20' for 1d4 rounds each, Will negates. DC still 23.
    • Basilisk Mask bound to Totem (lvl 2). Full round action usable at will, Flesh to Stone 1 creature within 30' ft., lasts 1 round. Fort negates.
    • Beast Tamer Circlet bound to Totem (lvl 2). Standard action usable 1/minute, Animal Trance, lasts concentration up to 1 round/meldhsaper level. Will negates for trained creatures.
    • Brass Mane bound to Throat (lvl 14). Standard action usable 1/minute, fatigue all creatures (except Dragonnes) within 10+10/essentia ft. Will negates.
    • Dread Carapace bound to Totem (lvl 2). Triggered upon charge, all creatures within 60 ft. shaken for 1 round. Will negates.
    • Frost Helm bound to Totem (lvl 2). Standard action usable at will, 1+1/essentia creatures (except Frost Worms) within 20 ft. stunned for 1d4 rounds. Will negates.
    • Gorgon Mask bound to Totem (lvl 2). Standard action usable 1/day, Flesh to Stone 1 adjacent creature. Fort negates.
    • Krenshar Mask bound to Totem (lvl 2). Standard action usable at will, frighten 1 creature within 30 ft. for 1 round. Will negates.
    • Phase Cloak bound to Totem (lvl 2). Gives a poisonous bite attack, poison has 1d3 Con damage primary effect, no secondary effect. Fort negates. +1/essentia enhancement bonus to attack (and DC).
    • Winter Mask shaped to Throat (lvl 1). Standard action usable at will to make a melee touch attack, target becomes fatigued. Fort negates.
    • Wormtail Belt bound to Totem (lvl 2). Get a poisonous stinger attack, poision has 1d4 Str damage primary effect, no secondary effect. Fort negates. +1/essentia to DC.
    • Dragonfire Mask bound to Totem (lvl 2). Free action usable 1/round, all creatures within 10+10/essentia ft. with less HD shaken for 1+1/essentia rounds. Will negates.


    Soulmelds which dominate
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    Nada. What comes closest is their Wild Empathy business, probably, but that's still certainly not domination.


    Game changing soulmelds
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    Totemists don't have anything that would qualify as this.

    Healing soulmelds
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    Totemists cannot heal others with soulmelds. The closest they come is giving themselves fast healing from Phoenix Belt (requires taking fire damage, so to speak), and Dragon Mantle.

    Meat shieldery soulmelds
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    Here I'll include anything which is defense oriented. Totemists have deceptively many of these, but most of them don't amount to much.
    AC
    • Ankheg Breastplate shaped to Throat (lvl 1). +2+1/essentia armor bonus to AC.
    • Lammasu Mantle shaped to arms or shoulders (lvl 1). +2 deflection bonus to AC and +1/essentia resistance bonus to saves, only against evil creatures.
    • Totem Avatar shaped to Arms, Feet, Heart or Shoulders (lvl 1). Gain bonus hit points = meldshaper level and +1/essentia enhancement bonus to natural AC.
    • Wormtail Belt shaped to Waist (lvl 1). +2+1/essentia enhancement bonus to natural AC.
    • Brood Keeper's Heart bound to Totem (lvl 2). +4 to natural AC when fighting defensively.

    Damage Reduction
    • Totem Avatar bound to Heart (lvl 17). DR (5+1/essentia)/magic.
    • Dragon Mantle bound to Shoulders (lvl 9). DR (1/essentia)/magic.

    Energy Resistance
    • Behir Gorget shaped to Throat (lvl 1). +4 to resist being bull rushed or tripped, and resist electricity 5/essentia.
    • Frost Helm bound to crown (lvl 5). Resist cold 5/essentia. Plus, tolerate temperatures from -50 to 90 degrees.
    • Kruthik Claws bound to Shoulders (lvl 9). Reist acid 10+5/essentia.
    • Phoenix Belt bound to Waist (lvl 14). Resist fire 5/essentia. Plus tolerate 40 to 140 degrees.
    • Urskan Greaves shaped to Feet (lvl 1). Resist cold 5/essentia, and +5 unnamed bonus to Balance and move on snow and ice at normal speed.
    • Dragon Mantle shaped to Heart or Shoulders (lvl 1). +2 enhancement bonus to Fort Saves, resist acid/cold/electricity/fire 3/essentia, stacks with others.

    Hit Points/Healing
    • Bloodtalons shaped to Hands (lvl 1). Not disabled when your hit points are from -9 to 0. Plus, +2/essentia unnamed bonus to Spot.
    • Rageclaws shaped to Hands (lvl 1). Not disabled from 0 to -9-3/essentia hit points.
    • Phoenix Belt bound to Waist (lvl 14). Damage negated from resisting fire (the shaped effect) becomes fast healing.
    • Totem Avatar shaped to Arms, Feet, Heart or Shoulders (lvl 1). Gain bonus hit points = meldshaper level and +1/essentia enhancement bonus to natural AC.
    • Dragon Mantle bound to Heart (lvl 17). Fast healing 1/essentia.

    Miss Chance
    • Blink Shirt bound to Heart (lvl 17). Can use Blink at will, caster level the same as your meldshaper level. Nice ability, but comes online quite late for the pure Totemist.
    • Displacer Mantle bound to Shoulders (lvl 9). Gain concealment as Blur.
    • Shadow Mantle bound to Shoulders (lvl 9). Swift action to make a 5/essentia ft. radius orb of darkness, gain blindsight of the same radius, only functions if you can hear. The key text is, "you are invisible to them unless they have some way of piercing magical darkness." Since you are invisible to them, you have total concealment, including that saucy 50% miss chance.

    Saves
    • Gorgon Mask shaped to Throat (lvl 1). +1+1/essentia resistance bonus to Fortitude saves, +2+1/essentia resistance bonus to being bull rushed, tripped, overrun or trampled.
    • Lammasu Mantle shaped to arms or shoulders (lvl 1). +2 deflection bonus to AC and +1/essentia resistance bonus to saves, only against evil creatures.
    • Rageclaws bound to Hands (lvl 5). If at negative hit points, +2 morale bonus to Fort saves (and other stuff).
    • Shedu Crown shaped to Crown or Heart (lvl 1). Immune to being pushed back by being bull rushed and +1/essentia competence to saves v. mind-affecting stuff.
    • Dragon Mantle shaped to Heart or Shoulders (lvl 1). +2 enhancement bonus to Fort Saves, resist acid/cold/electricity/fire 3/essentia, stacks with others.

    Spell Resistance
    • Dread Carapace bound to Heart (lvl 17). SR 5+4/essentia.

    Other
    • Behir Gorget shaped to Throat (lvl 1). +4 to resist being bull rushed or tripped, and resist electricity 5/essentia.
    • Gorgon Mask shaped to Throat (lvl 1). +1+1/essentia resistance bonus to Fortitude saves, +2+1/essentia resistance bonus to being bull rushed, tripped, overrun or trampled.
    • Great Raptoran Mask bound to Totem (lvl 2). Gain Evasion.
    • Heart of Fire bound to Waist (lvl 14). People attacking you take 1d6 fire damage if unarmed, weapons take half.
    • Shedu Crown shaped to Crown or Heart (lvl 1). Immune to being pushed back by being bull rushed and +1/essentia competence to saves v. mind-affecting stuff.
    • Threefold Mask of the Chimera shaped to Crown or Soul (lvl 1). Can't be flanked.
    • Totem Avatar bound to Feet (lvl 5). Stable as if four-legged and 1 size category larger, +8 to resist bull rush, trip, overrun.
    • Brood Keeper's Heart bound to Heart (lvl 17). Gain swarm subtype, lose armor and natural armor bonuses to AC.


    Soulmelds which enhance melee damage
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    No surprises here: the biggest list of the bunch. Makes sense since Totemists are the undisputed kings of melee (just kidding; I actually don't believe that). Because they have so many, they're broken up in several categories. For the generic these-might-help-in-combat soulmelds... well, a lot can go there. Like mobility. If you think I should add any, just lmk.

    Natural weapons: gaining them
    Important note: The ones marked with an asterisk are not explicitly called out as natural weapons. Also, the type and number has been bolded to make it easier to see at a glance. The default setting for damage is XdY+Str for primary, XdY+.5*Str for secondary.
    • Soulmelds which grant claws
      • Bloodtalons bound to Totem (lvl 2). Gain two claw attacks, 1d4 damage, +1 bleeding/essentia bleeding damage (undead immune), +1/essentia enhancement bonus to attack.
      • Girallon Arms bound to Totem (lvl 2). Gain four claw attacks, 1d4 damage, +1/essentia enhancement bonus to attack and damage.
      • Kruthik Claws bound to Totem (lvl 2). Gain two claw attacks, 1d6 damage, 1d4/essentia acid damage.
      • Lamia Belt bound to Totem (lvl 2). Gain two claw (on your lower body) attacks, 1d4 damage.
      • Landshark Boots bound to Totem (lvl 2). Gain two claw attacks, 1d6 damage, +1/essentia enhancement bonus to attack and damage. If you make at least a 5 ft. jump as part of a move action, then you attack with the two claws on your upper body, and two claws on your lower body as a standard action, but no other attacks (like a weak version of pounce).
      • Rageclaws bound to Totem (lvl 2). Gain two claw attacks, 1d6 damage, can attack with both while grappling, +1/essentia enhancement bonus to attack and damage.
      • Sphinx Claws bound to Totem (lvl 2). Gain two claw attacks, 1d6 damage, +1/essentia enhancement bonus to attack and damage.
      • Claws of the Wyrm shaped to Arms or Hands (lvl 1). Gain two claw* attacks, 1d6 damage, +1/essentia enhancement bonus to attack and damage.
    • Soulmelds which grant bites
      • Ankheg Breastplate bound to Totem (lvl 2). Gain one bite attack, 1d8 damage, +1d4/essentia acid damage.
      • Behir Gorget bound to Totem (lvl 2). Gain one bite attack, 1d6 damage, +1d4/essentia electricity damage.
      • Brass Mane bound to Totem (lvl 2). Gain one bite attack, 1d8 damage, +1/essentia enhancement bonus to attack and damage.
      • Phase Cloak bound to Totem (lvl 2). Gain one bite* attack, 1d4 damage with poison (1d3 Con damage primary, no secondary, Fort
      • Threefold Mask of the Chimera bound to Totem (lvl 2). Gain two bite and one gore attacks, 1d8 and 1d6 damage for the bites, 1d6 for the gore, all primary or one secondary.
        negates), +1/essentia enhancement bonus to attack (and DC).
      • Winter Mask bound to Totem (lvl 2). Gain one bite attack, 1d6 damage, +1d4/essentia cold damage.
      • Worg Pelt bound to Totem (lvl 2). Gain one bite attack, 1d6 damage, +1/essentia enhancement bonus to attack and damage.
    • Soulmelds which grant other
      • Displacer Mantle bound to Totem (lvl 2). Gain two tentacle* attacks, 1d4 damage, +1/essentia enhancement bonus to damage, normal reach +5 ft., can't AoE.
      • Threefold Mask of the Chimera bound to Totem (lvl 2). Gain two bite and one gore attacks, 1d8 and 1d6 damage for the bites, 1d6 for the gore, all primary or one secondary.
      • Unicorn Horn bound to Totem (lvl 2). Gain one gore attack, 1d6 damage, extra 1d6 v. undead, +1/essentia enhancement bonus to attack and damage.
      • Wormtail Belt bound to Totem (lvl 2). Gain one stinger attack, 1d6 damage with poison (1d4 Str primary, no secondary, Fort negates), +1/essentia enhancement to attack (and DC).
      • Dragon Tail shaped to Feet or Waist (lvl 1). Gain one tail* attack, 1d8 damage, +1/essentia enhancement to attack and damage, doesn't threaten, can't AoE, can't use while grappling.
      • Chaos Roc's Span shaped to Shoulders (lvl 1). Gain two buffet attacks, 1d4+.5*Str nonlethal bludgeoning damage, reach, +1/essentia bonus to damage.

    Natural weapons: enhancing them
    • Blood Talons bound to Hands (lvl 5). Gain benefit of Weapon Finesse with natural weapons.
    • Dread Carapace shaped to Arms, Feet or Hands (lvl 1). Gain a version of Power Attack, but only for natural weapons. +2 damage/-1 attack for bites, +1 damage/-1 attack for all other natural weapons. 1 more/essentia.
    • Dread Carapace bound to Arms (lvl 9). Double threat range of all natural weapons (no stacking).
    • Girallon Arms bound to Arms (lvl 9). Rend when you hit with 2 claws from any source. Deals double claw damage (what if they're different?) + Str.
    • Heart of Fire bound to Totem (lvl 2). 1d4/essentia fire damage on all attacks from natural weapons (plus, this much damage when grappling at end of turn).
    • Kurthik Claws bound to Hands (lvl 5). Gain benefit of Weapon Finesse with natural weapons.
    • Sphinx Claws bound to Hands (lvl 5). Gain pounce for natural weapons.
    • Totem Avatar bound to Shoulders (lvl 9). Natural weapons deal damage as if 1 size category larger.
    • Totem Avatar bound to Totem (lvl 2). +1/essentia morale bonus to damage on all natural weapons.
    • Claws of the Wyrm bound to Arms (lvl 9). Threat range doubles, but only for these particular claws.
    • Claws of the Wyrm bound to Hands (lvl 5). Deal damage as if 1 size larger, but only for these particular claws.
    • Dragon Tail bound to Waist (lvl 14). Tail has reach, damage dealt is 2d6+1.5*Str, but only for this particular tail.
    • Chaos Roc's Span bound to Shoulders (lvl 9). Buffet attacks granted from Chaos Roc's Span deal lethal damage, and if you hit an opponent with both, they make a Fort save or be dazed for 1d4 rounds, mind-affecting.

    General (not necessarily natural) weapons/attacks: gaining them
    • Gorgon Mask bound to Totem (lvl 2). Full-round action to trample, 1d8 damage.
    • Phoenix Belt bound to Totem (lvl 2). Standard action to deal 1d6/essentia fire damage to adjacent creatures, Ref half.
    • Shedu Crown bound to Totem (lvl 2). Full-round action to trample, 1d8 damage.
    • Wormtail Belt bound to Waist (lvl 14). Gain Awesome Blow feat and you're treated as if you're one size category larger when using it.
    • Dragon Tail bound to Totem (lvl 2). Standard action to make a tail sweep, all adjacent foes take damage as if struck by your tail, Ref half.

    General (not necessarily natural) weapons/attacks: enhancing them
    • Heart of Fire shaped to Waist (lvl 1). +1+1/essentia insight bonus to attack and damage v. cold.
    • Rageclaws bound to Hands (lvl 5). If at negative hit points, +2 morale bonus to to melee attack and damage and Fort saves.
    • Urskan Greaves bound to Feet (lvl 5). +1d4/essentia unnamed damage when charging.
    • Urskan Greaves bound to Totem (lvl 2). When you choose to overrun, target can't avoid you, and you get +2+1/essentia unnamed bonus to Str check to knock your opponent down.

    Other soulmelds which can be useful in melee
    • Lamia Belt bound to Waist (lvl 14). +10 enhancement bonus to land speed and gain benefit of Spring Attack.
    • Basilisk Mask bound to Brow (lvl 9). Gain benefit of Blind-Fight.
    • Yrthak Mask bound to Brow (lvl 9). 10+10/essentia ft. blindsense, -4 to Spot, +4 v. visual effects.


    Soulmelds which enhance mobility
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    Totemists have great mobility boosts, as seen below.

    Balance
    • Urskan Greaves shaped to Feet (lvl 1). Move on ice and snow at normal speed, +5 unnamed bonus to Balance on ice.
    • Dragon Tail bound to Feet (lvl 5). +2+2/essentia competence bonus to Balance and Swim.
    • Gravorg Tail shaped to Waist (lvl 1). +4+2/essentia competence bonus to Balance.

    Climbing
    • Girallon Arms shaped to Arms (lvl 1). +2+2/essentia competence bonus to Climb (and grapple).
    • Phase Cloak shaped to Shoulders (lvl 1). +4+2/essentia competence bonus to Climb, can always take 10 on Climb, keep Dex to AC while climbing.

    Ethereal
    • Phase Cloak bound to Shoulders (lvl 9). If you move at least 5 ft., become ethereal during movement (vertical movement, pass through walls, etc.).
    • Shedu Crown bound to Heart (lvl 17). Shift to ethereal plane for meldshaper level rounds as a move action, back to material as free.

    Extra actions
    • Threefold Mask of the Chimera bound to Crown (lvl 5). At the end of your turn, take an extra move action, but get -5 penalty to attack and AC *and* lose your next move action. Penalty decreases by 1/essentia.
    • Threefold Mask of the Chimera bound to Soul (lvl INFINITY). At the end of your turn, take an extra standard action, but get -5 penalty to attack and AC *and* lose your next standard action. Penalty decreases by 1/essentia.

    Faster
    • Dread Carapace bound to Feet (lvl 5). 1/minute gain enhancement bonus of 60+10/essentia ft. to your speed for 1 round.
    • Lamia Belt bound to Waist (lvl 14). Gain enhancement bonus of +10 ft. to land speed.
    • Worg Pelt bound to Feet (lvl 5). +5+5/essentia land speed.

    Flying
    • Manticore Belt bound to Waist (lvl 14). Gain flight speed 10 ft./essentia (clumsy maneuverability) and Flyby Attack.
    • Pegasus Cloak bound to Shoulders (lvl 9). Gain flight speed 10 ft./essentia (average maneuverability).
    • Pegasus Cloak bound to Totem (lvl 2). Gain flight speed 10 ft./essentia (average maneuverability), but must begin and end on a solid surface.
    • Dragon Mantle bound to Totem (lvl 2). Gain flight speed 10 ft./essentia (poor maneuverability).

    Jumping
    • Krenshar Mask shaped to Brow (lvl 1). +4+2/essentia competence bonus to Jump (and Move Silently).
    • Landshark Boots shaped to Feet (lvl 1). +4+2/essentia competence bonus to Jump.
    • Manticore Belt shaped to Waist (lvl 1). +2+2/essentia competence bonus to Jump (and Spot).
    • Pegasus Cloak shaped to Shoulders (lvl 1). +2+2/essentia enhancement bonus to Jump (and permanent Feather Fall).

    Levitate
    • Gravorg Tail bound to Waist (lvl 14). Can use Levitate as the spell, but can only move yourself up and down, and only 20+10 ft./essentia per round.
    • Gravorg Tail bound to Totem (lvl 2). Can use Levitate as the spell, but yourself and every willing creature within 10 ft., and only 20+10 ft./essentia per round.

    Swimming
    • Kraken Mantle shaped to Arms (lvl 1). +8 competence bonus to Swim. With a successful swim check, can move your speed as a full-round action, or half your speed as a move action.
    • Kraken Mantle bound to Totem (lvl 2). Can breathe in water (I guess this counts as mobility).
    • Dragon Tail bound to Feet (lvl 5). +2+2/essentia competence bonus to Balance and Swim.

    Teleporting
    • Blink Shirt shaped to Heart (lvl 1). Standard action to teleport 10+10/essentia ft. Ends turn.
    • Blink Shirt bound to Totem (lvl 2). Move action to teleport 10+10/essentia ft. Ends turn.


    Social Soulmelds
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    Totemists actually... have a few. Nothing which improves Diplomacy. However, there are some which buff Intimidate (it's not a class skill, though). What they're best at is buffing Wild Empathy (note the insight and competence bonuses from Beast Tamer Circlet and Unicorn Horn, respectively, stack).
    • Beast Tamer Circlet shaped to Crown (lvl 1). +2+2/essentia insight bonus to Handle Animal and Wild Empathy.
    • Brass Mane shaped to Throat (lvl 1). +4+2/essentia competence bonus to Intimidate.
    • Krenshar Mask bound to Brow (lvl 9). +4+2/essentia competence bonus to Intimidate.
    • Lamia Belt shaped to Waist (lvl 1). +4+2/essentia competence bonus to Bluff (and Hide).
    • Unicorn Horn shaped to Brow (lvl 1). +2+2/essentia competence bonus to Wild Empathy and Move Silently.


    Ranged damage Soulmelds
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    As you see, Totemists have quite a few ways to deal ranged damage. Most of them are subpar (like the 1/minute ones), but some are quite nice (Frost Helm and, especially, Manticore Belt).

    At very low levels (2-4), Lammasu Mantle and Yrthak Mask are your best bets (Chaos Roc's Span is... decent). Lammasu Mantle is a 15 ft. cone, but deals fire damage, and it's d4's. Chaos Roc's Span takes longer (full-round action), is only a 10 ft. cone, but deals damage determined randomly, which can be good. Both allow Reflex saves. Yrthak Mask, on the other hand, while only usable every other round, does d6's (unfortunately, 1 less die), is a ranged touch attack with a range of 60 ft. At level 5, Frost Helm takes over, unless you really like cone attacks. Depending on rulings, Manticore Belt has the greatest potential. Winter Mask gets you the most bang for your buck, but you can't use it until level 14 if you're a pure Totemist.
    • Ankheg Breastplate bound to Throat (lvl 14). Standard action to spit a line of acid, 5+5/essentia ft., 2d6+1d6/essentia damage. Usable 1/minute. Ref half.
    • Behir Gorget bound to Throat (lvl 14). Standard action to make a line of lightning, 5+5/essentia ft., 2d6+1d6/essentia damage. Usable 1/minute. Ref half.
    • Frost Helm bound to Crown (lvl 5). Standard action to make a ranged touch attack, ??? ft., 1d6+1d6/essentia cold damage. Usable at will.
    • Lammasu Mantle bound to Totem (lvl 2). Standard action to breathe a cone of fire, 15 ft., 1d4+1d4/essentia damage. Usable at will. Ref half.
    • Manticore Belt bound to Totem (lvl 2). Standard action to snap a volley of spikes, 30 ft. range increment (max 150 ft.), 1/essentia spikes, each does 1d6 damage.
    • Winter Mask bound to Throat (lvl 14). Standard action to breathe a cone of cold, 15 ft., 2d6+2d6/essentia damage. Usable every 1d4 rounds. Ref half.
    • Yrthak Mask bound to Totem (lvl 2). Standard action to make a ranged touch attack, 60 ft., 1d6/essentia sonic damage. Usable every other round.
    • Dragonfire Mask bound to Throat (lvl 14). Standard action to breathe a cone of fire, 30 ft., 2d6+1d6/essentia damage. Usable every 1d4 rounds. Ref half.
    • Chaos Roc's Span bound to Totem (lvl 2). Full-round action to make a cone, 10 ft., 1d4+1d4/essentia damage (type determined randomly). Usable at will. Ref half.


    Soulmelds which help with information
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    To quote Person_Man: "Knows or can find useful information." Totemists have one or two which fit here.
    • Disenchanter Mask shaped to Brow (lvl 1). Standard action to Detect Magic, 10+10/essentia ft., usable at will but no more than 1/round.
    • Disenchanter Mask bound to Brow (lvl 9). When using the above Detect Magic ability, determine the number, strength and location of each magical aura as if you'd been concentrating for 3 rounds. You need a Spellcraft check to determine the schools of magic.
    • Hunter's Circlet bound to Crown (lvl 5). Gain benefits of Track.
    • Hunter's Circlet bound to Totem (lvl 2). Always detect opponents within 15 ft. by smell. Use a full-round action to determine the direction. Also, +4 competence bonus to Survival when using your sense of smell to track.
    • Landshark Boots bound to Feet (lvl 5). Move action (while touching ground) to sense number and direction of creatures touching ground within 10+5/essentia ft.
    • Shedu Crown bound to Crown (lvl 5). Communicate telepathically with any creature within 100 ft. I guess this can be used to find useful information.
    • Unicorn Horn bound to Brow (lvl 9). Standard action to Detect Evil, 1/round.
    • Yrthak Mask bound to Brow (lvl 9). Gain blindsense 10+10/essentia ft., also -4 to Spot, +4 v. visual effects.
    • Psion-Killer Mask shaped to Brow (lvl 1). Standard action to Detect Psionics, 10+10/essentia ft., usable at will, but no more than 1/round (what's with that stupid limitation?).
    • Psion-Killer bound to Brow (lvl 9). When using the above Detect Psionics ability, determine the number, location and strength of each psionic aura as if you'd been concentrating for 3 rounds. You need a Spellcraft check to determine the schools of magic.


    Soulmelds which help with scouting
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    There are two aspects to scouting: finding stuff out, and not being found out.
    Finding stuff out
    • Vision enhancing.
      • Basilisk Mask shaped to Brow (lvl 1). Gain low-light vision. Gain darkvision 30/essentia ft.
      • Great Raptor Mask bound to Brow (lvl 9). Gain low-light vision but 5x as far.
      • Dragonfire Mask shaped to Brow or Throat (lvl 1). Low-light vision and +2/essentia competence bonus to Spot.
      • Dragonfire Mask bound to Brow (lvl 9). Darkvision out to 60 ft. or existing darkvision +30 ft.
    • + to skills
      • Bloodtalons shaped to Hands (lvl 9). +2/essentia unnamed bonus to Spot (and not disabled from 0 to -9 hit points).
      • Great Raptor Mask shaped to Brow (lvl 1). +2+2/essentia competence bonus to Spot.
      • Manticore Belt shaped to Waist (lvl 1). +2+2/essentia enhancement bonus to Spot (and Jump).
      • Shadow Mantle shaped to Shoulders (lvl 1). +4+2/essentia competence bonus to Listen.
      • Threefold Mask of the Chimera shaped to Crown or Soul (lvl 1). +1/essentia competence bonus to Search and Spot (and can't be flanked).
      • Yrthak Mask shaped to Brow (lvl 1). +4+2/essentia competence bonus to Listen.
      • Dragonfire Mask shaped to Brow or Throat (lvl 1). Low-light vision and +2/essentia competence bonus to Spot.
    • Other nifty means of detecting things
      • Disenchanter Mask shaped to Brow (lvl 1). Standard action to Detect Magic, 10+10/essentia ft., usable at will but no more than 1/round.
      • Disenchanter Mask bound to Brow (lvl 9). When using the above Detect Magic ability, determine the number, strength and location of each magical aura as if you'd been concentrating for 3 rounds. You need a Spellcraft check to determine the schools of magic.
      • Hunter's Circlet bound to Crown (lvl 5). Gain benefits of Track.
      • Hunter's Circlet bound to Totem (lvl 2). Always detect opponents within 15 ft. by smell. Use a full-round action to determine the direction. Also, +4 competence bonus to Survival when using your sense of smell to track.
      • Landshark Boots bound to Feet (lvl 5). Move action (while touching ground) to sense number and direction of creatures touching ground within 10+5/essentia ft.
      • Shedu Crown bound to Crown (lvl 5). Communicate telepathically with any creature within 100 ft (does this allow for eavesdropping?).
      • Unicorn Horn bound to Brow (lvl 9). Standard action to Detect Evil, 1/round.
      • Yrthak Mask bound to Brow (lvl 9). Gain blindsense 10+10/essentia ft., also -4 to Spot, +4 v. visual effects.
      • Psion-Killer Mask shaped to Brow (lvl 1). Standard action to Detect Psionics, 10+10/essentia ft., usable at will, but no more than 1/round (what's with that stupid limitation?).
      • Psion-Killer bound to Brow (lvl 9). When using the above Detect Psionics ability, determine the number, location and strength of each psionic aura as if you'd been concentrating for 3 rounds. You need a Spellcraft check to determine the schools of magic.

    Not being found out
    • + to skills
      • Displacer Mantle bound to Shoulders (lvl 1). +4+2/essentia competence bonus to Hide.
      • Krenshar Mask shaped to Brow (lvl 1). +4+2/essentia competence bonus to Move Silently (and Jump).
      • Kruthik Claws shaped to Hands or Shoulders (lvl 1). +4+2/essentia competence bonus to Hide and Move Silently.
      • Lamia Belt shaped to Waist (lvl 1). +4+2/essentia competence bonus to Hide (and Bluff).
      • Shadow Mantle bound to Totem (lvl 2). +4+2/essentia competence bonus to Hide.
      • Unicorn Horn shaped to Brow (lvl 1). +2+2/essentia competence bonus to Move Silently (and Wild Empathy).
      • Worg Pelt shaped to Feet or Hands (lvl 1). +2+2/essentia competence bonus to Hide and Move Silently.
    • Other cool stuff
      • Displacer Mantle bound to Shoulders (lvl 9). Gain concealment as Blur (need concealment to Hide).
      • Shadow Mantle bound to Shoulders (lvl 9). Swift action to make a 5/essentia ft. radius orb of darkness, gain blindsight of the same radius, only functions if you can hear. As far as sneaking goes... you're at the center of this orb of darkness, so stuff on the outside can guess where you are. Still, neat.


    Soulmelds which help with thievery
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    As with scouting, there are two aspects to thievery: not being found out, and actually grifting stuff.
    Not being found out
    • See the same thing under, "Soulmelds which help with scouting."

    Grifting stuff
    • Blink Shirt shaped to Heart (lvl 1). Standard action to teleport 10+10/essentia ft. Ends turn.
    • Blink Shirt bound to Totem (lvl 2). Move action to teleport 10+10/essentia ft. Ends turn.
    • Phase Cloak bound to Shoulders (lvl 9). If you move at least 5 ft., become ethereal during movement (vertical movement, pass through walls, etc.).
    • Shedu Crown bound to Heart (lvl 17). Shift to ethereal plane for meldshaper level rounds as a move action, back to material as free.


    Soulmelds which... summon?
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    You guessed it: none.

    Soulmelds which trapfind
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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but there are none. *If* you happen to be a Rogue/Totemist (or otherwise have Trapfinding), then a boost to Search helps.
    • Threefold Mask of the Chimera shaped to Crown (lvl 1). +1/essentia competence bonus to Search and Spot.


    Last edited by danzibr; 2013-12-22 at 08:01 AM.
    My one and only handbook: My Totemist Handbook
    My one and only homebrew: Book of Flux
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    A comment on tiers, by Prime32
    Quote Originally Posted by KillianHawkeye View Post
    As a DM, I deal with character death by cheering and giving a fist pump, or maybe a V-for-victory sign. I would also pat myself on the back, but I can't really reach around like that.
      /l、
    ゙(゚、 。 7
     l、゙ ~ヽ
     じしf_, )ノ

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    Default Re: Another Totemist Handbook (WIP, please wait to post until the Builds post)

    5: Critique of Soulmelds, and Rules Involving Natural Weapons

    Before we get into the soulmelds themselves it's a good time to talk about natural weapons a little bit. There are many soulmelds which grant natural weapons. So we have the (natural) question of how natural weapons stack (with other natural weapons and with manufactured weapons). We answer this question, and others, below.

    Important rules regarding classifications of weapons (i.e., natural or not, melee or not)
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    There are some things which are crystal clear by RAW. There are some things which are not. Here I'll try to state what is and isn't when it comes to weapon. I'll be using the glossary a fair amount. First of all, it's important to understand the following:
    • There is no definition of "weapon" in 3.5.
      Yes, this is a bummer. The designers probably thought it was too obvious and just omitted it. We have definitions for "attack" and "attack roll" and "natural weapon" and "manufactured weapon" and "projectile weapon" and "thrown weapon" and "ranged weapon" but not just plain old "weapon."
    • To quote Curmudgeon, "There is no 'uncategorized' status for any weapon."
      Here is the relevant quote.
      Quote Originally Posted by SRD
      Weapon Categories

      Weapons are grouped into several interlocking sets of categories.
      So *if* you know an object is a weapon, it is either a ranged weapon or it is not. It is either a melee weapon or it is not. Et cetera. Of course, a given weapon falls under many categories.
    • Here is the definition of natural weapon.
      Quote Originally Posted by Glossary
      Natural weapons are weapons that are physically a part of a creature.
      Great, we have a definition of natural weapon. And a litmus test, so to speak. When in doubt if a weapon (whatever that is) is a natural weapon, you ask yourself the following: is it physically a part of the creature? Before things get hairy, let's bring in two more quotes.
      Quote Originally Posted by Glossary
      Natural weapons have types just as other weapons do. The most common are summarized below.
      Then it goes on to talk about bites, claws, slams, etc. I feel this quote is important because it emphasizes the fact that natural weapons are like any other weapon, at least in certain regards.

      And now for the definition (well, almost) of manufactured weapon.
      Quote Originally Posted by Glossary
      in essence, [a manufactured weapon is] any weapon that is not intrinsic to the creature.
      Which makes complete sense. That is, a manufactured weapon is the opposite of a natural weapon. The definition is *somewhat* counter intuitive in the sense that found items, such as rocks and logs, count as manufactured weapons.
    • It seems to me, a weapon is either natural or manufactured. That is, manufactured=not natural, and natural=not manufactured. I don't have RAW to support this, though (please lmk if you do). Seems intuitive... but it's not crystal clear from the definitions.
    • Now back to the, "what exactly is a natural weapon?" Here it gets hairy.
      Some soulmelds which grant attacks make it very clear your body is somehow changing, others make it seems like you're simply equipping something does the attacking. Example:
      • Body changing, explicitly natural weapon: Worg Pelt.
      • Body changing, not explicitly natural weapon: Winter Mask.
      • Equipped, explicitly natural weapon: Wormtail Belt.
      • Equipped, not explicitly natural weapon: Manticore Belt.

      At this point I suggest you read the text for the above 4 to see exactly what I mean by "body changing" and "equipped."

      A real nitpicker could say, "Wait! Soulmelds aren't intrinsic to the creature, so the weapons granted by them shouldn't be considered natural weapons!" But this person would be a buffoon, since we have 2 examples (and there are many more) of soulmeld weapons being considered natural weapons. I guess they could maybe use the specific-trumps-general, but I'm of the opinion that when you shape/bind your soulmelds, the weapons become intrinsic to you.

      Ultimately, talk to your DM about what exactly is a weapon and not a weapon, and for those which are weapons, decide what exactly is a natural weapon and what is not.
    • For a possible example of a ranged natural weapon (if you don't like Manticore Belt, or the friggin' Manticore itself), consider the Harpoon Spider from MMIII, p. 80. It's an extraordinary ability to shoot its fangs up to 20 feet. It makes a ranged attack and attempts to reel its foe(s) in. It is my understanding that the (Ex) refers to launching its fangs, and the fangs themselves (as being intrinsic to the spider) are natural weapons.


    Important rules regarding natural weapons
    Spoiler
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    • Unless specifically said otherwise, *ANY* natural weapon may be used in a secondary attack
      Some are silent on the matter (such as Dragon Tail), some explicitly say you can use them with others (such as Worg Pelt), some explicitly say you can't (like Wormtail Belt), or otherwise have limitations (Threefold Mask of the Chimera: 3 primary or 1 secondary), so what's the verdict? MM p. 312 says
      Quote Originally Posted by Monster Manual, p. 312
      When a creature has more than one natural weapon, one of them (or sometimes a pair or set of them) is the primary weapon. All the creature's remaining natural weapons are secondary.
      Emphasis mine.
      RAW makes it very clear: the default/general setting is one set of primary, everything else secondary. The ones that say they can't be used with other natural weapons are an example of specific trumps general. Of course the usual you-can't-use-a-weapon-and-a-claw-with-the-same-hand rule still applies, and don't expect to attack with Girallon Arms and Claws of the Wyrm and Rageclaws (they overlap rather than stack).

      In short, unless it explicitly says you can't use a given natural weapon with other natural weapons, you can (and Curmudgeon affirmed this in the Q&A by RAW)! See spoiler.
      Spoiler
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      Quote Originally Posted by danzibr View Post
      Q 1756

      Can the natural weapons gained by the soulmelds Claws of the Wyrm and Dragon Tail of Dragon Mage (page 83ish) be used with other natural weapons?

      That is, suppose I have a bite attack. I shape Claws of the Wyrm, giving me 2 claws, and Dragon Tail, giving me a tail. If I full attack can I use my bite as my primary then both claws and the tail as secondary attacks?
      Quote Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
      A 1756 Yes.

      You can always use extra natural attacks as secondary natural attacks (as long as they're available, unlike a claw holding a weapon) with the required penalty.
      Quote Originally Posted by danzibr View Post
      A 1756 follow-up

      So just to be clear, absolutely the only time you can't is when the text says something along the lines of, "You cannot use the stinger as a natural secondary weapon—using the stinger is the only attack you can make in a given round" (Wormtail Belt, p. 94)?
      Quote Originally Posted by Andezzar View Post
      A 1756 Follow Up

      Yes, besides the restriction Curmudgeon already mentioned.
    • Ask your DM whether the weapons marked by **** in Table 1 are natural weapons or not
      It is open to debate whether the attacks marked by **** in Table 1 are actually from natural weapons or not. Take the bite from the Phase Cloak for example. It specifically says you can use it as a primary or secondary attack, but nowhere does it use the phrase “natural weapon.” For the Displacer Mantle it says you can make a full-round attack to hit with your two tentacles, but doesn't call them “natural weapons.”
    • So is Manticore Belt a natural weapon or not?
      I have no answer by RAW. I suppose there are three reasonable interpretations:
      • Manticore Belt isn't any sort of weapon at all (not the belt nor its spikes). All it does it give you the ability to use a standard action to make ranged attacks which deal damage. Maybe it's like... a weaponlike spell? Except not a spell, of course. A weaponlike supernatural ability? Or extraordinary, more likely.
      • Manticore Belt is a weapon but not a natural weapon. RC states, "In essence, a manufactured weapon is any weapon that isn't intrinsic to the creature." To which you might respond, "Then of course it's not a natural weapon!" Then what about all the other natural weapons which aren't intrinsic to the Totemist?
      • Manticore Belt is a natural weapon. Up to you. Err, the DM I suppose.

      Here's a quote from the SRD (same as above).
      Quote Originally Posted by SRD
      Natural weapons are weapons that are physically a part of a creature.
      So it seems the spikes of a genuine manticore are natural weapons. It does list the spikes as (Ex), which, to my understanding, is merely a classification of how it launches it spikes, while the spikes themselves are natural weapons as being physically a part of the manticore (I could be wrong).

      Manticore Belt: long story short
      First ask your DM whether he or she considers the belt and/or the spikes weapons or not.
      Second, if they are weapons, ask if they are natural weapons or not.

      If you want my honest opinion, I believe binding the belt gives you an (Ex) ability to fling spikes, an the spikes are natural weapons.

    How do natural weapons stack?
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    Recall that the default setting for natural weapons is that a single weapon (or set) is your primary attack and everything else is secondary. Unless specifically stated otherwise, you can combine as many natural weapons as you wish (given you're not trying to attack with a claw or the like and a weapon in the same hand).

    This was talked about a bit in the above spoiler. It's clear that you can't use a claw as a secondary attack if you swing with a weapon held in that claw. Let's give a not so crystal clear example.

    Suppose you're a Skarn with Girallon Arms bound to totem chakra and Astral Vambraces bound to hands. You have 4 claw attacks, 2 slam attacks and 1 spine attack. Suppose you choose (recall Girallon Arms work strangely) to make 1 claw attack as a primary attack and everything else as secondary. For sure you get 1 primary claw and 3 secondary claws. But do you get the slam attacks? How about the spine attack? Regarding the spine we have
    Quote Originally Posted by MoI, p. 15
    A skarn can’t attack with his spines and a weapon wielded by the same arm in the same round.
    But does the claw count as a wielded weapon? And how about the slams? If they're like a punch then probably not, but what if it's more akin to a shoulder ram?

    Ultimately it's the DM's decision. I personally would allow the person to attack with all of the weapons. 4 attacks from the hands, 1 attack from an elbow (the spine), 2 attacks from the arms, a total of 7. However, I would find it reasonable to only allow the 4 claws.

    How about natural weapons and manufactured weapons?
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    I couldn't find (maybe the rule exists and I didn't see it) a rule explicitly saying how these interact, but you can get it from the stat blocks of monsters. Also, read Darrin's TWF OffHandbook.

    Anyway, if you wield a weapon and want to use your natural attacks, here are the rules:
    • You may not use a claw (and potentially slam) if you're wielding a weapon with that hand (check what Darrin refers to as, "One Slam Good, Two Slams Bad").
    • If you full attack you get all the attacks (including iteratives) of your manufactured weapon and any free natural weapon (that is, natural weapons which don't clash with the manufactured weapon as per the rule above).

    First, for the One Slam Good, Two Slams Bad, Darrin dissected a bunch of statblocks and figured out if a creature has a single slam attack, that slam can be used when its hands are occupied (like a headbutt or shoulder ram), *most* of the time. If a creature has two slams, it cannot use them while its hands are occupied (and I'm not sure if there are counterexamples to this). An exception is Warforged with Double Slam, as it gains two hits with the same slam rather than two different slams.

    To justify the second one check out the Horned Devil. It has a bite, 2 claws, a tail and a spiked chain and enough BAB to make 3 attacks. On a full attack it gets 3 attacks with the spiked chain, its bite and its tail but no claws, which are occupied by the spiked chain.

    So while it gives up your claws (and spines for a Skarn, and potentially slams) a Totemist could definitely carry around a big weapon and bash dudes while biting/tail slapping/etc.

    Buffing Natural Weapons (Manticore Belt deserves a note)
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    First important note: it is open to debate whether or not the spikes granted by the Manticore Belt are actually natural weapons or not. For more information look at the spoiler in the **** note in the table of soulmelds.

    In any case, here's how you buff natural weapons in general.
    • Get bigger. Natural weapons scale with size.
    • Dread Carapace shaped (not bound) lets you PA with natural weapons.
    • Dread Carapace bound to arms doubles your threat range for natural weapons.
    • Heart of Fire bound to totem does extra 1d4+1d4/essentia damage per hit for natural weapons.
    • Totem Avatar bound to shoulders increases damage by 1 size category for natural weapons.
    • GET A BARD! Seriously. I played a DFI Bard recently... with just a little optimization a DFI Bard will make a Totemist into an absolute monster. Imagine +10d6 Fire/Cold/Sonic/whatever damage on *every single attack.* And +10 to attack and damage.
    • Refer to feats and gear sections. Also check soulmelds sorted by niche.

    And here are things specific to Manticore Belt (well, ranged natural attacks, but I don't think Totemists can get these beyond Manticore Belt, and even then your DM may disagree). It's broken down into three levels.
    • If Manticore Belt is not considered a weapon (let alone a natural weapon)...
      • Then you're shafted. Don't even try it. All you get it +1 spike/essentia. To see how to get more essentia and ways to increase your essentia cap, search, “Ways to get more essentia (bigger pool).”
    • If Manticore Belt is considered a weapon but not a natural weapon...
      • Note Power Attack normally doesn't apply to ranged weapons, but (there is a version of it in PF though).
      • Get a Bard. Inspire Courage for the win. And DFI, of course.
      • Incarnate Avatar (chaos) gives +1 insight to attack/essentia.
      • Sighting Gloves gives +1+1/essentia insight to ranged damage.
      • While not a way to buff it, precision damage (like skirmish, sudden strike and sneak attack) only apply to the first attack. No, it's not technically a volley, but because it's multiple attacks in a standard action it still holds.
      • Here's an archery handbook.
    • If Manticore Belt is considered a natural weapon...
      • Everything in the list above the Manticore Belt discussion
      • As for the getting bigger, your DM may rule the spikes as an exception.
      • As for Necklace of Natural Weapons (SS, p. 58), the best enchantment is probably Splitting (Champions of Ruin, p. 42), *if it works*, which is debatable. It says, “Any arrow or bolt fired from […]” Up to your DM. Does assume natural weapons. Seeking and Force are pretty boss.


    Actual critique
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    Here's what the color scale means for this spoiler.
    Red: Never shape/bind this. Total waste.
    Orange: Situationally useful. Think something like Water Breathing. Highly situational, but when you need it you need it.
    Green: Average. Not particularly strong, but shaping this should be beneficial in most circumstances. Like Darkvision. Very often useful, but not good if redundant.
    Blue: Good. Shape/bind this and in most cases you can't go wrong.
    Violet: Superb. The best of the best.

    Keep in mind you *have* to have a soulmeld shaped in order to bind it. That is, if you get a bind bonus then surely you get the shape bonus.

    Also keep in mind some soulmelds have great shape benefits but very poor bind benefits (like Wormtail Belt). It should be clear from just glancing at the colors.
    • Ankheg Breastplate (shape, bind throat, bind totem)
      • shape: The shape effect isn't terrible, but without substantial essentia (which it doesn't deserve), you don't get too much of an AC bonus. It's not bad, but not good.
      • bind throat: 1/minute? And that damage is pretty pitiful at level 14.
      • bind totem: In this right scenario this is very good, namely if you need both a bite attack and an armor bonus to AC. It takes all your essentia, but at level 2 with 3 essentia you get +5 to AC and a bite attack which does 1d8+Str+3d4 acid damage. I consider that very good for level 2.
    • Basilisk Mask (shape, bind brow, bind totem)
      • shape: It takes at least 1 essentia, but Darkvision can certainly be nice if your light runs out. From my experience it comes in handy very often, but obviously this is useless if you have good darkvision (or almost useless... with a lot of essentia the range is really good).
      • bind brow: Situational, but this can certainly be useful. Blind-Fight can come in handy.
      • bind totem: Now this is where it's at! Flesh to Stone is a sixth level Wizard spell, and you can do it at level 2! Granted it only lasts 1 round and takes a full-round action (at least you still have a swift action and a 5-foot step), but by pumping your Con you can reliably petrify most anything, then your buddy can sunder it. Excellent save or die for low levels (note it's only that good at low levels).
    • Beast Tamer Circlet (shape, bind crown, bind totem)
      • shape: If you really need the boost then by all means.
      • bind crown: This can come in handy. I wouldn't bind it unless you know ahead of time.
      • bind totem: Fascinate animals? Again situational.
        However, Person_Man did make a good point regarding this.
        Spoiler
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        Quote Originally Posted by Person_Man View Post
        Both Beast Tamer Circlet (Insight bonus) and Unicorn Horn (Competence Bonus) Soulmelds add to Wild Empathy checks. Wild Empathy can be used on Animals and Magical Beasts with an Int of 1 or 2, and the Totemist gets a +4 unnamed bonus to Wild Empathy checks if they have a soulmeld bound to their Totem chakra that is associated with that Magical Beast. You only need a DC 25 check to turn a Hostile creature Indifferent, which a Totemist can easily pull off. It also makes the Beast Heart Adept a tempting PrC option, since it's Monster Empathy ability expands your Wild Empathy ability to all Magical Beasts (regardless of Int).
    • Behir Gorget (shape, bind throat, bind totem)
      • shape: If you need some electricity resist, this is a nice, easy way to get it. Plus if your DM likes tripping this will make you more sturdy. A decent defensive soulmeld.
      • bind throat: What the hell, level 14? Come on. And one/minute? It's not terrible but you have better things to be doing by now.
      • bind totem: Like Ankheg Breastplate, at low levels you can get respectable electricity damage at low levels. If for some reason you need both electricity resist and a bite with electricity damage then this could be blue.
    • Blink Shirt (shape, bind heart, bind totem)
      • shape: Free unlimited teleport! Granted without any essentia it's only 10 feet, and it takes a standard action, but this is very nice, especially at level 2.
      • bind heart: Blink is a nice spell. At-will Blink is very nice. Why rated green? You don't get it until level 17.
      • bind totem: More free unlimited teleport, but as a move action! And you don't even have to invest essentia. Use a standard action then teleport away (purple for shadowpouncers). Problem: it ends your turn, so you can't teleport in then do something (Sun School from CW, p. 112, lets you attack once after the tele).
    • Bloodtalons (shape, bind hands, bind totem)
      • shape: Like 10 free hit points at low levels. Identical to shaping Rageclaws (excluding the essentia bonus). Bonus to Spot is nice.
      • bind hands: I used to think this was total crap, but now I just think it's fairly bad. You can leave Str at 10 and pump Dex in certain builds, say if you're going sneaky Totemist. Something like Rogue/Totemist/Umbral Disciple with Shadow Mantle bound to shoulders and a ton of natural attacks could be really cool. So yeah, Weapon Finesse is viable, though most likely you either have high Str and are bashing faces, or have high Dex and are flinging spikes into faces.
      • bind totem: 2 claws, pumped with essentia. Bleeding damage is flavorful.
    • Brass Mane (shape, bind throat, bind totem)
      • shape: That's a hefty bonus to Intimidate. Wait, Intimidate isn't a class skill? You probably won't be using this.
      • bind throat: Fatigue is not a very good debuff. Stacking fatigue to get exhausted is better, but still not great.
      • bind totem: Just a single bite which improves with invested essentia.
    • Disenchanter Mask (shape, bind brow, bind totem)
      • shape: You probably have a caster in the party that can do this. Not totally useless, but you probably won't use it.
      • bind brow: Again, it has its uses, but you probably won't ever need to do this.
      • bind totem: Rather than suppressing magic items you'll likely be smashing faces.
    • Displacer Mantle (shape, bind shoulders, bind totem)
      • shape: Decent bonus to Hide (which isn't a class skill) if you're into that sort of thing.
      • bind shoulders: 20% miss chance is nice, especially for melee-loving Totemsts.
      • bind totem: Not explicitly called natural weapons (read more about this under Table 1). If your DM rules they are natural weapons then the default setting is that you can use them as secondary attacks (in which case, green). If not, they suck.
    • Dread Carapace (shape, bind arms, bind feet, bind heart, bind totem)
      • shape: Power Attack! The returns aren't great (equal +1 damage per -1 attack except for bites), but it is Power Attack. It's a pity you can't load up on bite attacks.
      • bind arms: Totemists aren't crit fishers. Still, not a bad bonus.
      • bind feet: That's quite a bonus to speed! If you need to zip around the battlefield, this is a good way to do it.
      • bind heart: You can get good SR this way. Too bad it kicks in so late.
      • bind totem: More useful if you can stack fear effects. Poor by itself.
    • Frost Helm (shape, bind crown, bind totem)
      • shape: Can be useful.
      • bind crown: Kicks in at level 5. You can get some decent damage out of this, use it every round.
      • bind totem: Stun is a good debuff. With a high Con and in the right scenario this could be blue.
    • Girallon Arms (shape, bind arms, bind totem)
      • shape: If you focus on grappling then this is violet (for best results combine with Kraken Mantle and Totem Avatar bound to arms, or replace the latter with Improved Grapple). In most cases increasing your grapple modifier is a good thing.
      • bind arms: Almost all Totemists are going to have at least 2 claws. This gives free damage!
      • bind totem: 4 claw attacks! And good essentia bonus. Staple of many Totemists.
    • Gorgon Mask (shape, bind throat, bind totem)
      • shape: You should have a very good Fort save, but extra defenses are nice.
      • bind throat: This would be a fantastic ability if you could use it more than once per day. Go Basilisk Mask instead.
      • bind totem: A nice low-level method to get trample. Usually you'll want to do something else with a full-round action though.
    • Great Raptor Mask (shape, bind brow, bind totem)
      • shape: You should have a decent Spot since it's a class skill and we don't dump Wisdom. However, more Spot is always nice (unfortunately it's competence and not a very big boost).
      • bind brow: Situational, not very useful. I see the merits, but Darkvision is so much better.
      • bind totem: Evasion's quite a nice ability, but you have better things to do with your totem bind.
    • Heart of Fire (shape, bind waist, bind totem)
      • shape: If you know you'll be fighting lots of cold creatures this is okay, but even then only okay.
      • bind waist: Not available until level 14. You're probably front-lining, taking hits, but the fire damage simply isn't great, and useless if you're being sniped or otherwise blasted from afar.
      • bind totem: An easy way to boost all of your natural weapons (in the right setup, say at low levels when you have plenty of natural weapons from races/feats/other soulmelds, this would be blue). Unfortunately fire is the most commonly resisted element. Definitely consider it as a second Totem bind if you use Manticore Belt.
    • Hunter's Circlet (shape, bind crown, bind totem)
      • shape: This could come in handy, but situational.
      • bind crown: Okay, my opinion's changed. If you need Track then this, as Piggy Knowles said, gives you the ideal version of it, "one you can put away when you're done with it."
      • bind totem: At first I underestimated this (I'm bad with the offense-over-utility mindset). Need to sniff someone under a door? Or around a corner? Or in magical darkness? Look no further.
    • Kraken Mantle (shape, bind arms, bind totem)
      • shape: If you're doing swimming then this is very good! ... If you're swimming.
      • bind crown: Bad if you're not a grappler, pretty good if you are. Constrict damage is good, as is the unnamed bonus to grapple. It's a pity the damage doesn't scale with essentia.
      • bind totem: If you need it, you really need it.
    • Krenshar Mask (shape, bind brow, bind totem)
      • shape: The bonus to skills is nice if you need it (like Leap Attack, some maneuvers,
      • bind brow: Again if you need it then this is a considerable bonus. Unfortunately it's a competence bonus.
      • bind totem: Hmm. This isn't too bad, especially if you build yourself for it at low levels. Note that whatever you fear goes straight to Frightened (unlike most fear effects which start at Shaken). Still, it quickly becomes useless as the levels increase and doesn't combine with natural weapons.
    • Kruthik Claws (shape, bind hands, bind shoulders, bind totem)
      • shape: Great for sneaky Totemists. Otherwise situational.
      • bind hands: Probably not useful because you're probably either bashing faces (high Str, no need for Weapon Finesse) or using Manticore Belt (high Dex, no need for Weapon Finesse as it's ranged). However, leaving Str at 10 and going high Dex is viable for a melee Totemist, especially if you're a sneaky one.
      • bind shoulders: This can be considerable acid resist if you know you'll be fighting something which dishes out the acid damage.
      • bind totem: While Girallon Arms are better in almost every case, if you want claws with easily pumpable acid damage, look no further.
    • Lamia Belt (shape, bind waist, bind totem)
      • shape: I find Bluff and Hide an interesting combination. Pity it's a competence bonus and can't stack with Kruthik Claws for an extra sneaky Totemist. Can be very useful in the right situation.
      • bind waist: More land speed is always nice, but Spring Attack just isn't very good for a Totemist (unless someone knows of a way to get full attacks with Spring Attack).
      • bind totem: Claws on the lower body! Boo yeah. Almost all races with claw attacks come with them on the upper body.
    • Lammasu Mantle (shape, bind arms, bind shoulders, bind totem)
      Note: all of these are worthless if you're not fighting evil creatures.
      • shape: Free AC bonus! And it's deflection no less. Given you're not in an evil campaign you often fight evil baddies. It'd be much better if it increased with the amount of essentia invested (though the save bonus is nice). Best at low levels.
      • bind arms: 10' isn't much, but that's a nice bonus to give to your friends.
      • bind shoulders: Like a permanent Magic Circle against Evil!
      • bind totem: Best if buffed at low levels. 4d4 fire damage every round for a standard action is good. Scales poorly though.
    • Landshark Boots (shape, bind feet, bind totem)
      • shape: If you need jump (some maneuvers need this, or Power Attack) then you need jump.
      • bind feet: Good utility. Use it through walls and doors.
      • bind totem: This would be so fantastic if you could combine the jump attack ability with other natural weapons... but you can't.
    • Manticore Belt (shape, bind waist, bind totem)
      • shape: Spot is almost always nice, jump is nice if you need it.
      • bind waist: It takes some essentia investing, but free flight and Flyby Attack! Combines very well with the totem bind effect. Pity it comes online at level 14 for the pure Totemist.
      • bind totem: Not good if your DM rules the spikes (or the belt itself) aren't natural weapons, but can be fantastic otherwise.
    • Pegasus Cloak (shape, bind shoulders, bind totem)
      • shape: Like with others, if you need a boost to Jump then this helps. The Feather Fall can certainly come in handy.
      • bind shoulders: Unless you put quite a bit of essentia in the speed isn't great, but basically free flight, and the maneuverability isn't bad.
      • bind totem: This is great for low-level getting around, especially if you already have natural weapons from your race with would overlap with other totem binds.
    • Phase Cloak (shape, bind shoulders, bind totem)
      • shape: Obviously not good if you won't be climbing, but if you have to do a lot of climbing then this is very good.
      • bind shoulders: Superb maneuverability. Walk through walls, through ceilings, through floors. Get behind bad guys, get over rough terrain, over pits, etc.
      • bind totem: Regardless of whether your DM rules this is a natural weapon or not you can combine it with other attacks. If you need a bite with a weak poison, go for it. There are better totem binds though.
    • Phoenix Belt (shape, bind waist, bind totem)
      • shape: The shape effect is okay, but the real merit is in the invest bonus. Fire is one of the most common damage types. However, it is easily replaced by certain spells.
      • bind waist: This would be much better if it became available before level 14.
      • bind totem: If you want to deal fire damage Lammasu Mantle is probably better.
    • Rageclaws (shape, bind hands, bind totem)
      • shape: Like Bloodtalons, free hit points. Especially good at low levels. Essentia bonus is different though.
      • bind hands: The bonus really isn't good enough to justify being in negative hit points. Not useless though.
      • bind totem: Yay claw attacks! Which improve with essentia. And you can use them while grappling. A solid choice. Honestly if you have no natural claws this may be better than Girallon Arms at level 2ish due to the free HP.
    • Riding Bracers (shape, bind arms, bind totem)
      • shape: I don't envision Totemists riding mounts, but it's certainly an option. In which case these can be useful.
      • bind arms: A buff while riding. Doesn't scale at all (who knows why), but not useless.
      • bind totem: This would be worthless in my group (we let the character freely control the mount), and I'd probably get my mount via Wild Cohort which get Evasion at level 3.
    • Shadow Mantle (shape, bind shoulders, bind totem)
      • shape: Like spot, listen is almost always useful.
      • bind shoulders: This is terrific. You're totally invisible to everything without blindsight in a sphere of radius 5*essentia. As Person_Man said, "Shadow Mantle bound to Shoulders gives you (weird, poorly worded) continuous Greater Invisibility." Think sneak attack.
      • bind totem: Decent bonus to Hide. If you need it.
    • Shedu Crown (shape, bind crown, bind heart, bind totem)
      • shape: When I play I'm almost never bull-rushed, but if your DM likes to do it then this can be good.
      • bind crown: Level 5, communicate telepathically with anything within 100'. 'Nuff said.
      • bind heart: While the ability isn't bad, by level 17 it's far from fantastic.
      • bind totem: Trample attack at level 2. Get big and strong, use it to run over a bunch of mooks.
    • Sphinx Claws (shape, bind hands, bind totem)
      • shape: Well. It covers a pretty wide net so will likely be useful when shaped.
      • bind hands: Pounce! If you don't want to dip Barb or get pounce some other way, this'll do the job. Note you can't ubercharge with it though (well, not use a 2-handed weapon, etc.).
      • bind totem: 1d8 damage is bigger than most, so will grow faster if you increase the size. And it gets the essentia bonus is should. As usual, many races which come with natural weapons come with claw attacks.
    • Threefold Mask of the Chimera (shape, bind crown, bind soul, bind totem)
      • shape: Not bad at all! You'll likely be in the thick of things a lot, hence likely to be flanked a lot, and this is especially good if your DM likes to sneak attack.
      • bind crown: This could come in handy if you really want to do something with a move action. I doubt I'd ever bind it here though.
      • bind soul: Now this is better! But wait, you bind it to your soul! Pure Totemists can't even *do* that!
      • bind totem: Three attacks on the head! This is great. All others only give 1. It has the restriction that you can either do:
        a) all 3 primary, rest of your stuff secondary
        b) something else primary, a single bite from this and the rest of your stuff secondary.
        Meaning if you bind this, make this your primary attack.
        Some DM's may violate RAW and saw you can't do option a, in which case they're only green.
        In either case, unfortunately investing essentia doesn't improve them (boo, but at least you can put your essentia elsewhere). But Amulet of Mighty Fists does (yay). Or VoP. Or Greater Magic Fang.
    • Totem Avatar (shape, bind arms, bind feet, bind heart, bind shoulders, bind totem)
      • shape: Free hit points! Most useful if you go pure Totemist (hp bonus=meldshaper level). The bonus to natural AC is nice.
      • bind arms: If you're a grappler then by level 9 you probably already have this.
      • bind feet: This is truly great for defense if your DM likes to bull rush or trip. That's a big bonus for no invested essentia.
      • bind heart: That's pretty poor DR at level 17.
      • bind shoulders: Increases the damage of all your natural weapons! More effective if you're already large/huge/etc.
      • bind totem: Again, more damage for all of your natural weapons! The problem is that you'd probably prefer to use a different soulmeld if you're in the many-natural-weapons swing of things. However, if you're using Manticore Belt this is a great second totem bind. You may want to go Heart of Fire though.
    • Unicorn Horn (shape, bind brow, bind totem)
      • shape: Good if you need it.
      • bind brow: All the Detect Evil you ever want! Comes online at level 9, but great for plot purposes. And you can spray it around magic items.
      • bind totem: A single gore, not shabby. Scales well with essentia. Better in an undead-heavy campaign.
        Again, Person_Man noted you can optimize this.
        Spoiler
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        Quote Originally Posted by Person_Man View Post
        Both Beast Tamer Circlet (Insight bonus) and Unicorn Horn (Competence Bonus) Soulmelds add to Wild Empathy checks. Wild Empathy can be used on Animals and Magical Beasts with an Int of 1 or 2, and the Totemist gets a +4 unnamed bonus to Wild Empathy checks if they have a soulmeld bound to their Totem chakra that is associated with that Magical Beast. You only need a DC 25 check to turn a Hostile creature Indifferent, which a Totemist can easily pull off. It also makes the Beast Heart Adept a tempting PrC option, since it's Monster Empathy ability expands your Wild Empathy ability to all Magical Beasts (regardless of Int).
    • Urskan Greaves (shape, bind feet, bind totem)
      • shape: Clearly situational, but very nice if you happen to be in a cold place, fighting dudes which deal cold damage.
      • bind feet: Can't say no to extra damage when charging (pounce, anyone?). Be warned it says, "if your melee attack hits," attack being singular, so a picky DM may say this only works on one attack. In any case Thunderstep Boots are probably better (more damage and a chance to stun), but they do cost a feet.
      • bind totem: I uhh, don't find myself doing many overruns.
    • Winter Mask (shape, bind throat, bind totem)
      • shape: Hmm, a melee touch attack. Pump it up for some damage and to increase the save.
      • bind throat: Better damage than most such soulmelds offer, but it kicks in at level 14? Shucks.
      • bind totem: Free bite, buff it for cold damage. There are much better totem binds.
    • Worg Pelt (shape, bind feet, bind hands, bind totem)
      • shape: Great for a sneaky Totemist.
      • bind feet: Bonus to speed! Key for us melee folks.
      • bind hands: Helps makes you into a tripper given you have a bite attack (or multiple somehow, like from Threefold Mask of the Chimera) and decent Str and are Large and packing other bonuses, you can be a decent tripper.
      • bind totem: Speaking of bite attacks, this gives you one.
    • Wormtail Belt (shape, bind waist, bind totem)
      • shape: Free NA just for shaping it! Only gets better with essentia. Big bummer it doesn't stack with Totem Avatar (both enhancement).
      • bind waist: Not useless, but at level 14 you should be doing other things.
      • bind totem: This might be worthwhile if you could use it as a secondary attack.
    • Yrthak Mask (shape, bind brow, bind totem)
      • shape: Bonus to Listen is always nice.
      • bind brow: Don't be fooled, it's not really blind-sense. Still, not terrible, and the +4 is nice when relevant.
      • bind totem: Decent range, can get some decent damage. Every other turn, bummer. Still, not terrible.
    • Claws of the Wyrm (shape, bind arms, bind hands, bind totem)
      • shape: One of the few (3, in fact) soulmelds which give you natural weapons for just shaping it! Great at level 1, decent at other levels.
      • bind arms: Bigger crit range, can't complain. Likely not worth it though.
      • bind hands: More damage, can't complain. Best when combined with like effects.
      • bind totem: Extra modes of movement are nice. Makes climbing a lot eaiser.
    • Dragon Mantle (shape, bind heart, bind shoulders, bind totem)
      • shape: Bonus to Fort saves! Probably not needed, but hey. The energy resist is very nice.
      • bind heart: C'mon, level 17? Still, if you're pumping essentia into this soulmeld for the energy resist then it's free fast healing.
      • bind shoulders: Oh man, it's DR/magic. So easy to overcome.
      • bind totem: Fly speed at level 2! And it doesn't have any weird restrictions. Worse at higher levels.
    • Dragon Tail (shape, bind feet, bind waist, bind totem)
      • shape: A tail attack without having to bind it! Good especially at low levels.
      • bind feet: If you need the bonuses.
      • bind waist: Gives your tail a nice boost.
      • bind totem: It's a pity it's only adjacent foes and not foes within reach. Still, surely deal damage (barring damage reduction and the like).
    • Dragonfire Mask (shape, bind brow, bind throat, bind totem)
      • shape: Free low-light vision is nice unless you have it (still, bonuses to spot are always nice).
      • bind brow: Again, free darkvision is nice unless you have it.
      • bind throat: Just like Winter Mask but worse.
      • bind totem: Bad. They have to have less HD than you, the DC is probably low, shaken is the weakest fear effect.
    • Brood Keeper's Heart (shape, bind heart, bind totem)
      • shape: Concentration? For a Totemist?
      • bind heart: This is, uhh, interesting. Here's the swarm subtype. First it's not totally clear what this does. While you remain medium, are you composed of fine, diminutive or tiny creatures? Is your only attack the swarm attack or do you get that in addition to your other attacks? Regardless, you do get a bunch of cool immunities, and not often can you play as a swarm.
      • bind totem: If you find yourself fighting defensively then this is a considerable bonus. And it stacks with other bonuses, yay.
    • Chaos Roc's Span (shape, bind shoulders, bind totem)
      • shape: The final soulmeld (see Claws of the Wyrm and Dragon Tail) which gives you natural attacks for merely shaping it. They have reach to boot. Unfortunately they deal nonlethal damage, which in most cases isn't an issue, but they aren't effective on undead or constructs.
      • bind shoulders: Not only do your buffets deal lethal damage, but you have a chance to daze your opponent. Not bad.
      • bind totem: What's not to love about this soulmeld? At level 2 you can dish out 4d4 damage (type determined randomly) in a 10-ft. cone every round.
    • Gravorg Tail (shape, bind waist, bind totem)
      • shape: The usual. Situational.
      • bind waist: I don't see this being very useful, especially at level 14.
      • bind totem: This I can see being useful. Level 2, decent mobility, move your buddies up and down.
    • Psion-Killer Mask (shape, bind brow, bind totem)
      • shape: This is exactly like Disenchanter Mask.
      • bind brow: Ditto.
      • bind totem: Ditto (but more range).
    • Astral Vambraces (shape, bind arms, bind hands)
      • shape: Available at level 1! If you blow Shape Soulmeld (a feat) on it. Decent DR then.
      • bind arms: This is actually... really good. Check the list. Fly speed? Check. Swim speed? Check. More damage (Improved Natural Attack, doesn't appear to be limited to slam)? Check. More speed? Check.
      • bind hands: Two free natural attacks and not on the totem slot! Great. Doesn't scale at all, but just get an Amulet of Mighty Fists.
    • Incarnate Avatar (shape, bind soul)
      • shape: Unlike Incarnates, Totemists aren't forbidden from being, say, Lawful Evil. In which case you'd get both the damage to all melee attacks and damage. For just shaping it. Awesome potential.
      • bind soul: n/a
    • Sighting Gloves (shape, bind hands)
      • shape: Only good for Manticore Belt, but in that case it's quite good.
      • bind hands: This is good to have.
    • Thunderstep Boots (shape, bind feet)
      • shape: Pounce away! Extra 1d4+1d4/essentia *sonic* damage with *every* melee attack at the end of the charge. And that's right, you'll have a lot of attacks at the end of a charge. Man this is great.
      • bind feet: And a chance to stun! Granted the stun is only for 1 round and Fort negates. The DC might not be bad, either, and the more natural attacks you have the more likely it is for your opponent to get stunned (and stunned opponents drop weapons, among other things).

    Last edited by danzibr; 2019-10-04 at 07:31 PM.
    My one and only handbook: My Totemist Handbook
    My one and only homebrew: Book of Flux
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    A comment on tiers, by Prime32
    Quote Originally Posted by KillianHawkeye View Post
    As a DM, I deal with character death by cheering and giving a fist pump, or maybe a V-for-victory sign. I would also pat myself on the back, but I can't really reach around like that.
      /l、
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     l、゙ ~ヽ
     じしf_, )ノ

  6. - Top - End - #6
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    Default Re: Another Totemist Handbook (WIP, please wait to post until the Builds post)

    6: Races and Templates

    Here I won't mention every race ever (that'd be way too long), I'll mention all the MoI races and a few notable others. They'll be done alphabetically by +ECL (LA+RHD).
    Important preliminary notes
    Spoiler
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    These ratings vary drastically based on if your DM allows LA buyoff or not and at what levels you're playing. If your campaign goes from 2 to 6 then a LA +4 race will be utterly, utterly useless. However, if you look at, say, Githzerai, and start at a high level with LA buyoff then they become a very good choice rather than simply average.

    Also, it's considered extreme cheese, but you can get rid of RHD by being perma-level drained. Not that all RHD are that bad, but class levels are almost always better.

    ECL +(varies)
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    • Entomanothrope (here): For ECL, it's a flat LA +2, then you gain HD equal to whatever the vermin had (for fractional I assume it's 0, since you always round down). Also, immunity to mind-affecting stuff, and bonus NA. The article is poorly written IMO, but it seems you get +2 Wis and -2 Int in your standard form, then in hybrid and vermin forms you get bonuses to your physical stats equal to the physical stats of the vermin -10 or -11. Perhaps more importantly, you gain natural attacks. Two relevant quotes.
      If the base vermin has a tail sting attack, then the hybrid form has it too.
      An entomanothrope in hybrid form uses the base creature's attacks and the base vermin's bite attack (or other primary natural weapon if the vermin form lacks a bite attack). Monstrous scorpion entomanothropes gain claw attacks in hybrid form.
      Some options are monstrous scorpions found here, and also check out this link.
    • Lycanthrope (here): ECL is +2+HD of base animal if afflicted, +3+HD of base animal if hereditary. Flat +2 Wis. Stat bonuses like Entomanothropes. Gain the animal's feats, get Iron Will for free, some NA. Get their special attacks and qualities (very, very good). For natural weapons, here's the key quote.
      A lycanthrope in hybrid form gains two claw attacks and a bite attack as natural weapons.
      Which is ridiculous, and not in a good way. Yeah, tigers and bears have these, but what if you're a were-octopus? What's worse, the entries contradict this. The wererat gets no claw attacks (note rats don't have claw attacks). The wereboar gets 2 claws and a gore, not 2 claws and a bite (though the boar itself doesn't have claws). The wolf has no claws, but does gain claws though, which does support the above quote. PRESUMABLY you gain the natural attacks of the base creature while in hybrid (or animal) form. Or maybe just the primary? Plus claws, unless it's a rat? Consult your DM. Check this for good creatures. Nifern stands out: +6 Str, +4 Dex, +4 Con, 2 claws, bite, sting (presumably) with poison, Multiattack, Blindsight, for the low price of +2 LA and 2 RHD.
      Also check this link. It's basically a lycanthropy handbook.


    ECL -2
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    Templates:
    • Incarnate Construct (SS, p. 121): As usual, start with a Warforged, slap some templates on it, reduce them with Incarnate Construct. However, you must be wary. First, you cannot reduce LA below 0, meaning you have to add LA before taking it away. Second, since you're most likely applying it to a Warforged, keep in mind Warforged have the type Construct and subtype Living Construct. So you cannot apply a template which requires Humanoid, for example (even though Incarnate Construct changes type of Humanoid, you cannot add inherent templates which require Humanoid).
      Long story short: first apply inherent or acquired templates which are valid for Constructs with the Living Construct subtype. Then add Incarnate Construct to reduce the LA by 2. Now you can add acquired templates which require Humanoid, but these will not be reduced.


    ECL +0
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    Races:
    • Azurin (MoI): Like human but better! That bonus essentia is more valuable to a Totemist than more skill points.
    • Darfellan (here, or Stormwrack): +2 Str, -2 Dex, bite attack. Not bad. Better in a more aquatic campaign.
    • Diabolus (Drag Mag 327, p. 65): No stat bonuses, Outsider, some other bonuses, and a natural tail attack which injects poison. They're okay, but a very strong option if you're going to grapple with your tail. There are two issues: the natural attack is labeled as a tail attack, while Barbed Stinger requires a stinger attack; it was updated to LA +1 in Dragon Compendium. The first one is probably fine since the tail has a barb and injects poison, so talk to your DM. The second... ugh, LA +1.
    • Duskling (MoI): They make good Totemists. Bonus essentia, decent stats. There's nothing too shmexy though. EXCEPT they're an excellent race for Soul Eater entry (Soul Eater requires non-human, and Dusklings are Fey).
    • Hellbred (Fiendish Codex II, p. 78): Go body aspect, of course. Tons of flavor points, but not that great a choice. See if your DM extends their Evil Exception to the necro soulmelds. Something to look into.
    • Human: Go Azurin or Silverbrow Human instead.
    • Kobold (RotD): The great Kobolds, great in many circumstances, have very little going for them here. Terrible penalties to stats. While small is often good, not so for natural weapons.
    • Arctic or Desert Kobold with Web Enhancement (Web Enhancement): Well this is a step up. More Str or Con for less Wis and 3 natural attacks! Still small and bad stats though. Oh right, and access to DM soulmelds is a plus.
    • Minotaur (DCS, p. 43). Stumbled upon this the other day. +4 Str, -2 Dex, -2 Int, -2 Cha. +2 NA. Gore (better than claws or bite) attack which does more damage on a charge. +2 to Intimidate, Swim and Use Rope. Can take Scent as a feat. All for no LA!
    • Mongrelfolk (RoD, p. 98): Hefty bonus to Con. Not bad.
    • Orc (Water Orc): Good bonuses for no LA. Go Dragonborn.
    • Rilkan (MoI): Eeeh, don't play one of these.
    • Shifter (ECS, p. 20): Bonus to Dex, penalty to mental stats, shaperchanger subtype, can pseudo-rage, potential to get natural attacks (2 claws or 1 bite), with some feats can get the other one.
    • Shifter, Saurian (Drag Mag 328, p. 60): Now that'sa mo' betta! What a fantastic race. They have the reptilian and shapechanger subtypes, the former qualifies them for the Scaled Horror PrC (SS, p. 83), a level 1 dip giving them Improved Grab. +2 Con, -2 to dump stats, like Shifters they can change shape 1/day and another 1/day per shifter feat. They can choose 2 Shifter traits, 3 of which gain natural weapons (1 grants a bite, 1 grants 2 claws, 1 grants a tail slap), usable while shifting, and the traits give stat bonuses.
      So why are they so much better than the normal Shifter? +2 Con rather than +2 Dex, 2 Shifter traits rather than 1, bigger list of Shifter traits to choose from. Quite the difference.
      There's a Shifter trait in RoE, Gorebrute, which grants a decent natural weapon but you can't combine it with others and you can only use it during a charge (exception: Black Blood Cultist 8).
    • Silverbrow Human (DM): If you want the soulmelds from Dragon Magic then Silverbrow Human is a good way to go about it.
    • Skarn (MoI): Good, not great (why only 1 spine attack?). If you play one check with your DM on interaction of natural weapons.
    • Spiker (Planar Handbook, p. 15): For some reason I really like this race. Darkvision's nice, a little NA, some DR, acid resistance. The best thing about them is the Natural Spikes (Ex). They deal extra damage while grappling and can attack with their spikes like a normal weapon. Note they say, "use their natural spiked skin as a weapon," so while it doesn't explicitly call their spikes a natural weapon it would be natural to do so. Ask your DM.
    • Warforged (ECS): Terrific. Warforged Totemist is one of my favorite combos ever and likely what got me to make this handbook. Loads of immunities, bonus to Con, free natural weapon (a slam), a feat away from a bite and a second slam.

    Templates:
    • Corrupted Creature (BoVD): +4 Str, -2 Dex, +4 Con, -2 Wis, -2 Cha. Hoo boy, 'das nice min-maxing for a Totemist. +4 to natural AC (probably), some DR (which needs to be converted from 3.0 to 3.5), some decent extra vile damage, bump DC of special attacks, fast healing, and ``The damage die used when the creature deals damage with natural attacks increases by one die type [...] as if the creature were one size larger.'' Oh, and you become an Aberration. Very solid template for a Totemist, especially if you're looking to stack size increases. There are problems, of course. First, it's 3.0, and has no listed LA. Technically that makes it LA +0 (hence why it's here), but +1, maybe +2 is more appropriate. Looking at its competition, I think it's quite good for +1, but not unreasonably so. Second, for alignment it says always evil. If anyone's interested, I found this on 4/28/15 while looking for for Bone Creature (2 templates above). Oh, and the split rating is due to the variability.
    • Dragonborn (RotD): +2 Con, -2 Dex. Removes basically all racial features (nice for, say, Orc's Light Sensitivity). Can pick up wings. Pretty solid.
    • Half-Machine (Dungeon 91): +4 Str, +4 Con, four (!?) free bonus feats from a nice list. Two special abilities per 3 HD chosen from separate lists, including extra natural attacks, increased damage for natural attacks, a breath weapon, ability to go invisible (Improved Invisibility) at will as a standard action, immunity to mind-affecting attacks, SR equal to twice its HD, tons of other BS. Basically the only downside is you have to obey the wizard that made you, but this can be removed with Wish, or presumably if the wizard is dead. This is one of the stinkiest, cheesiest template I've ever seen. Only bring it to a game of serious optimizers. It has no mention of LA, which means it is LA +0. To justify this, read
      Quote Originally Posted by SRD
      Generally, if a template does not cause a change to a certain statistic, that entry is missing from the template description.
      That is, no mention of LA is not the same as Level Adjustment: -.
    • Half-Ogre (Drag Mag 313, p. 94): You may have noticed Half-Ogre in the ECL +1 section. Indeed, if the base creature doesn't gain a size increase (that is, is large or huge), you can throw on Half-Ogre for free. In which case it's awesome! You get a *free* +2 NA, darkvision 60, +4 Str, -2 Int and -2 Cha. Good luck explaining your Half-Minotaur, Half-Ogre Saurian Shifter to your DM.
    • Arctic (Drag Mag 306, p. 61): Also known as Ice-Dweller. Free +2 Con (at the price of -2 Cha, which few, few Totemists care about)! +1 to saves v. cold effects, -1 v. fire. +2 to Wilderness Lore (Survival in 3.5). Then there's this last feature, "An ice-dweller whose ancestral race had spell-like abilities retains those and also gains the ability to use ray of frost once per day as a 1st-level caster." Play an Aasimar and claim your celestial ancestor was a Planetar or something.


    ECL +1
    Spoiler
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    Races:
    • Bladeling (MM2, p. 31): There's an official 3.5 version you can find here, which makes it LA +2 and improves their DR. I'm not totally sure what the stats should be going from the 3.0 version. It appears they get +2 Dex, DR 5/+1, one claw attack (?), some NA and a 1/day cone attack. And they're Outsiders.
    • Chaond (MM2, p. 170): Outsider, +4 Dex, +2 Con, some nice resistances, 1/day cast Shatter. Not bad with Manticore Belt, but I wouldn't take the LA for it.
    • Diabolus (DC, p. 9): No stat bonuses, Outsider, some other bonuses, and a natural tail attack which injects poison. They're not worth the LA. See if you can use the LA +0 version.
    • Eneko (SoS, p. 109): These guys are a lot like Half-Giants. Low blue/high green. Something to consider.
    • Goliath (RoS, p. 56): Like Half-Giants and Eneko but better IMO.
    • Half-Giant (SRD): These guys might be a low blue/high green. +2 Str and Con, -2 Dex. Powerful Build is nice for grapplers. If you're going Totemist/PsyWar or the like the 2 bonus PP are nice at low levels.
    • Half-Ogre (SS, p. 218): Why this is a race and not a template, I don't know. I guess the other half is defaulted to human, like Half-Orc or something. Anyway, there's a LA +2 version in RoD but we won't talk about that. Big Str, bonus to Con, large, some NA. Not too shabby. Not fantastic. Note it got reprinted in 3.5 so your DM might (well, probably) won't allow it.
    • Poison Dusk Lizardfolk (MM III, p. 96): Not too shabby. 3 natural attacks, bonus to Dex, bonus to Con. And +3 NA. Then why green? Well, they're small, which most Totemists don't like. Better than a Kobold though.
    • Wildren (Planar Handbook, p. 17): +4 Con, -2 Dex, -2 Cha. Outsider, medium, base speed 20 ft, burrow 10. Darkvision scent, a racial ability like Rage (your DM might let you use this to qualify for things requiring rage). And 2 claw attacks. Certainly worth considering. Plus they have awesome flavor (Dwarf+badger!?).

    Templates:
    • Dark (ToM, p. 161): Not good if you have no intention of being sneaky, but really good for the sneaky Totemist. You move faster, you have free Darkvision, you get saucy skill bonuses, and most importantly Hide in Plain Sight (which may not work exactly as you think; read this thread)!
    • Draconic (RotD, p. 74): Eh, decent bonuses, get some claws, but you'd probably be better off with another level of Totemist. Still, something to consider. Plus you get the dragonblood subtype.
    • Dragonspawn (White) (DCS, p. 222): Better than Draconic. You still get 3 attacks, but the other benefits are way better (+7 NA?).
    • Feral (SS, p. 115): +4 Str, +2 Con, -2 Dex (boo), -4 Int, +2 Wis. Okay, not bad. More speed, some NA, gain 2 claws, get Darkvision and Fast Healing based on HD (does not say monster Hit Dice). Unfortunately, as ArchangelAzrael pointed out, the really good abilities (Improved Grab, Pounce, Rake, Rend) do make specific mention of monster HD. Shucks.
    • Half-Minotaur (Drag Mag 313, p. 94): So good! So good your DM may not allow it. +4 Str, +2 Con *on top of* the stat gains from a size increase. Wait, a size increase! So your natural attacks do more damage. But there's more! You get a gore attack! And even more goodies!
    • Half-Ogre (Drag Mag 313, p. 94): Wait, Half-Ogre again? Yup, both a race and a template. Good, but nowhere near as good as Half-Minotaur (seriously, what were they thinking with Half-Minotaur?).
    • Lolth-touched (MMIV, p. 93): Hefty bonus to Str and Con, but that's pretty much it (good skill bonuses for the sneaky Totemist). Oh, and you have to be evil.
    • Mineral Warrior (Underdark p. 97): Good stats, bonus to NA, burrow speed, good DR. Solid choice.
    • Symbiotic Creature (Savage Species, p. 131): Like Half-Machine, this is stinky, stinky, stinky cheese. Read this.


    ECL +2
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    • Anthropomorphic Giant Octopus (SS, p. 216): 2 RHD, 0 LA, so at least you get some BAB and saves. For stats, +2 Str, +6 Dex, -2 Con (ouch), +4 Wis, -4 Cha. Also, +2 NA. Then why so good? You get 6 tentacle attacks AND a bite attack. That's right, 7 natural attacks. It seems you keep special attacks which do not rely on nonhumanoid shape, so maybe you keep Constrict and Improved Grab. Add Amphibious from Stormwrack (p. 136) to breathe out of water at the price of 2 Dex.
    • Dolgrim (ECS, p. 281): 4 arms which you can get natural attacks on, but not worth it.
    • Githyanki (MM, p. 128): Good, but not worth the +2 LA.
    • Githzerai (MM, p. 129): Like their cousins, good but not worth it.

    Templates:
    • Aberrant Limbs (DMGII, p. 158): It talks about NPC's, but gives a LA, so... it seems a PC can take it. Anyway. You get 2 extra arms or legs. Presumably if you're a race with claws, your extra arms get claws, too (consult DM, of course). Extra arms gives Multiweapon Fighting, extra legs gives +20 feet to speed. Terribly inferior to Obah-blessed.
    • Obah-blessed (Dungeon Mag 136, p. 61): The 2-arm variant. Stumbled upon this the other day. You get +4 to grapple, 2 more arms complete with natural attacks if you already had natural attacks, +2 Str, +4 Dex, +2 Con, +4 Cha. Free Multiweapon Fighting if you use weapons.


    ECL +3
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    • Anthropomorphic Baleen Whale (SS, p. 217): Great stats, large, somehow +0 LA but 3 RHD. Friggin' amazing if you can get rid of those RHD.
    • Taer (UE, p. 73): Suboptimal due to the 2 RHD, but if you can somehow get around that (cheesy methods or DM kindness, dropping them down to +1 LA) then they're really good. +4 Str, +2 Con, hit to Int and Cha. Two slams and a bite. Darkvision, some NA, cold subtype. Interestingly, they're a medium Giant. Also, bonuses to Jump.
    • Thri-Kreen (Shining South, p. 15): Decent stats, four arms each with a claw, a bite, some NA, huge bonus to jump. Sounds great! But 2 RHD and +1 LA. Ouch. Decent, but not worth it in my book. It'd be purple if you can get rid of the RHD by getting level drained or something.

    Templates:
    • Obah-blessed (Dungeon Mag 136, p. 61): The 4-arm variant. +8 to grapple, 4 more arms complete with natural attacks if you already had natural attacks, +4 Str, +6 Dex, +4 Con, +6 Cha. Free Multiweapon Fighting if you use weapons. Probably not worth it without free LA or LA buyoff, but worth considering.


    ECL +4
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    Templates:
    • Wight (SS, p. 137): Undead so you lose the Con and need Undead Meldshaper and a decent Wisdom, but *all their natural weapons* gain the energy drain, *2* negative levels if they fail a Fort save. And numerous other bonuses. They'd be purple were it not for the stunning +4 LA.


    Silly combos
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    • Half-Ogre Half-Minotaur Arctic Mongrelfolk Dragonborn (+1 LA). +8 Str and +10 Con without the extra bonuses from increased size, +16 Str and +14 Con with it. Not bad and utterly ****ing ridiculous, respectively.
    • Half-Ogre Half-Minotaur Arctic Water Orc Dragonborn (+1 LA). +12 Str and +8 Con without the size increase bonuses, +20 Str and +12 Con with it. +20 Str for LA +1?
    • Half-Minotaur Minotaur (+1 LA).
    • Half-Ogre Half-Ogre (+1 LA or +2 LA).
    • Obad-Blessed Thri-Kreen (+4 LA, 2 RHD) with Girallon's Arms bound. 10 claw attacks. Wut wut? Throw on Girallon's Blessing and some grafts, even more!

    Last edited by danzibr; 2015-04-28 at 08:40 PM.
    My one and only handbook: My Totemist Handbook
    My one and only homebrew: Book of Flux
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    A comment on tiers, by Prime32
    Quote Originally Posted by KillianHawkeye View Post
    As a DM, I deal with character death by cheering and giving a fist pump, or maybe a V-for-victory sign. I would also pat myself on the back, but I can't really reach around like that.
      /l、
    ゙(゚、 。 7
     l、゙ ~ヽ
     じしf_, )ノ

  7. - Top - End - #7
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    Default Re: Another Totemist Handbook (WIP, please wait to post until the Builds post)

    7: Feats, Skill Tricks, Flaws and Traits

    Here I won't be picking apart every feat found in MoI and elsewhere, rather mentioning highlights.

    Feats
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    As mentioned elsewhere, some things (items, soulmelds) say they you gain the feat, and some say you gain the benefit of the feat. Since you need the actual feat to qualify for prestige classes, some DM's might say merely have the benefit is not sufficient.

    Feats which grant you natural weapons
    • Bite
      • Deformity (Teeth) (HoH, p. 121). Requires Willing Deformity and evil. Get a bite attack. Two feats for a single bite, subpar.
      • Jaws of Death (RoE, p. 119). Requires Warforged, gives you a bite attack. Just one feat, that's better.
    • Claw
      • Deformity (Clawed Hands) (BoVD, p. 48). Requires Willing Deformity and it's a vile feat. You get a claw attack. Only one it seems, unfortunately.
      • Minor Shapeshift [Reserve] (CM, p. 45). Requires ability to cast 4th level spells. Get a primary claw attack dealing 1d6 damage for medium, given you have a Polymorph spell of at least 4th level available to cast.
    • Ram
      • Practiced Binder (ToM, p. 74). Requires Bind Vestige. If you choose Amon you get a ram attack. Ram attacks are pretty good, but again... multiple feats for a lone attack.
    • Slam
      • Second Slam (RoE, p. 120). Requires Warforged and BAB +6, gives you another slam attack. One feat, one natural attack. Also, although it's 2 slams, it doesn't fall under the, two slams bad" part of Darrin's, "One slam good, two slams bad," since the text calls out you get a second slam whenever you get a slam. That is, instead of getting 2 distinct natural weapons, you get 2 attacks with the same natural weapon.
    • Tail
      • Dragon Tail (RotD, p. 98). Requires dragonblood subtype and level 1, gives you a tail attack. You can get one for shaping Dragon Tail, though.
    • Tentacle
      • Deepspawn (LoM, p. 179). Gives you two tentacles attacks (they sprout from the waist, so surely combinable with others), 1d4 damage each, and +2 to grapple checks. Unfortunately you need the Aberration Blood feat and one other (it's suggested you take Inhuman Reach to get +5 feet to reach for all weapons). 3 feats for two natural attacks... and tentacles are rare. Worth considering, but not excellent.
      • Illithid Grapple (CPsi, p. 61). Requires Illithid Heritage and one other Illithid feat. Gives 1 tentacle attack (from the face) with Improved Grab. You can take it up to 4 times, for 4 tentacles total (6 feats). I'd only take it if I were a Psychic Warrior//Totemist (they count as psionic feats, so a PsyWar can pick 'em up).
    • Other
      • Extra Shifter Trait (RoE, p. 114). Requires Shifter and two other Shifter feats. Presumably a Saurian Shifter can pick up a third trait (so 4 natural weapons when shifting). If you're going Saurian Shifter, you shouldn't need this.

    Feats which grant you more attacks with your natural weapons
    • Rapidstrike (Draconomicon, p. 73). Requires 9 Dex, certain creature type, BAB +10, if you have a pair or set of natural weapons you get 1 extra attack at -5. Not worth it outside of King of Smack.
    • Improved Rapidstrike (Draconomicon, p. 70). Requires Multiattack, BAB +15. More attacks with a single natural weapon in a pair or set.

    Feats which grant you more attacks but not with natural weapons
    • Improved Unarmed Strike (SRD). Basically free natural attacks based on BAB. You can attack with any part of your body, so stacks with all natural weapons (basically).

    Feats which buff your natural weapons
    • Overcoming DR
      • Cold Iron Tracery (RoE, p. 120). Requires Warforged, natural weapons and grapple checks overcome DR as if cold iron.
      • Silver Tracery (RoE, p. 120). Requires Warforged, natural weapons and grapple checks overcome DR as if silver.
    • Increasing damage
      • Improved Natural Attack (SRD). Requires a natural weapon and BAB +4. Choose a natural weapon type (claw, bite, etc.), they deal damage as if one size category larger. It is a damage increase, but almost negligible unless you're stacking size increases. Note if you have multiple claws, then it seems all the claws get the increased damage. Check the tiger and dire tiger stat blocks for support.
      • Sanctify Natural Attack (BoED, p. 46). You need 1 or more natural weapon, BAB +5. All your natural weapons deal an extra point of damage to evil creatures, or an extra 1d4 to evil outsiders and undead, and they're good-aligned for overcoming DR. Take it if you're going VoP.
      • Shifter Savagery (RoE, p. 115). Requires Shifter, BAB +6, ability to rage or frenzy. While shifting and raging, doubles threat range and increases damage of *all* natural weapons by 2 steps! It's a terrible, terrible pity that is explicitly doesn't stack with other effects (either of the abilities) except for genuinely increasing your size.
    • Increasing accuracy
      • Multiattack (SRD). Requires 3 or more natural attacks. The secondary attacks only get a -2 penalty (usually -5). Unless you have ridiculous bonus to hit, you should pick this up.
      • Improved Multiattack (Draconomicon, p. 70). Requires Multiattack. Removes the attack penalty on secondary attacks. Not as necessary as Multiattack, but still very good.
      • Weapon Focus Of course Weapon Focus sucks. A feat for a static +1 to attack. However, it's a requirement for Kensai, which is respectable for Manticore Belt users.
    • Grappling
      • Barbed Stinger (SK, p. 144). Requires a sting attack (like from Wormtail Belt). Gives you Improved Grab with your sting attack. Essential in certain builds, but otherwise not good.

    Other notable feats
    • Deformity (Tall) (HoH, p. 121). Requires evil, Willing Deformity, medium. Extra 5' of reach. Worth considering but inferior to Inhuman Reach in most cases.
    • Greater Multigrab (SS, p. 35). Needs Str 19, Dex 15, Multigrab. Eliminates the grappling-with-body-part penalty altogether, like another +10 bonus to grapple above Multigrab. Obviously not good if you don't plan on doing this, but terrific if you do.
    • Hidden Talent (EPH, p. 67). Can only be taken at 1st level. It gives you 2 power points and a single 1st level power from any list, but you need at least 11 Cha. It's like Wild Talent, but better, and it specifically called out as a high-powered version of it. Anyway, Expansion is a big one (no pun intended). The duration is 1 minute/level (the SRD is wrong, or at least doesn't include errata, check the version in EPH), so for twice a day, you become bigger for 10 rounds! Nice. There are other options too, of course. Quite a feat.
    • Inhuman Reach (LoM, p. 180). Mentioned above. Needs Aberration Blood, gives 5 more feet of reach to all weapons. Extra reach is good, but I don't think it's worth the 2 feats. However, take it if you're going for Deepspawn.
    • Intuitive Attack (BoED, p. 44). It's exalted. Needs BAB +1, you use your Wis modifier rather than Str for attack rolls with simple or natural weapons. Could be good in some builds.
    • Multigrab (SS, p. 37). Needs Str 17 and Improved Grab (the special ability). Reduces the grappling-with-body-part penalty to -10 (normally -20). Obviously terrific if you plan on grappling with parts of your body (like a freakin' +10 bonus) but not good otherwise.
    • Power Attack. Power Attack is... good but not great for a Totemist (much better in gestalt). First, we have medium BAB. Second, it's 1:1 for natural weapons. Third, Dread Carapace shaped gives you something like PA. In the right build it works, but Totemists are quite feat-starved as is. Still, worth considering.
    • Scorpion's Grasp (Sandstorm p. 52). Requires Str 13, IUS, Improved Grapple. A solid grappling feat, if you deal damage with unarmed strike, light or one-handed melee weapon (natural attacks are usually considered light weapons) then you get a free grapple.
    • Stormguard Warrior (ToB, p. 36). I'll just quote Person_Man here, "Stormguard Warrior Feat: You "give up" damage from attacks to gain a bonus to-hit and damage on all attacks next round. It's already been mentioned by Piggy on this thread, but it's worth reiterating that this Feat with a Totemist/Warblade can provide huge bonuses to-hit and damage, without the need for Power Attack, massive size, maneuvers, etc. (And it can be used with Power Attack without the need for Shock Trooper to provide even bigger damage bonuses). Requires Ironheart Aura, +6 BAB, two Iron Heart Maneuvers."
    • Sun School (CW, p. 112). Requires Flurry of Blows and BAB +4. You get a free attack after you teleport in next to the foe. Good with Blink Shirt.
    • Touch of Golden Ice (BoED, p. 47). Not bad, not bad. Any evil enemy hit, "with your bare hand, fist, or natural weapon" makes a Fort save DC 14 or take 1d6 Dex damage then another 2d6 1 minute later. The save doesn't increase, but with a butt ton of natural attacks (and you probably have a Fanged Ring or something) the enemy should roll a 1 sooner or later.
    • Vow of Poverty (BoED, p. 49). Requires Sacred Vow. Ahh, the great (so to speak) Vow of Poverty, topic of countless threads. While standard WBL is superior to Vow of Poverty, I can see a few great reasons to take this feat:
      1. You are far below WBL.
      2. You don't feel like spending the time to search for all the right items to buy.
      3. You like the flavor.
      4. You want to nerf yourself.

      The average Totemist will suffer from taking Vow of Poverty (uurrgghhhh TWO feats on an already feat-starved class) but not nearly as much as other classes. VoP is probably "better" only on someone who focuses on shapechanging (by whatever means) or Monk.
    • Weapon Finesse. This can be a very solid choice. If you specialize in Manticore Belt you surely have high dex, and increasing your melee accuracy doesn't hurt. If you're face bashing you probably have a Fanged Ring (or have some Monk or something in you), and Weapon Finesse applies to both unarmed attacks and natural weapons. You do lose quite a bit of damage (even then, if you have like a DFI Bard or something the lost damage is nigh negligible), but you gain AC, Ref saves, potential AoE's, initiative, etc.

    Feats from MoI
    Given how we're working out of MoI, I thought it would be appropriate to mention some of the key feats here. Note a feat with the [Incarnum] tag means you can invest essentia in it. It does *not* mean you get essentia from it (though this is often the case), and there are feats without the [Incarnum] tag which do give you essentia. If I don't mention a feat it's because I think it's not worth mentioning.
    • Azure Talent [Incarnum, Psionic]. Needs Con 13, PP reserve. Get bonus PP based on essentia invested. The feat is okay for a Soul Manifester if you use it as intended, but you can unlimited PP off of it using a combo. Search, "MoI Infini-manifesting." Needs Psycarnum Infusion as well. Plus gain 1 essentia.
    • Azure Wild Shape [Incarnum]. Needs Con 13, Wild Shape class feature. Gain insight bonus to damage with natural weapons while wild shaped based on essentia invested, +1/essentia. But wait! It doesn't say just the natural weapons from your form. Plus gain 1 essentia.
    • Bonus Essentia. Requires 13 Con and level 6, gets you 2 essentia. Too bad you have to wait until level 6.
    • Cobalt Charge [Incarnum]. Requires Con 13. +1/essentia insight bonus to attack and damage to every attack on a charge. Decent if you're an ubercharger with a ton of natural weapons, but something like Thunderstep Boots is better. Plus gain 1 essentia.
    • Cobalt Power [Incarnum]. Needs Con 13, Str 13, Power Attack. Bonuses attack rolls for Bull Rush, Overrun, Sunder, bonuses to damage for PA. Decent. Plus gain 1 essentia.
    • Divine Soultouch [Divine]. Con 13, ability to turn or rebuke undead. Spend a turn or rebuke attempt as a free action to add 1 point of essentia to your pool for 1 round, which is okay, and the real kicker is for that round, your essentia cap is raised by 1.
    • Double Chakra (MoI, p. 37). Requires meldshaper level 9, lets you bind two soulmelds to the same chakra. Naturally, pick the totem chakra.
    • Expanded Soulmeld Capacity. Requires 15 Con and meldshaper level 1, raises the essentia cap of a single soulmeld by 1 (you choose it every time you shape). Too bad this can't work with feats and class features.
    • Improved Essentia Capacity. Needs Con 12, 2 essentia. Increases essentia capacity of [Incarnum] feats by 1. If you use them a lot, then hey, this can be good.
    • Midnight Augmentation [Incarnum, Psionic]. Like Azure Talent, is decent when used like it's supposed to, but can get unlimited PP. It's the first trick in the link for Azure Talent.
    • Open <whatever> Chakra. It's not totally clear what these feats do. By the strictest reading, it is only useful if you chakra binds, say, from being a Totemist. A Totemist 2/Monk 18 has precisely 1 chakra bind, and can only bind things to his/her Totem. Take Open Least Chakra (Hands) and now he/she can bind to either his/her Totem or Hands.
      A less strict reading is that it gives you a chakra bind. For example, if a Monk 20 takes Shape Soulmeld (Thunderstep Boots) and Open Least Chakra (Feet), he or she could shape and bind the boots to his or her feet.
      With the stricter interpretation, it's essentially useless for a pure Totemist, but could be handy for multiclass. With the second interpretation, it's pretty nice since you get more binds (and small bonuses depending on which chakra you open).
    • Psycarnum Crystal [Psionic]. Need Con 13, Psicrystal Affinity, essentia pool. Why Sinfire rated this as good, I don't know. It *only* gives you 1 essentia, and situationally at that. In other words, it's strictly inferior to any other feat which gives you essentia. The only time you should take it is if you get a bonus [Psionic] feet, like from being a PsyWar.
    • Psycarnum Infusion [Psionic]. Needs Con 13, Concentration 4 ranks. Another one which is decent as-is, and stellar when you abuse it for unlimited PP. Check the link mentioned in Azure Talent.
    • Shape Soulmeld. This is potentially very good for a Totemist. As a Totemist you have your own load of essentia and you can bind stuff to your chakras. Feel free to pick up any Soulborn or Incarnate soulmeld and use them as you wish. Thunderstep Boots and Astral Vambraces come to mind, though there are other good ones. See Table 2.
    • Share Soulmeld. In the words of Person_Man, "The most powerful Feat a Totemist or Incarnate can take is Share Soulmeld." And I'm inclined to agree, given it's applicable (hence the split color rating). If you don't have a familiar or AC or mount (with which you can share spells), it's obviously worthless. If you do have one, they can benefit from ALL OF YOUR SOULMELDS! Including essentia bonuses and everything. Think snapping twice as many spikes with Manticore Belt. Or giving your animal companion an extra half dozen (or more) natural attacks. Yeah.
    • Split Chakra. Put stuff on Incarnum Focus items instead.
    • Undead Meldshaper. Requires Int 13, Undead type. You can use Wis rather than Con for determining the max number of soulmelds and save DC's (provided they use Con normally). Why so terrible? It doesn't remove the Con prereq's from anything else. If you really want to be an undead meldshaper, talk to your DM about that problem. The red is a little overly harsh, but really, you probably shouldn't be an undead Totemist.

    "Free" feats
    • Go to the List of Stuff and search what you're looking for. For example, type in, "Bonus Feats."
    • Better yet, this thread does a better job than I ever could.
    • From Complete Scoundrel, surviving the Otyugh Hole for a week gets you either Extend Rage, Iron Will, Menacing Demeanor or Skill Focus (Intimidate) as a bonus feat. Costs ya 3k gold. The Frog God's Fane gives you Skill Focus (History or Nature or Religion) for 2k gold. Heward's Hall gives you Skill Focus (Perform) or a Bardic feat for 5k gold. The Highest Spire gives Skill Focus (Climb) or Agile Athlete for 3k gold. Iron Wyrm Vault gives Nimble Fingers, Skill Focus (Disable Device, Hide, Move Silently, Open Lock, or Search), Stealthy, or Tactile Trapsmith for 3k gold. Excellent for meeting some PrC requirements.


    Skill tricks
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    Skill tricks are found in Complete Scoundrel, starting at page 83.

    Most skill tricks are always useless to a Totemist (especially considering their poor skill list), many are used only by certain Totemists. However, a few noteworthy ones should be obtained by almost any Totemist.

    I would try to get Clarity of Vision, Collector of Stories, Listen to This, Point it Out, Spot the Weak Point.

    And really... that's about it. There are plenty of good skill tricks out there, but the pure Totemist has such a poor skill list. Spot and Listen are good, but no Tumble, no Balance, no Jump... it really limits things.

    Flaws and traits
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    Flaws: Okay, here's my opinion on flaws (keep in mind I'm not a very crunchy person): they should be meaningful. An ubercharging taking Shaky is really just a free feat. Granted, we all like free feats. Most are found in the SRD, and here's a post with ones from Dragon Magazine. Keep in mind they aren't actually class-specific, just oriented toward the given class. Some good (in the crunchy sense) flaws are Frail since you have a ton of hp anyway, Meager Fortitude because your Fort save should be really high anyway, Vulnerable because a -1 to AC is nbd, etc.

    Traits: Aggressive is good for a Totemist, and can fit the flavor well. Going first and charging in with a pounce and one-shotting dudes is fun. Brawler is good if you're going grappler, but keep in mind you lose it if you get IUS (and most Totemists love IUS). Try to "gain the benefits of IUS" rather than gaining IUS itself, should cheese your way around losing the bonuses. Quick is usually good, etc.


    Equipment and Spells/Powers

    Obligatory link to [3.5] List of Necessary Magic Items.
    Also check Sinfire's Graft Handbook. And Veyr's.

    Long story short, there are two different rules for grafts: with the earlier rules (which apply to Beholder, Fiendish, Maug, Aboleth, Silithar, Illithid, Yuan-ti and Undead), you can have as many grafts as you wish, and you can mix and match the types; with the later rules (which apply to Deathless, Elemental, Plant, Construct and Draconic) you can only have up to 5 grafts, you have body slots for them, and you cannot have more than one type.

    For a note on grafts: some grafts make it totally clear you're replacing a limb, some make it very clear you're adding a limb, and others are vague. For example, under Fiendish grafts in FF, it says
    Quote Originally Posted by FF, p. 209
    Fiendish grafts are body parts of fiendish nature that can be attached to the body of another corporeal creature.
    Emphasis mine. Similar text is used for many of the other grafts. Plus, the word "graft" doesn't have to do with replacing body parts, only adding. I am of the opinion that unless it specifically replaces a body part (like Replacement Tail), you get an extra weapon. In any case, ask your DM if grafts replace limbs (when relevant) or add more.
    Gear
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    Gear (including grafts and symbionts) which grants you natural weapons

    Here I won't be putting all the gear that could possibly give natural weapons, but rather key items that I know of.
    • Bites
      • Fanged Mask (MIC, p. 99, 8,300 gold). Gives you a bite attack treated as magic for overcoming DR. Limited attempts to stun.
      • Grasping Mandibles (FF, p. 212, 15k gold). It's an Illithid graft (so it uses the old rules). Gives you a bite attack with free Improved Grab.
      • Serpent Arm (SK, p. 154, 12k gold). It's a Yuan-ti graft (so it uses the old rules), and that's not a typo. You graft an arm, the arm ends in a snake head which can bite. 1d4 damage, poison, Fort DC 10+.5*character level+Con modifier, initial and secondary damage 1d6 Con).
    • Buffets
      • Winged Cape (RoE, p. 177). Unfortunately a minor artifact, and it's a Warforged component. If you somehow get your hands on this you get 2 buffet attacks and some good flight.
    • Claws
      • Beast Claws (SS, p. 49, 9,610 gold). They're +1 spiked gauntlets, give you 2 claw attacks, 1d4 damage. If you already have claws, they're +2 instead and deal base claw damage +1d6. Interestingly, there's a Druid spell of the exact same name.
      • Clawed Arm (FF, p. 210, 4k gold). It's a Fiendish graft (so it uses the old rules). +4 untyped bonus to Str and an extra claw attack. Man that's good (even if your DM rules it replaces an arm)!
      • Crawling Gauntlet (MoE, p. 155, 2k gold according to p. 154 of MoE). It's a symbiont. Get a claw attack. While it's only 2k, claws (along with bites) are the most common natural weapons, and it covers your hand, so you don't get an extra claw attack if you already had one.
      • Rending Claw (FF, p. 212, 5k gold). It's an Illithid graft (so it uses the old rules). Gives you a claw attack with a x3 critical. 5k for an extra attack is a good deal, but go Clawed Arm instead.
      • Skeletal Hand (LM, p. 80, 3k gold). It's an Undead graft (so it uses the old rules), gives you a claw attack. This one... it's just a hand, so it's more reasonable that it replaces a hand (if you just attach it to your body, how's it going to reach your opponent?). If it replaces a hand, it's not very good. If it doesn't, hey, 3k for an extra attack!
      • Taloned Arm (RotD, p. 130, 34k gold). It's a Draconic graft (so it uses the new rules), gives you a single claw attack. Rip off.
    • Gore
      • Fiendish Jaw (FF, p. 210, 2k gold). It's a Fiendish graft (so it uses the old rules), gives a gore (not bite) natural attack. Extra attack for 2k (assuming it doesn't replace a bite).
      • Horned Helm (MIC, p. 112, 4k gold) gives a gore attack. Cheap extra attack.
    • Manufactured Weapon
      • Weapon Graft (FF, p. 213, weapon price+1k gold). It's an Illithid graft (so it uses the old rules). Graft any weapon onto your hand, and get +1 to attack and damage with it, and it becomes a natural weapon. You can slap an artifact on there, I guess.
    • Slam
      • Buffeting Wings (RotD, p. 127, 100k gold). It's a Draconic graft (so it uses the new rules). Get two slam attacks (explicitly mentioned as wings). Expensive but good.
      • Mighty Arms (FoE, p. 158, 10k gold). It's a Construct graft (so it uses the new rules). Gives a slam attack. It says, "You can make a slam attack while wielding a weapon in the other hand."
      • Mummified Hand (LM, p. 80, 16.2k gold). It's an Undead graft (so it uses the old rules), gives a slam attack (from the arm, presumably). However, it's not called out as a natural attack, but by RAW it should be.
      • Smashing Tail (RotD, p. 130, 30k gold). It's a Draconic graft (so it uses the new rules), gives you a secondary slam attack. It's explicitly on your lower body.
      • Zombie Arm (LM, p. 80, 25k gold). It's an Undead graft (so it uses the old rules). Gives a slam (not called out as natural), +2 Str, -2 Dex.
    • Sting
      • Tongueworm (ECS, p. 300, 25k gold according to p. 154 of MoE). It's a symbiont. Gives a poisonous sting attack (among other things), replaces a bite if you have one.
    • Tentacle
      • Aboleth Tentacle (FF, p. 208, 50k gold). It's an Aboleth graft (so it uses the old rules). Gives an extra natural attack (explicitly can be attached beneath a limb). Sounds good, but all Aboleth grafts wither up after 1d4+1 days. So... it's crap.
      • Wriggler (Dragon Magazine, p. 60). It's a symbiont. While these can be bought (see p. 154 of MoE), this one has no price, which is a pity because you gain 4 tentacle attacks.
    • Type not specified
      • Flexible Arm (FF, p. 211, 27k gold). It's a Fiendish graft (so it uses the old rules), gives a natural attack (presumably a claw, type not specified). Inferior to Grappling Tentacle for most purposes.
      • Grappling Tentacle (FF, p. 211, 20k gold). It's a Fiendish graft (so it uses the old rules), gives a natural attack (presumably a tentacle, but type not specified). And bonus to Str when using tentacle and grapple.
      • Long Arm (FF, p. 211, 5k gold). It's a Fiendish graft (so it uses the old rules). Get a natural attack (slam, perhaps?) with an extra 5' of reach.
      • Mohrg's Tongue (LM, p. 80, 24k gold). It's an Undead graft (so it uses the old rules)... it doesn't say it gives you a natural attack, but it says you treat it as a secondary weapon. Make a melee touch attack, can paralyze for 1d4 rounds, Fort DC 17 negates.
      • Sting Tail (FF, p. 211, 50k gold). It's a Fiendish graft (so it uses the old rules), gives a natural attack (presumably a sting or tail sting or whatever, type not specified), doesn't scale with size, also deals Str damage (Fort negates).
    • Variable
      • Fleshshifter Armor (BoVD, p. 111, 13,160 gold). +1 leather armor made from the skin of humanoids *shudders*, gives you Alter Self at will. Alter Self has quite a few limitations on creature type and only goes up to 5 HD, but hey, it's still a good item if you're evil and low level.
      • Phylactery of Change (A&EG, p. 135, 11.2k gold). You can use Polymorph on yourself once per day (up to 7HD, since that's the CL which makes it, though maybe you can pay more for a higher cap?), and it lasts as long as you wish (it can be dispelled though, so watch out). I discovered this long after I discovered Skin of Proteus. While the latter is more useful for utility since you can change forms on the fly, if you want to just pick a good melee form a stick with it, Phylactery of Change is friggin' awesome.
      • Skin of Proteus (SRD, 84k gold). Unbelievably good. Turn into almost anything (well, there are quite a few restrictions, but there are still a *lot* of options) all day, any day, up to 7 HD. Anyway, for the natural weapons you keep/lose, it appears (correct me if I'm wrong) you lose all the natural weapons granted by race and feats.
        And this sentence for gear: "When the change occurs, your equipment either remains worn or held by the new form (if it is capable of wearing or holding the item in question) or melds into the new form and becomes nonfunctional."
        Thus if you have natural weapons granted by gear (and your new form can use the gear) then you keep those natural weapons. In particular, you can still use all your soulmelds! Truly a fantastic item. Good options:
        • 7-headed hydra. Huge, good stats, 7 bite attacks. By chopping your heads off you might be able to get up to 14 (though probably not; the text doesn't spell it out, but the head regrowing is probably an extraordinary special quality).
        • Wyvern. A total of 6 attacks, large, decent stats. The lowish Con might mess with your soulmelds. But you do get fly speed. In most cases hydra will be the better of the two.
        • Giant Stag Beetle is another option. It only has 1 bite, but it's a whopping 4d6 base damage. Totem Avatar to shoulders ups it by 1 to 6d6, Improved Natural Attack to 8d6, somehow get bigger for 12d6. Or maybe Sizing on Necklace of Natural Weapons (however that works). Greater Mighty Wallop works since bites do bludgeoning damage.
        • Remorhaz only gets one bite, and it's not a great bite, but you get Improved Grab, Swallow Whole, and potentially their Heat ability. Keep in mind that when you do Metamorphosis you gain the extraordinary special attacks. Too bad they don't distinguish between special attacks v. special qualities (only providing examples).
        • Rukanyr from Fiend Folio, p. 144. It's an Aberration, which is totally okay for Metamorphosis. 21 Str, 7 Dex, 24 Con, large, 1 slam, 6 claws, 3 bites. That's right, 10 attacks.
        • Tako from OA, p. 193. They only have 4 HD and they're Aberrations, so an Elan can Alter Self into one at level 4. They get a bite and 8 arms, though 1 arm has to be used to anchor itself, it seems. Now the strange this is... the arms deal 0 damage. They don't even get a bonus from high Str (correct me if I'm wrong). They're only used for Improved Grab, it looks like. Still, worth mentioning. Oh, and 20 Str, 15 Dex, 12 (!) Con. Watch out for that Con, since it'll mess with your soulmelds.
        • Tiger. Surprisingly good. 6 HD, so you're good there. 23 Str, 15 Dex, 17 Con, large. A bite and 2 claw, and 2 rakes if you pounce.
    • Unarmed strike
      • Fanged Ring (Dragon Magic, p. 101, 10k gold) gives you Improved Unarmed Strike and Improved Natural Attack (Unarmed Strike), and if you crit with an unarmed strike (but not other natural weapons) you deal 1 point of Con damage. Since you attack with any part of your body this essentially gives you free attacks (do your usual main attack and iteratives then all natural weapons as secondary attacks).

    Gear which buffs your natural weapons

    Here I won't be putting all the gear that could possibly buff your natural weapons, but rather key items that I know of (some repetition from above).
    • Augment crystals
      The rules for augment crystals are talked about in MiC, p. 221. The crystals themselves (the weapon ones, anyway) start on p. 64. Basically, instead of enchanting a weapon, you put a crystal on it, and these crystals grant various bonuses. Each weapon can only have a single crystal, and the weapon needs to be masterwork for lesser crystals, be magical with an enhancement bonus of +1 or higher for lesser, and same but +3 for greater.
      Now... this is sort of confusing. What if you have a bite attack and want to put a Lesser Crystal of Acid Assault on your jaw? It's not masterwork, so you can't. Okay, but what if you have an Amulet of Mighty Fists? Can you then? Does the crystal go on your jaw or the amulet? Ultimately, consult your DM.
      As far as which ones to get, Crystal of Energy Assault, Demolition Crystal, Truedeath Crystal.
    • Overcoming DR or miss chance
      • Dragonfang Gauntlets (MiC, p. 95, 8610 gold) give you +2 enhancement to Str, with your unarmed strikes they overcome DR/magic.
      • Gauntlets of Ghost Fighting (MIC, p. 216, 4k gold) lets you deal damage to incorporeal creatures as normal, negating the 50% miss chance, and you even get an extra 1d6 damage against incorporeal foes.
      • Ghost Shroud (MIC, p. 104, 5k gold) lets you affect incorporeal creatures as if ghost-touch. Plus you get +1 deflection bonus to AC.
      • Golembane Scarab (SRD, 2,500 gold) lets your natural weapons overcome DR for golems.
      • Ring of Adamantine Touch (MIC, p. 121, 6k gold) lets your melee weapons (including natural) overcome DR as if adamantine.
      • Wyrmfang Amulet (MIC, p. 148, 1,350 gold) lets your natural weapons overcome DR as if magic.
      • Necklace of Natural Weapons (Savage Species, p. 58, cost of enchantment*weapons affected+600). Read the entry in, "Increasing damage" for more details. It's here because you can put, say, Seeking on it.
    • Increasing damage of natural weapons
      • Amulet of Mighty Fists (6k for +1, 24k for +2, 54k for +3, 96k for +4, 150k for +5) is an excellent choice if you have a butt load of natural weapons. They are ridiculously expensive but you get the listed bonus to *all* of your natural weapons' attack and damage.
      • Bands of Blood Rage (MIC, p. 202, 2,600 gold) gives you +5 morale bonus on melee weapon damage rolls, 3/day for 5 rounds.
      • Bracers of Lightning (MIC, p. 206, 10k gold) lets *all* your weapons get shocking for 1 round, takes a swift action to activate, and you can use it as often as you like from what I can tell. So if you're okay giving up your swift actions you get a lot of extra 1d6 electricity damage.
      • Claw Extenders (Drag Mag 334, p. 87). It talks about equipping them on animals, but presumably anything with a claw can wield it. It costs 20 gold, does a measly +1 damage, *but* they're gear! Meaning they can be made masterwork and enchanted! And put Augment Crystals on them! Or make them out of special materials! I think they only come one at a time (as opposed to, say, in pairs).
      • Gloves of the Uldra Savant (MIC, p. 107, 3,100 gold) lets you imbue any "melee weapon held in your hand with the frost property" 3 times per day for 5 rounds apiece. Consult your DM on natural weapons. Honestly I wouldn't let it, but... it's worth a shot.
      • Jaws of the Dragon (Draconomicon, p. 83, 40k gold) lets one bite natural weapon deal damage as if one size category larger (despite what Solo said).
      • Necklace of Natural Weapons (Savage Species, p. 58, cost of enchantment*weapons affected+600). This should be contrasted to Amulet of Mighty Fists. Amulet of Mighty Fists works on all of your natural weapons, can only give + to attack and damage and costs a flat 3 times as much as the usual +1-+5. Necklace of Natural Attacks works on as many natural weapons as you pay it to, can give nifty bonuses like Flaming in addition to + to attack and damage, and the price is (# of natural weapons affected) times the usual +1-+10.
        So what does this mean? Well, Amulet of Mighty Fists is far better if you have a great deal of natural attacks. If you're specializing in one natural attack (*cough* Manticore Belt) then not only is Necklace of Natural Weapons cheaper, it's more versatile.
      • Poison Fangs (SK, p. 154, 8k gold). It's a Yuan-ti graft (so it uses the old rules). Adds poison to your bite attack. If you don't have a bite attack, you can only deliver the poison to a pinned or helpless foe.
      • Spike Stones (FF, p. 214, 5k gold). It's a Maug graft (so it uses the old rules). Takes a standard action to grow them, and presumably they stay grown, so to speak. They deal more damage in a grapple, you can use them as a light weapon, and according to my reading, they add 1d4 piercing damage to all unarmed strikes and natural attacks.
    • Increasing accuracy
      • Amulet of Mighty Fists (6k for +1, 24k for +2, 54k for +3, 96k for +4, 150k for +5) again.
      • Necklace of Natural Weapons (Savage Species, p. 58, cost of enchantment*weapons affected+600) again.
    • Bettering unarmed strikes
      • Dragonfang Gauntlets (MIC, p. 95, 8610 gold) give you +2 enhancement to Str, with your unarmed strikes they overcome DR/magic. IMPORTANT: You can put Augment Crystals on these.
      • Fanged Ring (Dragon Magic, p. 101, 10k gold) gives you Improved Unarmed Strike and Improved Natural Attack (Unarmed Strike), and if you crit with an unarmed strike (but not other natural weapons) you deal 1 point of Con damage. Since you attack with any part of your body this essentially gives you free attacks (do your usual main attack and iteratives then all natural weapons as secondary attacks).
      • Gloves of the Balanced Hand (MIC, p. 105, 8k gold) gives you TWF for unarmed strikes, if you already have TWF, get ITWF.
      • Monk's Belt (here, 13k gold) treated like a level 5 Monk for AC bonus (WIS to AC!) and unarmed damage.

    Other notable gear
    • Incarnum Focus Items (MoI, p. 114, 25k gold). For every chakra (except Totem) you can wear an item which has the following decent ability: "While worn, an incarnum focus adds 1 to the essentia capacity of any soulmeld occupying or bound to the chakra it matches." Waist for Maticore Belt? Arms for Girallon Arms? Yes please.
      More importantly (and otherwise the item would be nigh useless), you can bind a soulmeld a chakra where the Incarnum Focus is equipped. This seems pretty common sensical... then you recall the rules in MIC for combining magic items.
      In MIC, p. 233, it says you can add simple effects at the regular price. Like +2 Con to an Incarnum Focus in your amulet slot. If you want to add a nonstandard effect, you can do so but it costs you 50% more than normal. It's quite an investment, but this way you totally circumvent the you-can't-equip-gear-and-bind-soulmelds-in-the-same-slot rule.
    • Essentia Helm (MIC, p. 97, 1.5k gold). Max essentia investment is 1 receptacle for 1 round, usable 3 times per day. Cheap, can come in handy. Imagine having Blink Shirt shaped for a nice short range tele, but it's just a little too short.
    • Added Tail and Replacement Tail from SK, p. 154, 6k and 12, respectively, both grafts, give you constrict.
    • Cheesy as hell, enchant a shuriken with Sizing and Morphing.
    • Stuff which prevents dispelling. Your soulmelds can be suppressed, and if you have a Permanency'd Girallon's Blessing or you're using Phylactery of Change, you want to not be dispelled. Check Ring of Counterspells (SRD, 4k gold) and Ring of Spell-Battle (MIC, 12k gold).
    • Speaking of counterspells, Polymorph Any Object is super duper cheesy. With a level 15 caster, you can get 1 done for 1200 gold, and 2 make it permanent. Read this for an example of how broken it is.


    Spells/powers
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    Spells/powers which grant you natural weapons
    • Adamantine Wings (CM, p. 95, Sor/Wiz 7, Wu Jen 7) gives 2 attacks with your wings, but explicitly don't combine with others.
    • Alter Self/Polymorph/Polymorph any Object/Shapechange (SRD, levels 2/4/8/9, respectively). Check this thread for rules, and this thread for useful forms.
    • Arms of Plenty (LoM, p. 209, Sor/Wiz 3) gives 2 extra arms complete with claws for attacking.
    • Beast Claws (SC, p. 25, Druid 1). Standard action, personal, 1 hour/level. Get 2 claws, deal 1d4 damage, threat on 19-20.
    • Bite of the <Insert animal here> (SC, pp. 28-29). Standard action, personal, 1 round/level. Get a bite (and possibly more), some nice bonuses to stats, and benefits of certain melee feats.
    • Evard's Menacing Tentacles (PHBII, Druid 3, Sorc/Wiz 3). Standard action, personal, 1 round/level. Get two tentacles which attack as a free action once per round. Their attack is BAB + Str, their damage is 1d8 + Str. 10' reach.
    • Fire Wings (SC, p. 93, Druid 3). 1 round, personal, 1 minute/level. Can fly with them, and if you're not flying, you can use them as natural weapons, each does 2d6 fire damage.
    • Form of Doom (SRD, PsyWar 6). Standard action, personal, 1 round/level. Get 4 tentacle attacks (from your back) and other cool stuff. You have to start in your base form. Also, it allows you to combine Claws of the Beast with Bite of the Wolf (normally Claws of the Beast can't be combined with anything else).
    • Girallon's Blessing (SC, p. 106, Cleric 3, Druid 3, Sorc/Wiz 3). 1 standard action, lasts 10 minutes/level. Grow two new arms, and *all* arms gain claws. Original are primary, new ones are secondary. It says you gain 4 claw attacks, but presumably you gain more if you had, say, 6 arms to start with (somehow) and grew 2 more. Originally appeared in SS, can be Permanency'd.
    • Graft Weapon (SRD, PsyWar 3). Standard action, personal, lasts 24 hours. Make *any* weapon you can wield in one hand a natural weapon!
    • Metamorphosis/Greater Metamorphosis (SRD, levels 4 and 9, respectively). Like Polymorph, but different. Check the links mentioned in Alter Self/Polymorph/etc.
    • Unicorn Horn (CM, p. 121, Druid 3, Sor/Wiz 3). Get a gore attack, 1d8+1.5*Str primary, double damage on a charge. Can also discharge it for more damage. If you're also under the effect of Unicorn Heart or Unicorn Blood you get some minor benefits.

    Spells/powers which buff your natural weapons
    • Align Fang (SC p. 9, Druid 2, Ranger 2). Standard action, touch, 1 minute/level. Makes the target's natural weapons count as good-, evil-, lawful-, or chaotic aligned. There's also a Mass and Legion's form of this.
    • Corrosive Grasp (SC, p. 53, Sorc/Wiz 1). Standard action, touch, instantaneous. Deal 1d8 acid damage with a touch attack. You can do it with an unarmed strike or an attack with a natural weapon.
    • Jagged Tooth (SC p. 126, Druid 3, Ranger 2). Standard action, close, one natural slashing or piercing weapon, 10 minutes/level. Doubles crit range, doesn't stack with like abilities.
    • Magic Fang (Druid 1, Ranger 1). Standard action, touch, 1 minute/level. +1 enhancement bonus to attack and damage for a single natural weapon. Fair game for Permanency.
    • Magic Fang, Greater (Druid 3, Ranger 3). Standard action, touch, 1 hour/level. Like Magic Fang, but +1/4 caster levels. Also fair game for Permanency. Alternatively, all natural weapons of a target get +1 (uhh, Amulet of Mighty Fists?).
    • Magic Fang, Superior (Druid 5, Sorc/Wiz 5). Standard action, touch, 1 round/level. Every natural weapon of the target gets +1/4 caster levels. Doesn't seem like you can Permanency it.
    • Mighty Wallop (RotD, Sorc/Wiz 1). Standard action, range is touch, lasts 1 minute/level. A virtual size increase for any "bludgeoning melee weapon." Most of your natural weapons are melee weapons (perhaps all of them, depending on DM rules). A bite does bludgeoning damage, for example (in fact, bludgeoning, piercing and slashing).
      If anyone tries raising a stink about natural weapons not being melee weapons, melee means close quarters, essentially. It's melee v. ranged and natural v. manufactured, not natural v. melee. Furthermore, take Dolorous Blow, for example. It specifically calls out not being able to cast it on natural weapons.
    • Mighty Wallop, Greater (RotD, Sorc/Wiz 3). Touch, lasts 1 hour/level. Virtual size increase per 4 caster levels, caps at colossal.
    • Razorfangs (SC, p. 168, Sorc/Wiz 2). Standard action, personal, lasts 1 round/level. Choose a slashing or piercing natural weapon, double threat range, doesn't stack.
    • Painful Strike (SRD, PsyWar 2). Standard action, personal, 1 round/level. Each natural weapon does an extra 1d6 nonlethal damage.
    • Sharptooth (SC, p. 187, Sorc/Wiz 4). Standard action, personal, lasts 1 round/level. Choose a natural weapon (or unarmed strike if you have none), deal damage as if 1 size bigger.
    • Silvered Claws (BoED, p. 107, Druid 1, Ranger 1). Standard action, touch, 1 minute/level. All natural weapons (not just claws) are treated as silver for overcoming DR.
    • Tiger's Tooth (SC, p. 221, Druid 2). Like Magic Fang, but it's a swift action.
    • Toxic Tongue (CM, p. 120, Assassin 3). Make a poison with deals Con damage, can be applied to natural weapons.
    • Venomfire (SK, Cleric 3, Druid 3, Ranger 4). Touch, lasts 1 hour/level, 1 standard action. Extra CLd6 acid damage with each attack which deals poison. Phase Cloak and Wormtail Belt come to mind. Maybe there's some way to get all your stuff to make poison. It does, however, say, "This spell has no effect on creatures that do not naturally produce poison." Define "naturally." Consult your DM.

    Spells/powers which otherwise help in combat with natural weapons
    • Blood Wind (SC, pp. 33-34, Cleric 1, Sorc/Wiz 1). Range is close, 1 swift action casting time, lasts 1 round. The target can take a full attack action to attack a single target with all of its natural weapons or unarmed strikes with a 20-ft. range increment. Nice. The "or" here isn't an exclusive or (I'm a mathematician), so you should be able to use both.
    • Keep in mind natural weapons are weapons. So anything which buffs weapons (like Sonic Weapon, SC, p. 195), can work on natural weapons unless it specifically says it doesn't (like Dolorous Blow). Also, obviously anything which increases your Str will make you more accurate and hit harder, etc.
    • Enlarge Person and Expansion, of course. Or anything which makes you bigger.
    • PsyWar has quite a bit of stuff which affects only claws (Metaphysical Claw, Claws of the Beast, Truevenom). Not too appealing (for example, Claws of the Beast explicitly can't be combined with others), but since they affect all your claws, there's some cool potential if you have a ton of claw attacks from like Obah-blessed, Girallon's Blessing, Thri-Kreen, Girallon Arms, etc., then they're awesome buffs.


    Doesn't fall into the above: Hunger Domain grants a bite attack.
    Last edited by danzibr; 2014-01-13 at 08:37 AM.
    My one and only handbook: My Totemist Handbook
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    A comment on tiers, by Prime32
    Quote Originally Posted by KillianHawkeye View Post
    As a DM, I deal with character death by cheering and giving a fist pump, or maybe a V-for-victory sign. I would also pat myself on the back, but I can't really reach around like that.
      /l、
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    Default Re: Another Totemist Handbook (WIP, please wait to post until the Builds post)

    8: Multiclassing and Prestige Classes

    Incarnate and Totemist are known for being very dip-friendly. 2 levels of Totemist offer a good bit of flexibility (look at all those totem binds!), and perhaps the best thing about dipping Totemist is that your essentia cap is based off of HD and not meldshaper level. So if you're a Totemist 2/whatever 16 you can put 5 essentia into soulmeld bound to your totem chakra (4 from having 18 HD and 1 extra from it being on your totem), and you can further increase this with feats and equipment.

    With that said, first we'll look at natural break points for taking levels of Totemist, then look at what goes well with Totemist.

    When to bail out of Totemist?
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    I won't do it exactly level-by-level, only mentioning highlights.
    • level 1: Don't do it! Alright, this is an exaggeration in that you get a lot of goodies at level 1, but if you're going in for 1 level, go in for 2 levels. Okay, in all seriousness, you get a lot of stuff with Totemist 1, but you're so close to...
    • level 2: Now that's more like it! 2 levels of Totemist is an excellent dip for many builds. Another soulmeld to shape, 1 to bind, 1 more essentia, and most importantly, access to totem chakra. Truly excellent.
    • level 3: You ONLY get 1 BAB and +1 to your Will save (and some class feature which will rarely, if ever, see use).
    • level 4: 1 more soulmeld and essentia. And BAB and Fort and Ref. Not terrible.
    • level 5: Not a good break point. While you don't get to shape or bind any more soulmelds, you now have the option of binding soulmelds to your least chakras (crown, feet, hands). To see what exactly this does for you, go to the table of soulmelds and sort it by level. The problem is that you still only have 1 bind, which will surely be used for your Totem.
    • level 6: 1 more bind, 1 more essentia, 1 more BAB and 1 more to each save. And +1 to meldshaper level for stuff bound to your Totem. Good break.
    • level 9: 1 more essentia and access to the next 3 soulmelds, arms, brow and shoulders.
    • level 10: While you don't unlock anything, you get a *lot* here. More BAB, Fort, Ref, soulmeld, essentia, chakra bind.
    • level 14: 1 more soulmeld, 1 more essentia and again access to the next group of soulmelds, throat and waist.
    • level 15: Another +1 essentia cap to soulmelds bound to your totem. Conveniently, you get +1 essentia.
    • level 17: Can bind soulmelds to your heart chakra. Alright, this isn't too shabby, but at level 17 your Wizard has level 9 spells. Plus there aren't many soulmelds to bind to your heart chakra.


    What goes well with Totemist (multiclassing)?
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    Naturally, this depends greatly on the campaign. Perhaps you'll be going 1-20. Perhaps you'll go 10-13 or the like. It's important to know the long run before you plan your build. Ideally every build is viable from 1-20, but that's simply not the case. Some (especially gishes) kick in at mid to high levels, some don't achieve their combos until very high levels, some have good power early on and burn out later.

    In particular, dips help in the short run, but are harmful in the long run. At level 3 Barb 1/Totemist 2 is saucy, but at level 20 Barb 1/Totemist 19 kills you. You lose 2 essentia and your awesome capstone for a 1/day rage and pounce, which you could have by Sphinx Claws. It all depends on the campaign.
    • Barbarian. As just mentioned, 1 level gets you rage and pounce, freeing up an important chakra bind at mid levels. The City Brawler ACF gives you IUS and TWF for your unarmed strikes (more attacks, yay!). Barbarian is certainly good, and you should take it if you're going into, say, Black Blood Cultist, but keep in mind the rule on dips.
    • Bard. With just one level you get very little. You can only do Bardic Music once without blowing feats, and it's not going to benefit you much. But with a couple levels and a little bit of investment... you can DFI yourself into high damage heaven. Takes a lot of your resources away from the Totemist aspect of things, of course.
    • Cleric. If you have Cleric in your build, odds are it's not for a mere dip (in which case it'd be blue... but that's just because Cleric's so dang good). Hunger domain gives you a bite attack. Cloistered Cleric gives tons of skills, of course. Look into The Grappling Tree in the builds section.
    • Crusader. The tankier ToB class. Like the other two ToB, it's pretty good for dips. For one thing, Totemists have essentially no way to heal. In a low level campaign where the Totemist is the only frontliner, this would be a good option. Also, consider this for getting into Ironsoul Forgemaster or Kensai.
    • Druid. Druid's really don't give you much for just a dip. With more levels of Druid, they're really freakin' fantastic because of Wildshape and, well, Druid spells. No surprises there.
    • Fighter. Don't do it outside of gestalt. You don't need a bonus feat that badly.
    • Psychic Warrior. I suppose the idea is there, but I haven't seen a good Totemist/Psychic Warrior/Soul Manifester. You spread yourself too thin. It would be better to go pure Psychic Warrior or pure Totemist (or Monk/PsyWar, whatever).
    • Ranger. 1 level of with the Wildshape ACF gets you Fast Movement and Track. Good for getting into Black Blood Cultist. More levels and you get full BAB and you can get into MoMF.
    • Swordsage. Like Warblade, Swordsage is a good option for multiclassing. Check out Shneekey's Manticore Shotgun in the build section.
    • Warblade. You can pick up some good stuff with a dip into Warblade. In particular, Totemist 4/Warblade 1 is going to start off with second level maneuvers. Or even Totemist 1/Warblade 1. Pick up Moment of Perfect Mind to Concentrate away your Will saves (remember Concentrate is a class skill, and you should have high Con, and your Will save sucks). It's a crying shame there's no Totemist/Warblade PrC. As with PsyWar, it's better off to go pure Totemist or pure Warblade.


    What goes well with Totemist (gestalt)?
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    In general when you gestalt you want to avoid having 2 active classes. That is, classes whose abilities eat up your actions. Here Totemist does something interesting: while Totemists are usually thought of as getting tons of natural attacks, they also have numerous soulmelds which grant them passive bonuses. In other words, with the right soulmeld choice Totemists can either be active or passive.
    • Barbarian: A step up from Fighter in most cases. Unlike with a dip, the rage will be meaningful. City Brawler ACF for IUS and TWF with your unarmed strikes. Get into Black Blood Cultist or Bear Warrior or the like. With gratuitously many natural attacks that bonus to Str really adds up. Oh, and free pounce at level 1. And full BAB. I'd play that.
    • Bard: Wtf, a spoony Bard? Seriously. Optimize their DFI (go Silverbrow Human probably to help with the feat tax) and smash faces. There's actually a lot of potential here with Bard spells too.
    • Binder: Binders offer a lot of utility. You can also get natural weapons from them (horns from Amon, bite from Chupoclops, claws from Ipos). Chupoclops also gives you pounce. Interestingly, the bite from Chupoclops is called "Poison Bite" but has no poison. Ipos also gives you rend, but it's a crappy rend (you have to connect with all of them). A solid choice.
    • Cleric: Well, that's not a surprise. Gestalting anything with Cleric is going to make it better. I have things like DMM Persist buffs in mind to enhance Totemist, but that's treating a T1 like a T3. Also, Hunger Domain gives a bite attack. Go Cloistered Cleric since you won't be losing any BAB or hp.
    • Druid. Yeah, mix Totemist with a shapechanging T1.
    • Fighter: In gestalt, Fighter actually brings a lot to the table. Totemists love full BAB, and the bonus feats can be used to help meet PrC requirements. You still probably shouldn't take more than a couple levels (unless you have some ACF's).
    • Ranger. Wildshape Ranger into MoMF. Gives you a lot.
    • Warblade: Maybe borderline violet. You get a bit MAD with Warblades liking Int, but both classes have a mix of active and passive abilities. If you want to make a ton of natural attacks, choose boosts and counters. If you want to make strikes, choose support soulmelds.
    • Skill monkeys: As Person_Man said, "Totemist or Incarnate Gestalt well with any Skill Monkey class, as it allows them to wrack up fairly massive Skill checks early in their progression. Beguiler, Factotum, Psychic Rogue, and Binder are particularly noteworthy for this reason."


    How 'bout dem PrC's?
    Spoiler
    Show

    As mentioned elsewhere, some things (items, soulmelds) say they you gain the feat, and some say you gain the benefit of the feat. Since you need the actual feat to qualify for prestige classes, some DM's might say merely have the benefit is not sufficient.

    For homebrew, look at this by Coidzor. Druid and Totemist go hand-in-hand, yet there is no good official Druid/Totemist PrC. Coidzor made one (but there's much more in that link).

    Black Blood Cultist (CoR, p. 44, or here)
    • Summary: Substantial bonuses to grapple, at level 8 ridiculous damage leap.
    • Requirements: CE, CN or NE. Knowledge (nature) 2 ranks, Survival 8 ranks (both class skills for Totemists). Improved Unarmed Strike and Track (IUS is often good for a Totemist, Track is crap, can get them from Bracers of Striking (Magic of Faerun, 1,300 gold) and Mask of the Tiger (Garb of the Hunting Cat) (MIC, 4k gold), respectively, though the former says, "as if he had the IUS feat" and the latter "gives the benefit" of Track). Ability to rage.
    • Suggested entry: Barbarian 1/Totemist 4/Black Blood Cultist 1.
    • What you get: 3/4 BAB, rage stacks with Barb levels, some natural weapons while raging, Improved Grapple, then... HOLY HELL READ SAVAGE GRAPPLE. Every single time you make a successful grapple check you deal damage as if you had hit with *all your natural weapons,* including rend if you're raging. All of them! And free rend damage!
    • How many levels you should take: Precisely 8, no more, no less. Also, this PrC has its own handbook.
    • Other remarks: I originally had this rated as excellent then proceeded to try to make a boss grappling build with it, when I realized... you need a Barbarian dip and then you put in 8 more levels to get the really good ability, and furthermore you might want Extra Rage and the PrC gives a bite and claws, and there are a great deal of bite and claw attacks already. At this point I feel it's only as awesome as I thought it originally was in gestalt, when it won't take such a monstrous chunk out of your meldshaping abilities.


    Fist of the Forest (CC, p. 80 or here)
    • Summary: Solid, short melee PrC.
    • Requirements: BAB +4, Great Fortitude (boo), IUS (not bad), Power Attack (not bad).
    • Suggested entry: Barbarian 1/Totemist 4/FotF 1.
    • What you get: Only 3 levels long, at level 1 get Con (modifier) to AC while unarmored, fast movement, something like rage which gives a bite, improved unarmed damage, uncanny dodge. Fast movement stacks with other fast movement, improved unarmed damage is substantial (can even get lesser ghost touch at level 2).
    • How many levels you should take: Probably 1, but depends on the build. If you're going gestalt Monk/Barbarian//Totemist or something then all 3 can be very good.


    Incandescent Champion
    • Summary: Go pure Totemist instead.
    • Requirements: n/a
    • Suggested entry: don't
    • What you get: not worth it
    • How many levels you should take: 0


    Incarnum Blade
    • Summary: See Incandescent Champion.
    • Requirements: n/a
    • Suggested entry: don't
    • What you get: not worth it
    • How many levels you should take: 0
    • Other remarks: Actually, this is *worse* than Incandescent Champion (for Totemists). At least with IC you get some essentia. If you enter this class, it's not as a Totemist.


    Ironsoul Forgemaster
    • Summary: If you want to be a highly defensive Totemist, this is a good place to look. Alternatively, they're superb craftsmen. Read Red Fel's handbook.
    • Requirements: Dwarf, not evil, Craft (armor or weapons) 8 ranks, Knowledge (arcana) 2 ranks. Very easy for a Totemist.
    • Suggested entry: Totemist 5/ISFM 1, Totemist 2/Crusader 3/ISFM 1.
    • What you get: Good defenses. Shield Bond gives you great resistances, and you only have to give 1 claw up (assuming you have claws). You also get 9/10 Meldshaping advancement, not bad. Note most Totemists won't be making use of Weapon Bond since most Totemists fight with natural weapons, *but* Totemists can wield weapons, of course. This is probably more useful in gestalt. As Person_Man noted, if you compare straight Totemist to Totemist 5/ISFS x, note Totemists unlock arms at ECL 9, waist at ECL 11, shoulders at ECL 13 and heart at ECL 15, while Totemists unlock arms at ECL 9 (so a tie), waist at ECL 14 (so later), shoulders at ECL 9 (so faster) and heart at ECL 17 (so later). Something to keep in mind depending on what binds you're after. However, ISFS misses brow and throat.
    • How many levels you should take: 1 nets you the Shield Bond, 5 the Armor Bond. After that go back to Totemist (or something else).
    • Other remarks: Don't go Totemist 3/Crusader 2/IS 1. Totemist 3 is a terrible, terrible break point. Also as Person_Man noted, "This PrC also works particularly well with the Dragon Mantle soulmeld, which provides Energy Resistance to Acid, Electricity, Fire, and Cold (3 * essentia) which explicitly stacks with ER from other sources. Together with a Evasion (I suggest buying a ring) you're defacto immune to most Energy damage."


    Kensai (CW, p. 49)
    • Summary: Buffs to a single type (e.g. claw, tentacle) of natural weapon.
    • Requirements: Lawful, BAB +5, Concentration, Diplomacy and Ride 5 ranks (Totemists get Concentration and Ride), Combat Expertise and Weapon Focus, take an oath.
      Combat Expertise sucks the hardest as it forces you to have Int at least 13. Or be a Monk.
    • Suggested entry: Totemist 7 fits the bill. However, 7 isn't a great break point for Totemist. All you get is 1 BAB, 1 soulmeld and 1 essentia. Not bad, but not great. Since Totemist 6 is a great break point, you might want to go Totemist 6/something 1/Kensai 1. Note if you're using fractional BAB, the something 1 has to be 3/4 BAB or full BAB, and if you're not using fractional BAB, it has to be full BAB. That is, Totemist 6 has 4.25 BAB. Some good dips would be Cleric or Swordsage with fractional BAB, or Crusader or Warblade or Barbarian or Fighter (if you really need that bonus feat) for non fractional BAB.
      Odds are, if you're going Kensai you're either a Manticore Belt user or you have a ton of one single type of natural weapon (like claws from Thri-Kreen+Girallon Arms+Obah-blessed+Girallon's Blessing+Grafts). If you're going Manticore Belt, I suggest at least 6 levels of Totemist (depends on how much Kensai you want and what you plan on doing after). If you have a ton of claws or something, maybe 2 levels of Totemist is okay for your build.
      Lastly, for Diplomacy, if your DM is down with PF stuff, check Ease of Faith.
    • What you get: Most notably +1 bonus to a set of natural weapons per level (so +2 at level 2, etc.), to be used on cool bonuses and not just enhancement bonuses (get Amulet of Mighty Fists for the latter). Power Surge is sweet, too.
    • How many levels you should take: Depending on what specific properties you want, as many as necessary.
    • Other remarks: I would *almost always* take Totemist over this. There are two cases I personally would take Kensai: using Manticore Belt or in gestalt. In gestalt, you can access Kensai much sooner. For example, Warblade 1/Crusader 1/Fighter 1/Ranger 1/Barbarian 1/Kensai 10//Totemist 15 would have a wicked Manticore Belt at level 15... or you could go something slightly less comical than Warblade 1/Crusader 1/Fighter 1/Ranger 1/Barbarian 1.


    Necrocarnate
    • Summary: Get essentia for killing stuff, access to all chakra binds.
    • Requirements: Evil, Knowledge (arcana) and (religion) 5, Spellcraft 10. Feat: Necrocarnum Acolyte. Bind crown, feet and hands. Okay, for Totemists this is actually really easy. Fortunately Spellcraft is a class skill while Knowledge (religion) isn't, but since you only need half as much in the latter it's fine.
    • Suggested entry: Alright, before we get into this, there's one glaring issue with Totemist entry. The Necorcarnum soulmelds aren't on the Totemist list, thus if you want them, by RAW you either need to dip Incarnate or blow a feat (or several) on Shape Soulmeld. But wait, there's more (problems)! If you take Shape Soulmeld, your meldshaper level for the acquired soulmeld is half your character level; if you dip Incarnate, your Totemist meldshaper level takes an equal hit. Why the fuss? The best Necrocarnum soulmeld, the circlet (makes zombies), is limited by your meldshaper level.
      With that said, I suggest letting the Necrocarnum Acolyte feat add the Necrocarnum soulmelds to the Totemist list. It's not RAW, but makes the PrC much more appealing for Totemist entry.
      Regardless of whether or not Necrocarnum Acolyte adds Necrocarnum soulmelds to the Totemist list, Totemist 7/Necrocarnate 1 works, and in fact if you're just dipping to harvest essentia, that's totally fine.
      You could also go Totemist 6/Incarnate 1/Necrocarnate 1. 6 is a stellar breakpoint for Totemist and 7 is crap since you only get 1 more BAB, 1 more soulmeld and 1 more essentia.
      You could also go heavier on the Incarnate side, like Incarnate 5/Totemist 2/Necrocarnate 1.
    • What you get: Poor BAB, boo. While you don't gain any base essentia, it does fully advance meldshaper level, grant new binds (in fact, *all* of them, one of the few ways for a Totemist to get soul bind pre-epic), and increases the number of soulmelds and binds. Basically, it does everything *but* grant extra base essentia. Regarding essentia, as Person_Man put it, "1 level of Necrocarnate basically gives you +1 essentia for 24 hours whenever you kill something (not you specifically, you just need something which died with 1 hour of Necrocarnate level). This makes you MORE powerful as the "game day" progresses, unlike most other classes, which become less powerful as the day goes on. This is particularly potent at high levels when combined with the Heart of Incarnum Feat (MoI pg 38, requires ability to bind Heart chakra) which gives you bonus hit points equal to your essentia pool. You can also theoretically just pour boiling water on an ant hill to get thousands of points of essentia, though I don't know any DM who would allow it."
      You also get better at the necro soulmelds.
      Also, Necrocarnum Soulshield (Su), which you gain at 2nd level, has no duration. It gives you a profane bonus on all saving throws equal to the number of necrocarnum soulmelds you have shaped (note: this has nothing to do with investing essentia, unlike what some people seem to think). It's usable Necrocarnate lvl/2 times per day.
    • How many levels you should take: 1 if you just want more essentia when you kill stuff, up to 13 if you want access to soul bind. Also at level 13 Necrocarnate (so level 20 total) you'll be getting 7 essentia per dude you kill. 7! Combine with Heart of Incarnum for ludicrous hp.
    • Other remarks: I like it. Not super boss, but I'm always fond of necro stuff. Compare Totemist 20 to Totemist 6/dip 1/Necrocarnate 13 and see what you like more.
      I'll compare Totemist 20 to Totemist 7/Necrocarnate 13, assuming Necrocarnum Acolyte adds Necrocarnum soulmelds to Totemist list (if it doesn't, you probably should go Incarnate 7/Necrocarnate 13).
      • Levels 1-7: Same.
      • Level 8: From here on out, pure Totemist will have better BAB, better Fort and Ref, worse Will.
        Pure Totemist has same soulmelds, essentia, and binds. Necrocarnate can now harvest essentia from corpses.
      • Level 9: Pure Totemist has same soulmelds, 1 more base essentia, can bind to Arms, Brow, Shoulders while Necrocarnate cannot. From here on our, pure Totemist has more essentia.
      • Level 10: Pure Totemist has 1 more soulmeld, 1 more bind, access to same binds.
      • Level 11: Pure Totemist has has same soulmelds, same number of binds, access to same binds.
      • Level 12: Pure Totemist has same soulmeld, same number of binds, access to same binds.
      • Level 13: Pure Totemist has 1 more soulmeld, same number of binds, access to same binds.
      • Level 14: Pure Totemist has same soulmeld, same number of binds, access to Throat and Waist while Necrocarnate does not.
      • Level 15: Pure Totemist has same soulmeld, 1 less bind, access to same binds.
      • Level 16: Pure Totemist has 1 more soulmeld, 1 less bind, access to same binds.
      • Level 17: Pure Totemist has same soulmelds, 1 less bind, access to Heart bind while Necrocarnate does not.
      • Level 18: Pure Totemist has same soulmelds, binds, access to same binds.
      • Level 19: Pure Totemist has same soulmelds, 1 less bind, access to same binds.
      • Level 20: Pure Totemist has 1 less soulmeld, 1 less bind, does not have access to Soul while Necrocarnate does. Totemist gets Totem Embodiment while Necrocarnate gets 2 zombies.

      So at the end of the day, their meldshaping abilities are quite similar.
      Again, you can always multiclass with Incarnate.
      Also, under Adaptation, they suggest a good version of a Necrocarnate called the Vivicarnate. Keep everything the same, but they use vivicarnum instead of necrocarnum, the former is "a pure and holy version of necrocarnum channeled from the purest of unborn souls." And rename necrocarnum zombies as "reborn."


    Sapphire Hierarch
    • Summary: A divine/Totemist theurge.
    • Requirements: Lawful, shape 3 soulmelds, 2nd level divine spells, 3 essentia, access to Law domain.
    • Suggested entry: Warforged Cleric 3/Totemist 2/Landforged Walker 5/Sapphire Heirarch 1 (see "The Grappling Tree" in builds section).
    • What you get: You get some cool bonuses (Smite Chaos does what it sounds like, also get some fortification, some DR, + to certain saves), but mostly it's for progressing meldshaping and divine casting.
    • How many levels you should take: All 10.


    Scaled Horror (SS, p. 83).
    • Summary: 1-level dip for Improved Grab if you're a grappler.
    • Requirements: Aquatic or reptilian subtype, BAB +5, Hide and Move Silently and Swim 5 (or +8 racial bonus on swim checks).
    • Suggested entry: Saurian Shifter or Skarn, work it into your grappling build.
    • What you get: Improved Grab.
    • How many levels you should take: 1, no more, no less. Like Mindbender.


    Soul Eater (BoVD, p. 66)
    • Summary: A 1-level dip lets you bestow a negative level on every single natural attack, no save.
    • Requirements: BAB +5, Knowledge (Arcana) 2 ranks, Alertness, Weapon Focus (any natural weapon), any evil, any living nonhumanoid.
    • Suggested entry: Totemist 7 has 5 BAB. For race, you can go like Warforged or Elan. I'd suggest Warforged. It calls out monstrous humanoid as being okay, btw. Also, Dragonwrought Kobold would be a solid choice (thanks, Aliek). So would Duskling (thanks, Troacctid).
      Actually, perusing the races section of this guide, there are quite a few good options. Diabolus, potentially. Hellbred (especially if your DM says they can get into Soul Eater without being evil, if you're in a non-evil campaign). Etc.
      In gestalt, something like Warblade 5/Soul Eater 10//Totemist 15 would be very solid. Or even just Warblade 5/Soul Eater 1//Totemist 6. Or swap out Warblade with any full BAB class.
    • What you get: At level 1, every single natural attack bestows a negative level, no save. Yeah, that's ridiculous. It has full BAB and all good saves, and a few really good abilities. At level 2, +4 enhancement bonus to Str for 24 hours when you drain a soul, at level 3 you can make 1 ray/day, deals 1d6 damage per Soul Eater level, at level 4, when you drain a soul you get +2 enhancement bonus to saves and skills, at lvl 5 +4 to Con when you drain a soul. These are all decent, then at level 6, whenever you, "completely drain a creature of energy," you can take on its form as Shapechange, meaning you get *all* of its abilities. Depending on what your DM throws at you, this can be awesome. At level 7, drain 2 levels per hit. Level 8, +4 Dex when you drain a soul, level 9 you make Wights under your command when you completely drain a creature of its soul, level 10 you can do any spell-like and supernatural abilities twice the number of times per day that you normally can.
    • How many levels you should take: 1, 6, 7, 9 and 10 are all good break points.
    • Other Remarks: Plus, think of the flavor! I love this PrC. Eat souls and use soul energy. Anyway, the text for inflicting negative levels says, "the touch of a soul eater bestows one negative level on its target." However, it is listed as (Su), so your DM may rule it takes a standard action to do it, rather than happening whenever you touch your opponent.


    Soul Manifester
    • Summary: A psionic/Totemist theurge.
    • Requirements:
    • Suggested entry: Very standard, very simple entry with Ardent 2 and Practiced Manifester (other: Totemist 2, Incarnate 1).
    • What you get:
    • How many levels you should take:
    • Other remarks: Metamorphosis power through the Natural World mantle or Expanded Knowledge feat; I prefer the latter, since there are may far more useful mantles to pick. Then change shape to 12-headed hydra, Worg Pelt bound to your hands chakra; therefore you have 12 trip attempts per round.

      Vow of Poverty is still optional, but not a shabby option anymore, since you won't that much use of your body slots. (And you don't worry if they are occupied by items anymore, before binding your soulmelds).


    Soulcaster
    • Summary: A theurge (or gish?) PrC. 10/10 meldshaping and arcane casting.
    • Requirements: Knowledge (arcana) 8 ranks, Incarnum Spellshaping feat, 2nd-level arcane spells, shape 3 and bind 1 soulmeld.
    • Suggested entry: Totemist 2/Wizard 3/Soulcaster 1.
    • What you get: As mentioned, 10/10 meldshaping and arcane casting. Specifically, your meldshaping advances just as Totemist *except* opening chakras (and class features, of course).
    • How many levels you should take: I suppose 10. The capstone is really lackluster (can sacrifice spell slots to gain bonus essentia, but you can't exceed your essentia cap, and the bonus essentia only lasts 1 round).
    • Other remarks: Here's what Troacctid had to say on the matter:
      Quote Originally Posted by Troacctid View Post
      Oh, it's definitely valid. Besides the obvious fact that spellcasting is the #1 most powerful thing anyone can do in this game, Soulcaster is also the best for Share Soulmeld abuse, and there are some great Totemist melds that you can share. Like remember that at-will Flesh to Stone from Basilisk Mask? Think about spamming it every round without spending an action. Scratch that, spamming it twice per round without spending an action, because you have both a familiar and an animal companion. And then using your action to cast shatter. That's pretty kickass. There are plenty of strong defensive and utility soulmelds on the Totemist list that are solid choices on a caster, and Totemist has a better chassis than Incarnate, so you pick up a slightly bigger hit die and more skill points for the early levels.

      Off the top of my head, you could go something like Totemist 2/Wizard 3/Soulcaster 10/Wizard 5. Swap your familiar for an animal companion and take Obtain Familiar to get it back. Maybe pick up Improved Familiar or Celestial Familiar too. If Dragon Magazine is allowed, spam the Extra Familiar feat from Dragon #280 in all your feat slots and go to town.
      I completely agree with the fact that Soulcaster makes really good use of Share Soulmeld. In my mind I'm thinking (with the right rules interpreting of course) of you, your familiar(s) and animal companion(s) flinging all sorts of spikes from Manticore Belt in people's faces. Then again, *really* optimizing it requires feat and gear investment.

      Anyway, the flavor is a little unusual, but a solid PrC!



    Spinemeld Warrior
    • Summary: If you're a Skarn, you can buff your spines.
    • Requirements: Skarn, lawful, BAB +5, 1 essentia.
    • Suggested entry: Don't do it, it's crappy.
    • What you get: You can TWF with your spines and buff them. Seriously not worth it. You do get limited meldshaping, at least.
    • How many levels you should take: 0. Well, 2 if you want Noble familiarity. Shneekey talks about this in his guide.


    Thayan Gladiator (CoR, p. 63, or here)
    • Summary: Buffs to a single natural weapon.
    • Requirements: Evil, BAB +5, Toughness, Weapon Focus (natural weapon), have a natural weapon, undergo a ritual.
    • Suggested entry: Personally I wouldn't take it. Go Kensai instead.
    • What you get: Rather than me list them all out, just check the book. You do get several bonuses to one of your natural weapons (one of the few ways to get multiple attacks, namely 2 or 3, with a single natural weapon), but I just can't see how it's worth it. At least you get full BAB.
    • How many levels you should take: As many as you wish.
    • Other notes: Actually, it might be a decent choice for a Manticore Belt user. I still wouldn't suggest it.


    Totem Rager
    • Summary: Combines Barbarian and Totemist. Seems like a natural marriage.
    • Requirements: BAB +5, Intimidate 5, Survival 9, Cobalt Rage feat, Totem bind, rage class feature. Survival 9 means you can get in at 7 at the earliest. The BAB means you can't go Barb 1/Totemist 5 (since Totemist 5 only has +3 to BAB). Plus, Totemist 6 is a better break point anyway.
    • Suggested entry: If you really want to go in, probably Barbarian 2/Totemist 4.
    • What you get: Soulmeld progression (but it's stinted), rage progression, Totem Rager level/2 bonus essentia while raging, can put 1 more essentia in Cobalt Rage.
    • How many levels you should take: 0 or 10.
    • Other remarks: Compare Totemist 16 to Barbarian 2/Totemist 4/Totem Rager 10. Totem Rager is 4 levels down when it comes to shapes, binds and essentia, so 6 shapes, 8 essentia, 3 binds, while pure Totemist has 7 shapes, 12 essentia and 4 binds (though Totem Rager pulls ahead by 1 essentia while raging). Further, Totem Rager gets Crown, Feet and Hands at ECL 10, while Totemist gets this at 5. Totem Rager gets Arms, Brow and Shoulders at ECL 14, while Totemist gets this at 9. Totem Rager does not get Throat and Waist while Totemist gets this at 14. Further, Totem Rager is missing out on Double Bind. Totem Rager doesn't even get full BAB.
      Long story short, Totem Rager has its appeal (raging), but pure Totemist is going to have a lot more utility and just as much melee prowess.


    Umbral Disciple
    • Summary: The one and only PrC for sneaky Totemists (well, PrC which has interaction between sneaking and meldshaping).
    • Requirements: Concentration 4, Hide 8, Knowledge (arcana) 2, Listen 8, 1 essentia. These are all fine except for Hide, for which you should dip Rogue or something.
    • Suggested entry: Rogue 1/Totemist 4/Umbral Disciple 1, or Rogue 3/Totemist 2/Umbral Disciple 1.
    • What you get: 6+Int skills, Good Ref and Will saves, some information stuff, potential (crappy) bonuses to Balance, Climb, Jump and Tumble, essentia, SA, and then we see Embrace of the shadow. Now that's a nice ability. Whenever you wish you can dump essentia in here (unfortunately it's a class ability, so it's strictly based on your HD, to my knowledge) and get concealment and HiPS. Sight of the Eyeless kicks in at 7, gives you Blindsight when you need it. Soulchilling Strike would be boss were it not for the 1 attack per round limitation (lame). With Kiss of the Shadows you can get ridiculous reach on your turn.
    • How many levels you should take: Probably just 3 for Embrace of the shadow.


    Warshaper (CW, p. 90, or here).
    • Summary: Buffs when changing shape (note all buffs *only* work when changing shape).
    • Requirements: BAB +4, able to change shape.
    • Suggested entry: Saurian Shifter with BAB +4, i.e. Barbarian 1/Totemist 4/Warshaper 1.
    • What you get: At level 1 you get two things: immunity to stun and crits and MORPHIC WEAPONS!!! Unfortunately the wording on Morphic Weapons is very vague. Perhaps your DM will let you grow only a single natural weapon, perhaps a select few, or perhaps as many as you wish (the latter being utterly absurd). Morphic Weapons can range from mediocre to literally one of the single strongests ability in all of 3.5 for a Totemist.
      At level 2 you get untyped +4 to Str and Con (sweet!).
      At level 3 you get +5' to reach (sweet!).
      At level 4 you get fast healing 2 and you can make a concentration check to heal 10 hp.
      At level 5 you can shape faster or more often.
    • How many levels you should take: Depending on the build, 1 2 or 3.


    Weretouched Master (ECS, p. 85, or here).
    • Summary: Bonuses to stats/natural weapons while shifting.
    • Requirements: Shifter, BAB +4, Knowledge (nature) 5 ranks, Survival 8 ranks (both of which Totemists have), any Shifter feat.
    • Suggested entry: Saurian Shifter Totemist 6 or Barbarian 1/Totemist 4.
    • What you get: At level 1 bonuses based on which animal you choose. You can get +2 Str and a pair of claws/improved claw damage, +2 Con and tusks/improved tusk damage, +2 Dex and fangs/improved fang damage. Note that if get the improved claw damage is increases the damage of *all* your claws, not just the ones granted by the razorclaw Shifter trait.
      At level 2 a free Shifter feat (yay) and Wild Empathy.
      At level 3 another bonus based on which animal you chose, such as Improved Grab, Pounce, Rage.
      At level 4 you can scare things while shifting and another Shifter feat.
      At level 5 you get incredible bonuses to stats.
    • How many levels you should take: All 5 levels are great. If you need to break it off early then any level is good to do so.


    Witchborn Binder
    • Summary: Mage-hating meldshaper. I originally had it as orange, but it's just so crappy.
    • Requirements: Meldshaper level 6th, Alertness and Track, bunch of skills (max ranks you need: 4), no arcane spellcasting. Ever.
    • Suggested entry: Don't do it.
    • What you get: 6/10 Meldshaping advancement. Ouch. Some pitiful bonus essentia in return. Ability to detect and dispel magic, free 500 gold/level (i.e., almost nothing). Meldshield is nice, +1/essentia insight bonus to saves v. spells and spell-like abilities. In all honesty, they get a lot of cool stuff, but it's just not worth it.
    • How many levels you should take: 1 or 0.

    Last edited by danzibr; 2015-03-25 at 07:38 PM.
    My one and only handbook: My Totemist Handbook
    My one and only homebrew: Book of Flux
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    A comment on tiers, by Prime32
    Quote Originally Posted by KillianHawkeye View Post
    As a DM, I deal with character death by cheering and giving a fist pump, or maybe a V-for-victory sign. I would also pat myself on the back, but I can't really reach around like that.
      /l、
    ゙(゚、 。 7
     l、゙ ~ヽ
     じしf_, )ノ

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    Default Re: Another Totemist Handbook (WIP, please wait to post until the Builds post)

    9: Sample Builds


    Here are some builds taken from various places on the internet. The builds will be organized by exclusively Totemist (which uses nothing but Totemist), primarily Totemist (which has at least half Totemist), dip (between 2 and 9 levels of Totemist), and other (either vague or low-level). As you'll see, some are very detailed, some are not.

    Exclusively Totemist
    Rusty, the ideal sentry. Courtesy Tempest_Stormwind.
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    Rusty is a pure Totemist build which plays the role of an independent sentry. Never needs to sleep, great at detecting enemies, heals himself, other uses.

    The Strafing Manticore, a Manticore Belt build. Courtesy the Count courtesy Piggy Knowles.
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    Note there is a slight issue: as a standard action which grants multiple attacks, the precision damage only applies to the first spike. Still, it's worth listing (and maybe you can talk to your DM about waiving the precision damage rule).
    Quote Originally Posted by 123456789blaaa View Post
    For a different take on the same concept, Piggy Knowles's The Strafing Manticore also focuses on pumping the Manticore Belt:

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    The Strafing Manticore

    BUILD STUB: Azurin, Totemist 20

    PROGRESSION:

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    1- Darkstalker, Expanded Soulmeld Capacity
    3- Shape Soulmeld (Sighting Gloves)
    6- Martial Study (Cloak of Deception)
    9- Double Chakra (Totem)
    12- Martial Stance (Assassin’s Stance)
    15- Craven
    18- Bonus Essentia


    Focusing on the Manticore Belt, this build is a ranged skirmisher. The idea is to be constantly surrounded in an inky cloud of darkness, swooping by and releasing a huge volley of spines. Manticore Belt bound to the Waist gives excellent Fly speed plus Flyby attack, while binding it to the chakra gives you the ability to fire one spine per essentia invested as a standard action... and by 14th level, both should be bound. The Shadow Mantle’s shoulders not only surrounds you in a globe of magical darkness (which, unlike regular darkness, explicitly prevents any sight), it also gives you blindsight within that globe. This should make it very easy to activate sneak attack via Assassin’s Stance, and Craven damage.

    Instead of blowing two feats on PBS/Precise Shot, instead the build blows one feat on Sighting Gloves, which give the same benefit but also provide a significant damage boost.

    Plus, you know, you’re a level 20 Totemist, so you’ve got skill boosters out the wazoo, can switch to melee when necessary, etc.

    Mr. Stab n' Grab, the first of four make by JanusJones (courtesy the Count). It has some problems, detailed beneath the build, but is worth looking at.
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    FOUR TOTEMIST BADDIES:

    Mr. Stab n’ Grab, the Flaming Loogie, Sir Sticky Fingers, and Romper-Stomper!

    The following is a selection of four rather unique Totemist builds that I’ve cooked up over the last month or so. I’ve used the following books: Complete Adventurer, Complete Warrior, Complete Scoundrel, Dragon Magic, Magic of Incarnum, Miniatures Handbook, Races of the Wild, Forgotten Realms - Serpent Kingdoms, and Forgotten Realms - Unapproachable East. There are also a bunch of Dragon magazine references. Nevertheless, all of these builds are more or less do-able with just Magic of Incarnum (though Mr. Stab n’ Grab and the Flaming Loogie require Serpent Kingdoms feats to work). Enjoy!
    Mr. Stab n’ Grab (aka the Scorpion): Diabolii (Dragon #327) Totemist 20

    Overview: Mr. Stab n’ Grab is one of the most effective possible medium-sized grappling builds, with a +63 (or more, depending on build!) to grapple. He can grapple creatures of any size without needing to grow himself, grapple using only his tail at no penalty (leaving him free to do whatever else he likes to his victim!), and has such a huge grappling bonus that almost nothing (barring the Tarrasque) can manage to escape him. This guy’s great for sicking on big bruisers in your game’s party - they’ll be utterly shocked when he immobilizes the tank in one hit!

    Attributes: Strength 16~18 base, Con 19~20 (by 20th level including item bonuses).

    Feats: Barbed Stinger (1st), Multigrab (3rd), Improved Multigrab (6th), Shape Soulmeld (9th), Double Chakra Bind - Totem (12th), Expanded Soulmeld Capacity (15th), Bonus Essentia (18th)

    Items: Hand-bound Incarnum Gauntlets, Waist-bound +6 Belt of Giant Strength, Arm-bound Incarnum Bracers, +6 Con Item, +5 Tome of Strength.

    Soulmelds: 6 essentia in Mauling Gauntlets (5 + 1 from Expanded Soulmeld Capacity + 1 from Incarnum Focus), 8 in Totem-bound Girallon Arms (5 + 2 from Totem Capacity + 1 from Incarnum Focus), 7 in Totem-bound Heart of Fire (5 + 2 from Totem Capacity), Arm-Bound Totem Avatar, Hand-bound Sphinx Claws, Shoulder-bound Phase Cloak.

    Alternatives: If you like, you can choose to forgo the benefits of either Heart of Fire or Girallon Arm’s totem-bind in favor of a Wormtail Belt, which will offer you yet another barbed stinger to pierce your foes with. Ultimately, however, you won’t be able to attack with both tails in a round, since the Wormtail Belt specifically states that you cannot use it as a secondary attack. Another option, if you want a truly unreasonable grapple check, is an Arm-bound Kraken Mantle, which can provide another +5 (or +6 with an Incarnum Focus) un-named bonus that stacks with that of the Mauling Gauntlets and Girallon Arms. Something else worth considering (if you want to be totally cheesy with the build) is two or three levels of Umbral Disciple for 1d6 sneak attack. Add on Craven and you can do an extra 1d6+20 damage with all your natural attacks against your grappled foe, since they'll count as flat-footed but you won't. This is strictly CHEESE, however, and I do not reccomend it.

    Tactics: Mr. Stab n’ Grab has a total grapple check (assuming a base 18 Strength, +5 from levels, +5 from a Tome, and +6 from the Belt of Giant Strength) of +15 (BaB) + 14 (Mauling Gauntlets) + 18 (Girallon Arms) + 4 (Improved Grapple from Totem Avatar) + 12 (Strength) of +63. He can grapple creatures of any size, and can do so with his tail stab alone, leaving his four claw attacks free to shred his hapless opponent. Each claw will do 1d4 + 7d4 fire damage, and his tail will automatically deal the same damage each round to his grappled opponent. The most beautiful part about Barbed Stinger is the fact that size, as a grappler, no longer matters with this feat - you can grapple an opponent of any size. Greater Multigrab allows you to use just your tail in a grapple at no penalty, meaning you are free to attack your grappled opponent or even another target (provided your Strength score is high enough to drag the impaled enemy along behind you on the ground!).

    Sphinx Claws allow Stabby to jump into combat, clawing 4 times and stabbing once with his tail. If his tail hits, next round whoever he impaled is his chew toy. Better yet, if he grabs a nice small-sized character or a 90-pound-weakling caster, he can drag him or her around behing him while he fights the rest of his enemies. If a particular character is annoying you, Stab n’ Grab is a great way to kill him off (or try to!) without being unfair - he can just jump into camp, stab said character, then run away, dragging the hapless character along behind him!
    Quote Originally Posted by Piggy Knowles View Post
    I like JJ's incarnum four builds, but some of them have issues and/or are a bit outdated.

    Stabby doesn't actually qualify for Barbed Stinger, as it does not have a sting attack, but rather only a tail attack.
    In addition, Mauling Gauntlets don't add a bonus to grapple checks. Also, while the Diabolus technically has a tail attack rather a sting attack, considering it injects poison this is probably poor writing. Consult your DM.

    Primarily Totemist (10-19 levels of Totemist)
    The Pauper of Smack, courtesy Courtesy Fax_Celestis.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fax_Celestis
    The Pauper of Smack takes the premise of the King of Smack--that is, pwnage via natural attacks--and adds in a dash of Incarnum, Vow of Poverty, and Wild Shape.

    The Hard Facts: Human Totemist 11/Druid 8/Warshaper 1
    Critical Feats: Vow of Poverty, Aberration Blood, Aberrant Wild Shape, Exalted Wild Shape, Power Attack, Leap Attack, Shock Trooper, Multiattack
    Vow of Poverty Bonus Feats to Grab: Exalted Wild Shape, Nymph's Kiss, Touch of Golden Ice

    Here's the basics: Druid 8 with Aberration Blood and Aberrant Wild Shape lets you wildshape into a Rukanyr, a creature that has six claws, three bites, and a slam for natural weaponry. Warshaper 1 lets you treat yourself as one size larger for your natural weapons while Wild Shaped, which means the Rukanyr's weapons are considered that of a Huge monster.

    Exalted Wild Shape lets you apply the celestial template to whatever you shift into, as well as retain the (Ex) and (Su) abilities of your new form. This means you get the wonderful Sundering Roar, dex-damaging poison on your three bites, and Fast Healing 5.

    Before you shift, cast Girallon's Blessing on yourself and grow a new set of arms. These should stay with you when you Wild Shape, as it doesn't end any ongoing magical effects.

    Nice, so far.

    Now, here's where the Totemist comes in. Bind Urskan Greaves to your legs and sink essentia into them for an extra 20 cold resist and +4d4 damage whenever you charge. Bind Girallon Arms to your totem for an extra set of claw attacks. And bind Sphinx Claws to your arms for the ability to full-attack with your natural weapons after a charge. Your other soulmelds are largely whatever you feel like grabbing. I recommend Dread Carapace, Lammasu Mantle (with four essentia), and Pegasus Cloak.

    Remember, not only do you get the nifty, nifty benefits of your soulmelds and your new form, you also get the benefits of your Vow of Poverty.

    All told, your attack pattern should end up looking something like Slam +28/Claw +26/Claw +26/Claw +26/Claw +26/Claw +26/Claw +26/Claw +26/Claw +26/Claw +26/Claw +26/Bite +26/Bite +26/Bite +26, all of which you can full-attack with at the end of a charge.

    Further, they all do extra damage. First, the slam attack does 4d6 (Huge) + 4d4 (Urskan Greaves) + 5 (Vow of Poverty) + 12 (1.5x Strength bonus) + (Power Attack * 3), or an average of 41 plus your Power Attack. And it has a DC 20 Fort save or stun attached.

    Your other weapons are slightly less awesome, but they're still good.

    Further, you have an AC of about 48.

    Questions? Comments?

    A Bear Warrior build. Courtesy ShneekeyTheLost
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShneekeyTheLost View Post
    Totem rager really isn't all that spiffy. The binds it gets access to suck, and if you go back to totemist, you're wasting a lot of duplicated effort to unlock binds you already have.

    Here's a couple of ideas:

    1) The Melee Brawler (or: Natural Attacks are your friend). Totemist10/Barbarian1/Bear Warrior 5/Warshaper4

    What you get:

    Totemist 10 is a natural springboard. You get your third bind, unlocked most of the ones you plan on using, and in general, is a lot of fun. You may replace this with Totemis11 by only going Warshaper3, if you like.

    You already get reach as a brown bear. Warshaper gives you more, plus some handy immunities, extra damage on your natural attacks, untyped bonus to STR and CON that stacks with the bonuses from being a Brown Bear, and Fast Healing (plus rapid out of combat self-healing).

    Now let's add to that mix: Gorillion Arms to Totem Bind, Sphinx claws are unnecessary, since you've got your pouncebarian dip already, Dread Carapace for additional damage output with all natural attacks (double damage bonus to your bite) but don't bother binding it, Totem Avatar gives temp hit points, and binding it to Shoulders nets you more damage dice with your natural attacks, and binding your Warg Pelt to your hands gives you a free trip with your bite that you get from being a Brown Bear, which makes iterative attacks much easier to land. Uskun Greaves to Feet slot is also of use for extra charge damage.

    Manticore Shotgun, another Manticore Belt build. Courtesy ShneekeyTheLost.
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    Note like the other Manticore Belt builds, the precision-damage-to-every-attack thing isn't sound by RAW. Still, it can function without it.
    Quote Originally Posted by ShneekeyTheLost View Post
    Manticore Shotgun

    Swordsage1/Totemist6/Umbral Disciple 3/Swordsage1/Totemist9

    This build is designed to be a hit and run build which gets a lot of benefit from the Manticore Belt in the Totem slot.

    This build is dependent on the somewhat iffy rules interpretation that the Spines from the Manticore Belt are considered Natural Attacks. If your GM disagrees with this rules interpretation, much of the damage from this build vanishes, so make sure to verify this with your GM before starting.

    In effect, Swordsage gives some survivability and the skills necessary to qualify for Umbral Disciple, which gives HiPS and 20% concealment always on.

    Now then, let's talk about the Shadow Mantle. As written, it sucks. Darkness does NOT break Line of Sight, as it assumes (the author probably was having a flashback to AD&D 2nd ed) so, as written, it stinks. However, Umbral Disciple allows you HiPS, which means you can make a Hide check within your magical darkness, and making it function as it was probably intended to.

    Right, now let's talk about the feat Double Chakra. We're actually wanting this one twice, once for the Shoulder chakra, and once for the Totem chakra. Why? Totem Avatar.

    Shoulder bind increases size of natural attacks by one step. Now increase that further with Morale bonus to damage from the Totem bind.

    Note: Heart of Fire would require an additional feat blown on Double Chakra for Waist, however it's 1d4 Fire damage when bound to Totem. Now, Fire damage is the single most commonly resisted elemental flavor, but it might be a viable alternative to binding Totem Avatar to Totem chakra.

    The next soulmeld we will bind requires a feat for Shape Soulmeld, it's the Sighting Gloves. Insight Damage with ranged weapons that improves per essentia, then the free bind (from the feat) gives you Precise Shot.

    We can also take the feat Improved Natural Attack (Spines) for another size boost.

    Now we are looking at 2 size increases (one from the feat, one from Totem Avatar's Shoulder bind), Insight damage bonus from Sighting Gloves, either Morale bonus to damage from Totem Avatar or bonus d4's of damage from Heart of Fire. Plus since we're running around unable to be seen thanks to HiPS + Shadow Mantle, we're probably going to be able to add +1d6 Sneak Attack from Umbral Disciple and another +2d6 from Assassin's Stance. So, let's see what we've got

    Now shape (but not bind) Dread Carapace for more damage, albeit at a penalty to attack. Still, you should be hitting Flat-Footed most of the time, so it shouldn't be a big problem. And if you have a problem hitting, dump essentia elsewhere to trade back attack for damage as a Swift action.

    Now we need more Standard Actions. Well, how badly you tweak this depends on your allergy to cheese, and is best covered in its own guide.

    You've got a +2 Soulmeld Capacity to the Totem chakra from your class, so you've got 7 shots. Each one is doing 2d6+(1+essentia) Insight bonus from gloves + (1+essentia) Morale from Totem Avatar +(1+essentia) untyped from Dread Carapace + 3d6 Sneak Attack (situationally immune)+ 1/2 Str mod. To get maximum damage output, find a way to significantly increase Essentia.

    A ranged grappling build, courtesy Piggy Knowles. This one's really sweet, do zounds of damage with Manticore Belt+BBC. It's situational in the sense that your foe must be wearing clothes and must be near a surface in which your spikes can stick... but if you fire from above, the ground may count.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Piggy Knowles View Post
    I posted this in my archer build thread, but....

    Kraken Mantle's arms bind gives you 1d8+Str damage on any successful grapple check.

    Ranged Pin allows you to make a grapple check on a ranged attack.

    So, get the Manticore Belt's totem bind, the Kraken Mantle's arms bind, and the Ranged Pin feat. Fire off a volley of spikes, and call each of them a pin attempt. On every successful grapple check (and totemists can get some sick grapple checks), you deal 1d8+Str damage, and the enemy is stuck to the ground and has to spend a standard action to escape.

    For a fancier version, go Barbarian 1/Totemist 11/Black Blood Cultist 8, and now on each spike from your Manticore Belt volley, you are dealing damage equal to all of your natural attacks.

    Here's a quick build stub I've knocked together for a build that takes advantage of this:

    Silverbrow Human, Barbarian 1/Totemist 11/Black Blood Cultist 8

    1. Totemist1- Track, Point Blank Shot
    2. Totemist2-
    3. Barbarian1- Precise Shot
    4. Totemist3-
    5. Totemist4-
    6. Totemist5- Improved Unarmed Strike
    7. Black Blood Cultist1-
    8. Black Blood Cultist2- Improved Grapple
    9. Black Blood Cultist3- Ranged Pin
    10. Black Blood Cultist4-
    11. Black Blood Cultist5-
    12. Black Blood Cultist6- Expanded Soulmeld Capacity
    13. Black Blood Cultist7-
    14. Black Blood Cultist8-
    15. Totemist6- Bonus Essentia
    16. Totemist7-
    17. Totemist8-
    18. Totemist9- Double Chakra (Arms)
    19. Totemist10-
    20. Totemist11-

    (Azurin is a reasonable alternative if multiclassing penalties aren't enforced - you won't have access to the draconic melds, but an extra point of essentia certainly won't hurt.)
    Last edited by danzibr; 2014-02-14 at 10:19 AM.
    My one and only handbook: My Totemist Handbook
    My one and only homebrew: Book of Flux
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    A comment on tiers, by Prime32
    Quote Originally Posted by KillianHawkeye View Post
    As a DM, I deal with character death by cheering and giving a fist pump, or maybe a V-for-victory sign. I would also pat myself on the back, but I can't really reach around like that.
      /l、
    ゙(゚、 。 7
     l、゙ ~ヽ
     じしf_, )ノ

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    Default Re: Another Totemist Handbook (WIP, please wait to post until the Builds post)

    10: More Sample Builds


    A continuation of the above post.

    Dip (between 2 and 9 levels of Totemist)
    Ashardalon Reborn, an attempt at recreating Ashardalon, a melee best and fear engine. Uses bloodlines. Courtesy Tempest_Stormwind. Also, thanks to Count for bringing this to my attention, there's a variant lower down in the link which uses a homebrew PrC rather than bloodlines.
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    [*]Well, here's the link. It's worth checking.

    Bard/Totemist caster (very nice idea... go DFI!). Courtesy Coidzor.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coidzor View Post
    Hmm... So I figured I'd sketch out a little skeleton for that bard+soulcaster+silverwood arcanist thing I mentioned earlier.

    Gets 5th level bard spells, 14 levels of meldshaping, a familiar and a wild cohort(based on character level entirely) that share one's soulmelds, dragonfire inspiration + items to boost a +1 base inspire courage.

    Costs 19 skillpoints, 4 feats for PrCs (1 of which is desired anyway), and 2 more feats for the shtick to work.

    So not all that good, but it doesn't seem to be outright crippled by the exercise, but it is giving up a fair bit in order to triple its output with another creature. Fairly squishy though, not really sure of the squishiness of soulcaster but I imagine it's more squishy than Totemist proper. Since it's a ranged build though and has a built-in body guard as part of its deal...

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    Silverbrow Human
    Human feat- Precocious Apprentice
    1st level feat- Dragonfire Inspiration
    Bard 1
    Totemist 1
    Totemist 2
    3rd level feat- Incarnum Spellshaping
    Totemist 3
    Totemist 4
    Soulcaster 1
    6th level feat- Wild Cohort
    Soulcaster 2
    Soulcaster 3
    Soulcaster 4
    9th level feat- Obtain Familiar
    Soulcaster 5
    Soulcaster 6
    Soulcaster 7
    12th level feat- Mounted Combat
    Silverwood Arcanist 1
    Silverwood Arcanist 2
    Silverwood Arcanist 3
    15th level feat- X (Improved Familiar? Expanded Soulmeld Capacity?)
    Silverwood Arcanist 4
    Silverwood Arcanist 5
    Soulcaster 8
    18th level feat- Y (???)
    Soulcaster 9
    Soulcaster 10

    Chaingun Porcupine, a Manticore Belt build. Courtesy Count courtesy Tempest_Stormwind.
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    Note there is a slight issue: as a standard action which grants multiple attacks, the precision damage only applies to the first spike. Still, it's worth listing (and maybe you can talk to your DM about waiving the precision damage rule).
    Quote Originally Posted by 123456789blaaa View Post
    Also, for sample builds the Chaingun Porcupine is really nice build that focuses on pumping the Manticore Belt. Only has two Totemist levels though so I don't know if it would be appropriate for adding to this handbook.

    A Dwarven Defender done right. Courtesy ShneekeyTheLost.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShneekeyTheLost View Post
    Some sample builds:

    Dwarven Defender (done right, for once)

    Crusader1/Totemist6/Ironsoul Forgemaster10/Crusader1/Witch Slayer2

    Breakdown:

    Crusader to start off with for D12 HD and decent abilities. Start off with Martial Spirit stance for some self-healing which is actually relevant at low levels or Leading The Charge stance for more damage output on a charge. When you come back, pick up Thicket of Blades for better Area Denial. Remember that Prestige Classes offer full Initiation advancement for free.

    Totemist 6 is a decent jump point. You got all of your low-end chakra at level 5, and 6 nets you an extra bind to use. This build doesn't use natural attacks, however Urksan Greaves are still a valid option for more damage on a charge.

    Now, your Totem Bind is available to be swapped around, which actually gives you a lot of options. If you want ranged attacks, you can go for Manticore Belt. If you need to go underwater, go with Kraken Mantle. If you want some maneuverability, try using the Blink Shirt, for move action DimDoor. Remember, you can take your Move Action after your Standard Action if you like, so you can activate a Maneuver, then teleport somewhere else in the fight.

    Ironsoul Forgemaster can really help you out. Because you are likely going axe and shield, your Shield pretty much makes you immune to blastomancy via investing essentia. Remember, you don't have to choose, you get all flavors of energy resistance at the same time.

    Secrets of the Forge basically means that even if you don't have access to a MagicMart, you've at least got decent weapons. Forge Lore makes sure you can hit the Craft check DC's.

    Armor Bond nets you some DR/-, just like Dwarven Defender does, but without being locked into place. Stacks with Adamantine Full Plate, which you gain proficiency with via Crusader.

    Weapon Bond is an essentia dump for more damage output. The save is pathetic, but if your opponent rolls a natural 1, Dazing is not fun to be hit by.

    Witchborn Binder nets you Mettle. This makes you able to shrug off secondary effects from spells such as Slay Living, Touch of Death, Disintegrate, and others.

    This is meant as a beatstick/lockdown build, capable of taking a hit, and being mobile enough and threatening enough damage output that it has to be respected as a threat rather than simply ignored.

    The Flaming Loogie, another build by JanusJones (courtesy Count). Also has problems, detailed beneath the build.
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    (same intro as Mr. Stab n' Grab)

    The Flaming Loogie (aka The Spitting Dragon): Dragonborn Mongrelfolk Totemist 2/Scout 3/Fighter 2/Dragon Devotee 4/Hand of the Winged Masters 9

    Overview: The Flaming Loogie is an entertainment build, able to hawk up burning loogies that cause 1d3 Con damage and deal skirmish damage to boot. He’s most effective when paired with other baddies, as he can run around and snipe at the characters in the party with the lowest base Con. If you choose, you can also make him a good character for hiding in plain sight and sniping, allowing him to terrorize a party by landing Con-draining hits every round as they frantically try to find him.

    Attributes: 16~18 base Constitution, 14 Dexterity.

    Feats: Dragontouched (1st), Spit Venom (3rd), Abiltiy Focus - Poison (6th), Point Blank Shot (Fighter 1), Precise Shot (Fighter 2), Improved Skirmish (9th), Improved Spit Venom (12th), Draconic Heritage - Battle Dragon (15th), Virulent Poison (18th).

    Items: +6 item of Constitution, +5 Tome of Constitution.

    Soulmelds: Totem-bound Phase Cloak plus any two other soulmelds you fancy. I suggest the Wormtail Belt for a +2 to natural AC and perhaps a Lamasu Mantle for a +2 deflection bonus to AC; Kruthik Claws, however, can be nice for the big bonus to Hide and Move Silently.

    Alternatives: Instead of grabbing 4 levels in Dragon Devotee, you can grab 3 levels in Umbral Disciple and take the Darkstalker Feat (consider swapping out Virulent Poison or Draconic Heritage for this). If you do, you can hide in plain sight, allowing you to remain hidden while sniping at your foes. Granted, the penalty for hiding and shooting can get pretty annoying, but if you’re willing (and you juggle your feats around) you can try grabbing the Able Sniper and Woodland Archer feats from Races of the Wild to make sniping easier.

    Tactics: The total Constitution on this character is pretty incredible - assuming an 18 base Con, your total becomes 18 + 5 (tome) + 5 (levels) + 6 (item) + 4 (Mongrelfolk) + 2 (Dragonborn) + 2 (Dragon Devotee) = 42. This makes your poison DC a whopping 10 (base) + 16 (Con) + 2 (essentia) + 2 (ability focus) + 2 (virulent poison) = 32. Spit Venom allows you to turn your Phase Cloak’s bite-based poison into a ranged touch attack, and skirmish adds dice of damage to improve this ability. Improved Spit Venom lets you do this at 60 feet of range, which is very handy. You can spit each round as a touch attack for skirmish damage, dealing 8d6+8 energy damage (sonic if you have the Heritage - Battle Dragon feat) and forcing a save vs. your Phase Cloak’s poison - failure means the target takes 1d3 Con damage as well. Consider pairing this guy with Romper-Stomper, below, to allow him to shelter in the protective threatened area of his enormous companion as he runs about spewing his venom.
    Quote Originally Posted by Piggy Knowles View Post
    I like JJ's incarnum four builds, but some of them have issues and/or are a bit outdated.

    Flaming Loogie is neat, and I'd like to play around with the concept a bit, but the spit attacks don't actually deal damage and therefore can't trigger skirmish damage.

    And here is Piggy_Knowles version of the Flaming Loogie:
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    Quote Originally Posted by Piggy Knowles View Post
    After giving it some more thought, here's my modified version of the Flaming Loogie:

    Human (of some sort), Rogue 3/Scout 4/Cloistered Cleric 1/Totemist 2/Chameleon 10

    1. Rogue1- Able Learner, Craven
    2. Totemist1-
    3. Totemist2- Spit Venom
    4. Cloistered Cleric1- Extend Spell, Extra Turning
    5. Scout1-
    6. Chameleon1- Persistent Spell
    7. Chameleon2-
    8. Chameleon3-
    9. Chameleon4- Divine Metamagic (Persistent Spell)
    10. Chameleon5-
    11. Chameleon6-
    12. Chameleon7- Open Lesser Chakra (Shoulders)
    13. Scout2-
    14. Scout3-
    15. Scout4- Swift Ambusher, Improved Skirmish
    16. Chameleon8-
    17. Chameleon9-
    18. Chameleon10- Travel Devotion
    19. Rogue2-
    20. Rogue3-

    Persist Hunter's Eye, and cast Venomfire each morning while using a bead of karma. Bind the Phase Cloak to your totem chakra and the Shadow Mantle to your shoulders chakra.

    Keep your essentia in Shadow Mantle maxed out (you may want to use your bonus feat for Bonus Essentia).

    Each round, move and attack, hocking a loogie at your intended target. As vision is impossible inside your sphere of darkness, but you have blindsight within it, you should get both sneak and skirmish damage. That means 38d6+20 acid damage (24d6 venomfire +8d6 hunter's eye +2d6 sneak +2d6 skirmish +2d6 improved skirmish +20 craven). Plus they save for poison damage, too, but whatever.

    Anyhow, that's only an average of 153 damage per shot, which is still a little low for my tastes. (By CR 20 I think a dedicated damage dealer should be averaging at least 250 damage.) Persistent cloud of knives might help for an additional 1d4+16d6+20 or whatever, but that's still below my arbitrary benchmark. I'm sure other Chameleon spells could bring it up, but I'll have to give it some thought...

    Sir Sticky Fingers, another build by JanusJones (courtesy Count). It aims to grift everything from a player, even passing through walls to do it, but it, like the others, has problems, again detailed beneath the build.
    Spoiler
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    (same intro as Mr. Stab n' Grab)
    Sir Sticky Fingers (aka the Phantom): Silverbrow Human Rogue 1/Totemist 9/Umbral Disciple 3/Teflammer Shadowlord 5, Umbral Disciple 2

    Overview: This is a character for driving your players nuts. In a single round, he’s able to walk through a dungeon wall, steal tons of stuff off of an unsuspecting PC, then blink right back through the wall to where he started from. If you use him throughout a dungeon, you can gradually deprive your PCs of all their decent gear and ensure that they have an undying hatred for Sir Sticky that will make him the number one villain on their hit list. If you use him as a recurring baddie, his ultimate demise will provide them with a huge treasure trove (of all the stuff he stole off them earlier) and an unmatched sense of grim satisfaction.

    Attributes: 16~18 Dexterity.

    Feats: Able Learner (1st), Shape Soulmeld - Theft Gloves (human), Expeditious Dodge (3rd), Mobility (6th), Spring Attack (9th), Blind-Fight (12th), Bonus Essentia (15th), Double Chakra Bind (18th).

    Items: +6 Item of Dexterity, +5 Tome of Dexterity, +10 Sleight of Hand competence bonus item, Incarnum Gauntlets.

    Soulmelds: 5 essentia in Theft Gloves, Kruthik Claws (vary essentia investment for improving Hide and Move Silently), Crown-bound Threefold Mask, Totem-bound Blink Shirt, Shoulder-bound Phase Cloak. Essentia investment should vary depending on your needs.

    Alternatives: You can, if you wish, dump 2 levels of Umbral Disciple for one more of Teflammer Shadowlord, granting you a death attack, and one of some other class - maybe Assassin for an extra sneak attack die or a second level of Rogue for evasion. This would allow you to examine your target, spring out of hiding to death attack, then disappear. You could also do this with levels of Feat Rogue (from Unearthed Arcana), saving your 3rd and 6th level feats by getting Expeditious Dodge and Mobility as bonus feats. This would, however, require you to pick up some sneak attack dice in some other way - Martial Study - Shadow Jaunt and Martial Stance - Assassin’s Stance might work for this purpose. Another feat that would be nice for this build is Darkstalker from Lords of Madness, which would allow you to hide even from enemies with Scent, Blindsight, Tremorsense, and the like.

    Tactics: Sir Sticky Fingers is NOT a shadow pouncer. His purpose is, instead, to harry and annoy your PCs. My only warning about using this character is that your players may actually attempt physical violence against you after a while! Here’s the trick: with a Totem-bound Blink Shirt, this character can dimension door as a move action. With a Crown-bound Threefold Mask, he receives an extra move action once every other round. Hide Sir Sticky Fingers in a dungeon with a lot of adjacent rooms, or better yet one with more than one floor. The best possible dungeon for Sticky is one with two floors that are unconnected by stairs (the top floor being closed off with stone shape), with holes in the floor of the upper level to allow Sticky to see what the PCs are doing down below.

    Here’s how he works. First, he uses a move action to move through the dungeon wall (using his shoulder-bound Phase Cloak), ending up next to one of the PCs. Next, he uses a free action (granted by his insane Sleight of Hand check!) to steal anything off the character that isn’t nailed down. His skill bonus should be 23 (ranks) + 12 (34 Dex) + 12 (Theft Gloves) + 10 (Competence Item) = +57. You can get it higher by improving his competence item if you like. Now he uses a second move action to either move back through the wall or dimension door using his blink shirt (if he’s got to move up through the ceiling instead of just back through a wall). He can do this all day, robbing the PCs and fading away before they can do anything about it!

    In addition, he can shadow pounce if he needs to fight and remain hidden the entire time, thanks to the Umbral Disciple’s hide in plain sight + concealment ability. The penalty for moving and attacking while remaining hidden is only a meager -20, which is easily offset by skill ranks and Kruthik Claws. If you’re really concerned about staying out of sight, consider spending 22,000 gold on a Collar of Umbral Metamorphoses from the Tome of Magic, which will pick you up all the qualities of a Dark Creature (+6 to Move Silently, +8 to Hide, +10 to speed), or just grabbing some good competence bonus items to keep yourself well-hidden.
    Quote Originally Posted by Piggy Knowles View Post
    I like JJ's incarnum four builds, but some of them have issues and/or are a bit outdated.

    Sticky Fingers misinterprets how Spring Attack works - you don't get a move action before and after the attack, so you can't move, steal/attack, and then dimension door away. Most of the build can be replicated by Phase Cloak + flyby attack via Manticore Belt, without requiring the Spring Attack line or the teleportation. I'd also pick up mindsight to actually observe these folks from other rooms.

    I guess my biggest problem is that Sticky Fingers has a lot of rigmarole for something that a straight totemist, or rogue 1/totemist 19 or whatever, would actually do better. Take Able Learner, Shape Soulmeld (Theft Gloves), Mindsight, Double Chakra, Bonus Essentia, Expanded Soulmeld Capacity x2. Or, even better: Able Learner, Hidden Talent (PMC), Shape Soulmeld (Theft Gloves), Mindsight, Psycarnum Infusion, Double Chakra, Bonus Essentia, Expanaded Soulmeld Capacity. Observe with Mindsight, flyby attack while phasing through the walls or from the floor to the ceiling or what not, poison them with PMC poison, rob them blind.

    Romper-Stomper, another build by JanusJones (courtesy Count). You essentially get really big and overrun the baddies. It would be great against a ton of mooks, but in far outdamaged in other scenarios.
    Spoiler
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    (same intro as Mr. Stab n' Grab)
    Romper-Stomper (aka Baphomet’s Chosen) : Water Orc (Unearthed Arcana) Half-Minotaur (Dragon #313) Totemist 2/Barbarian 2/Fighter 2/Psychic Warrior 2/Warmind 10/Warblade 2

    Overview: Romper-Stomper is a huge, mobile tank, able to move up to 100 feet per round trampling every enemy (up to Gargantuan-size ones) for up to 8d6+34 damage. Keep in mind that this is not in a straight line, either - he can cruise around corners to trample all the opponents he wants to. Depending on the build you choose, this ability can be combined with either reach-fueled battlefield control tactics or a tripping ability. Not only that, RS is an excellent tracker with both the Track feat and Scent ability.

    Attributes: 16~18 base Strength, 14 Con.

    Feats: Combat Reflexes (1st), Extra Rage (6th), Improved Natural Attack - Trample (9th). See the Alternatives section for more on other feat choices.

    Items: +5 Tome of Strength, +6 Item of Strength, Boots of Striding and Springing, +5 Weapon(s).

    Soulmelds: Shedu Crown grants Romper-Stomper his primary attack form: Trample. After this, you can choose any two other soulmelds. Good ones include Sphinx Claws on a tripping build, Rageclaws for being able to act at negative HP, Wormtail Belt for natural AC, and the Lamasu Mantle for AC vs. evil opponents.

    Alternatives: Good ones include Moment of Perfect Mind (shoring up your Will save), Rapid Counter (allowing an extra Aoo against approaching enemies), Swift Leap (helps you gain a bit more movement before a trample, which is especially handy in difficult terrain), Iron Heart Surge (arugably the best maneuver EVER!), and Emerald Razor (touch attacks are great with Power Attack and a humongous Strength!). Since you must have one 1st level stance, I suggest Punishing Stance to up the damage of your Aoos (note that this WON’T up the damage of your trample, since it doesn’t officially count as an attack - it requires no roll to hit!).

    Tactics: There are two ways to run Romper-Stomper: either as a trample/tripper or as a battlefield control Aoo fighter. For the first, you’ll want Combat Expertise, Expeditious Dodge, Combat Reflexes, Karmic Strike, Improved Trip, Two-Weapon Fighting, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, and Double Hit. The benefit of this approach is the ability to make trip attacks against any opponents that succeed in attacking you as you trample them, tripping them and attacking them twice. Use standard rage rules, as the Con will help your Trample DC and the penalty to AC will actually help, as characters who hit you will have a nasty surprise in store for them. You may want to consider Reckless Rage as well to gain a bit more Strength. Finally, you’ll want to use your last Warblade level to pick up a stance - I suggest Giant’s Stance for improving your damage.

    For a battlefield control character, you’ll want Combat Expertise, Expeditious Dodge, Combat Reflexes, Karmic Strike, Power Attack, Improved Bull Rush, Knockback, and Exotic WP Proficiency - Spiked Chain (or Rope Dart from Dragon #XXX). This option benefits more from an increased AC, so the Whirling Rage variant from Unearthed Arcana is the way to go. This character avoids Aoos with a high AC when trampling, then uses Combat Reflexes and Knockback to drive away any enemies foolish enough to attempt to close to melee distance. For your stance, try Pearl of Black Doubt - each missed attack will turn into another cumulative +2 to AC, making you well-nigh un-hittable by the end of your trampling turn.

    Note that it’s also possible to use War Hulk for Romper-Stomper to get your Strength even higher. The reason that I chose Warmind instead is specifically due to the Expansion power, which allows Romper-Stomper to roll over targets of up to Gargantuan size (and has other benefits, like reach!). War Hulks also lose the ability to use mental skills, which ruins the Half-Minotaur’s Scent and Track abilities.

    Depends on the build. Either way, during Romper-Stomper’s turn he moves up to twice his speed (40 feet base speed, +10 from Barb levels, +10 from boots, so 120 feet) in any direction, trampling enemies of large size or smaller underfoot. If facing huge enemies, he can use Expansion, growing to either Huge or Gargantuan size. This allows him to deal more trample damage. In essence, his trample acts almost like an area effect spell, but deals much more damage (base 3d6~5d6 + 1.5 x Strength). If a tripper, he has the added ability to floor any enemies foolish enough to attack him during his trample. If a battlefield controller, he can not only trample large numbers of enemies but defend a huge area with his Aoos (20~60 feet, depending on his size), keeping his allies safe and dealing huge damage to those who move within his threatened area.

    Strength is a large part of Romper Stomper’s damage, and with his huge 50 Strength (18 base, +4 from being a Water Orc, +4 for Half-Minotaur, +4 from the Warmind’s Chain of Personal Superiority, +4 from Rage or +6 from Reckless Rage, +5 from levels, +5 from a tome, and +6 from an item) he has a massive trample damage of 3d6+30 - and that’s only when he’s large! If expanded to Garganutan, the damage goes up to 6d6+33; if he’s got Reckless Rage, it’s 6d6+34. If he has Giant's Stance, this rises to 8d6+34. He does immense damage with his melee attacks as well - 3d6+34 when large, and 6d6+34 when fully expanded.

    Note that one of the very handy things about Romper-Stomper’s trample is that it requires no roll to hit. On the other hand, this means that his attack will be far less effective if his opponents wise up and do not attempt to attack him when he’s rolling over them - Reflex saves are a much better idea! Characters with evasion will prove particularly obnoxious, but should be rare.
    Quote Originally Posted by Piggy Knowles View Post
    I like JJ's incarnum four builds, but some of them have issues and/or are a bit outdated.

    Romper Stomper is a neat idea, although I'd probably work toward Robilar's and avoid the pre-reqs required for Karmic Strike.

    Hur Derp, the Black Blood Cultist (grapple!), courtesy sirpercival
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    CN Dragonborn Azurin Barbarian 4/Totemist 2/Totem Rager 4/Black Blood Cultist 10
    ACF: Bear Spirit Totem, City Brawler
    Feats: Improved Unarmed StrikeB, Two-Weapon FightingB, Cobalt Rage1st, JotunbrudH, Track3rd, Bonus Essentia6th, Improved Natural Attack: Claws9th, Open Lesser Chakra: Arms12th, Improved GrappleB, Multiattack15th, Aberration Blood: Flexible Limbs18th.
    Soulmelds: Girallon Arms (totem chakra), Dread Carapace, Blink Shirt, Totem Avatar (feet)

    Str: 18 (base) +5 (levels) +6 (rage) +5 (tome) +6 (belt) = 40
    Grapple check: +16 (bab) +15 (str) +4 (imp grap) +2 (open chakra) +4 (jotunbrud) +4 (extra arms) +12 (girallon arms) +2 (limbs) +4 (totem avatar) = +63

    Using Savage Grapple with Dread Carapace is absolutely brutal, as you're not making attack rolls with the natural weapons, you're making grapple checks. And, using the Bear Spirit Totem, you get Improved Grab. Every time you make a successful grapple check, you get 4 claw attacks and a bite attack. With the Dread Carapace maxed out, your main claw attacks do 2d6+19 (you may be able to convince your DM that the Black Blood Cultist's improved natural attack class feature sets your Girallon Arms damage to a base of 1d8...) and your bite does 1d6+15.

    And that's without any equipment.

    The Grappling Tree, courtesy Surreal (and honestly, probably my favorite of all the builds)
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    Warforged Cleric 3 (travel & law domains)/Totemist 2/Landforged Walker 5/Sapphire Hierarch 10
    *travel domain for survival for Landforged Walker, law domain for Sapphire Hierarch
    You get 9th level spells, a plant form that you can boost with incarnum, and access to DMM silliness. This would make a very strong grappler build. Also consider that you'd get Huge shapes 5 levels earlier than a druid. At level 10 you could have a huge Treant with 29 Str, boosted with Girallon and/or Kraken soulmelds, with Divine Power on top. By level 12, you can be an Iron Maw/Octopus Tree/Tendriculous boosted even more with Righteous Might. I think that's a grapple bonus of +47 (give or take a few). Oh, and you can get 8 attacks with the Octopus Tree.

    level 12 grapple: 12(BAB) + 10(str) + 8(huge) + 3(div.power) + 6(righteous might) + 14(Girallon) +4(kraken) + 4(imp.grap) = 61
    - a few buffs, Iron Maw, Righteous Might, Divine Power, soulmelds, no items

    A mix of Totemist and Warblade (and Uncanny Trickster), due to Piggy Knowles.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Piggy Knowles View Post
    OK, here's the completed version. I realized that in order to get 8th-level maneuvers, you'll have to swap the order in which you progress levels via Uncanny Trickster. No biggy. Also, switching to wings aspect dragonborn (because flight is handy). That's good, because I was one Tiger Claw maneuver short from picking up Raging Mongoose as a capstone, which is sad. Luckily, freeing up a feat means I can spend one on Martial Stance and nab Hunter's Sense, adding a nice bit of out-of-combat utility to the build without tying up a chakra bind.

    (If you'd prefer a more straightforward beatdown choice, Tactics of the Wolf can be a nice option instead. Open combat with Leading the Charge, adding +IL damage to all of your many attacks. Next round, switch to Tactics of the Wolf and get +1/2 IL for flanking, making that a better option than Punishing Stance. Alternatively, use Martial Study for Rabid Bear Strike or something.)

    Here's the final:

    Dragonborn (Wings Aspect) Water Orc, Totemist 9/Warblade 8/Uncanny Trickster 3

    1. Warblade1- Dragon Tail
    Punishing Stance (s), Sudden Leap, Moment of Perfect Mind, Wolf Fang Strike
    2. Totemist1-
    3. Totemist2- Multiattack
    4. Warblade2-
    Wall of Blades
    5. Warblade3-
    Action Before Thought
    6. Totemist3- Headlong Rush
    7. Totemist4-
    8. Warblade4-
    Leading the Charge (s), Action Before Thought -> Iron Heart Surge
    9. Warblade5- Ironheart Aura, Stormguard Warrior
    Bounding Assault
    10. Totemist5-
    11. Totemist6-
    12. Warblade6- Combat Reflexes
    Wall of Blades -> Dancing Mongoose
    13. Warblade7-
    Rapid Counter
    14. Totemist7-
    15. Totemist8- Robilar’s Gambit
    16. Warblade8-
    Wolf Fang Strike -> Moment of Alacrity
    17. Totemist9-
    18. Uncanny Trickster1- Martial Stance (Hunter’s Sense)
    19. Uncanny Trickster2-
    20. Uncanny Trickster3- Blind-Fight
    Raging Mongoose

    UT2 progresses totemist, UT3 progresses warblade. Final maneuvers and stances look like this:

    STANCES:
    Punishing Stance, Leading the Charge, Hunter's Sense

    MANEUVERS:
    Sudden Leap, Moment of Perfect Mind, Wolf Fang Strike, Wall of Blades, Action Before Thought, Iron Heart Surge, Bounding Assault, Dancing Mongoose, Rapid Counter, Moment of Alacrity, Raging Mongoose

    Fairly straightforward build overall, and it should play nicely at all levels. Note that many of your tricks, in particular Leading the Charge, help your allies out as well.

    Low Levels:
    Lots of natural attacks plus Punishing Stance will let you easily power through most low level encounters. You've got some extra mobility thanks to Sudden Leap, and Moment of Perfect Mind helps cut into the bane of most melee characters - your Will save.

    Middle Levels:
    Leading the Charge + Headlong Rush + lots of natural attacks means ridiculous damage on a charge, making that a fantastic way to open up most encounters. From there you can switch back into Punishing Stance for the more reliable bonus damage on each hit. You're mostly focused on boosts and counters where applicable, and you pick up Stormguard Warrior and Robilar's, both of which add a lot of very nice melee options. Rapid Counter helps improve the latter in particular.

    High Levels:
    Your uber-charging and Stormguard Warrior shtick still holds up well, perhaps even better now that you have things like Bounding Assault and Moment of Alacrity. You've also got the shoulders binds for goodies like Phase Cloak, and you go ahead and pick up scent from a stance just for fun. Dancing/Raging Mongoose complete your tendency to make ridiculous numbers of attacks in a round.

    A cool build with a lot of synergy, courtesy Count courtesy Surreal. I like it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 123456789blaaa View Post
    Also, for when you have more room, here's a really synerigistic and tight build by Surreal for Iron Chef #4 (back when they were held on BG):

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    Name: Peasmiil

    Illumian Totemist 6/Nentyar Hunter 3/Suel Arcanamach 3/Geomancer 8

    ***No gear, no buffs, no soulmelds ||| with minimal gear/buffs/soulmelds***
    Medium Humanoid
    Hit Dice: 6d8 + 3d6 + 3d8 + 8d6 + Con = 81 + 60 -20 (quick) = 121 hp ||| 201 hp
    Initiative: +1 ||| +4
    Speed: 55' ||| 85'
    Armor Class: 11, Touch: 11, Flat-footed: 10 ||| AC = 31 = 10 + 10 (armor) + 4 (Dex) + +5 (barkskin) +2 (RM)
    Base Attack/Grapple/Trip: 15/19/19 ||| 15/ 33 / 35
    Attack: +15 ||| +29
    Full Attack: 2 claws, 1 bite, 1 stinger ||| plus whatever else you get with soulmelds
    Space/Reach: 5'/5' ||| 10'/10'
    Special Abilities/Qualities: always literate, wild empathy, woodland stride, swift tracker, swiftness of the stag, tenacious spells, dispelling strike, extended spellstrength, ignore ASF 5%, drift 4, spell versatility 7, ley lines +2
    Saves: base 11/9/9 ||| 24/19/19
    Abilities: Str 16 (21 w/levels), Dex 12, Con 16, Int 12, Wis 10, Cha 10 ||| Str 36, Dex 18, Con 24, Int 18, Wis 16, Cha 16
    Skills: (4+1)*23 = 115 total;
    Feats: see below
    Flaws/Traits: Shaky, Vulnerable, Quick, Detached
    Environment: forest
    Alignment: non-evil
    Languages Spoken:
    Level Adjustment: +0

    Feats:
    F: track (prereq)
    F: Confused open
    otyugh hole: iron will (prereq)
    1 alertness (prereq)
    3 combat casting (prereq)
    6 multiattack
    9 double chakra
    12 open lesser chakra - retrain to practiced spellcaster when we can cast the spell
    15 battle jump
    18 ?open greater chakra


    Skill Tricks:
    any relevant movement ones (climb, jump, charge, etc)


    Possessions:
    Mithril Breastplate +5
    Cloak of Resistance +6
    Belt of Magnificence +6
    a couple Metamagic Rods of Extend
    Necklace of Natural Weapons +1 Valorous for ? weapons
    Manual of Gainful Exercise +5


    Soulmelds:
    Sphinx Claws (hands) - for pounce
    Girallon Arms (totem) - 4 claws
    whatever


    Buffs active in stat block above:
    Barkskin
    Righteous Might
    Expeditious Retreat


    Spells known (Nentyar Hunter): **use Geomancer versatility: use Suel parameters, get extended duration and high CL**
    1: barkskin, cure light wounds, detect magic, detect poison, entangle, jump, light, pass without trace, magic missile, snare, speak with animals, true strike
    2: Aganazzar's Scorcher, blur, cure moderate wounds, gust of wind, moonbeam, neutralize poison, remove disease, resist elements, speak with plants, tree shape
    3: cure serious wounds, freedom of movement, greenfire, invisibility, keen edge, moon blade, quench, see invisibility, wind wall
    4: break enchantment, commune with nature, control winds, force orb, greater magic weapon, tree stride, wall of thorns
    5: find the path, flame strike, healing circle, moon path, righteous might


    Spells known (Suel Arcanamach): Caster Level 17 (base 9 + 2 Illumian + 2 ley lines + 4 prac)
    1 (4): expeditious retreat, free, free, free
    2 (4): heroics, wraithstrike. free, free
    3 (3): free, free, free
    4 (2): open least chakra, free
    5 (2): free, free


    Spells per Day: add bonus spells based on Strength (Illumian Aeshkrau sigil)
    Nentyar Hunter/Suel Arcanamach
    1: 3/4
    2: 3/4
    3: 2/3
    4: 2/2
    5: 1/1


    Character background:
    N/A


    Pre-combat:
    cast open lesser chakra a couple times (extend to last two or more days), bind whatever you feel like for the day
    buff up with long duration spells


    Combat:
    move, jump, battle jump triggers charge, charge triggers pounce, slashy slashy, every attack trips at +35, can't be tripped in return, valorous doubles damage
    standard silliness: heroics for power attack, pounce with wraithstrike with full power attack
    assuming conservative 8 attacks, full power attack (15)...
    ... 1d4 + 13 (str) + 15 (PA) ~ 30 per attack, 8 attacks, valorous & battle jump... ~ 720 without considering anything else


    Levels 1-6:
    - straight Totemist, nothing overly fancy here

    Levels: 7-10:
    - grab Nentyar Hunter 2 and Suel Arcanamach 2
    - still essentially playing a totemist with a few buffs


    Levels 11-20:
    - fill out the remainder with Geomancer 8/NH +1/SA +1
    - Geomancer's spell versatility now let's us cast in heavier armor for SA spells, and use the higher CL and get extended durations for NH buffs
    - alternatively drop NH 3 (which gives +10 speed) for Geomancer 9
    - cold potentially drop SA 3 as well, since we're primarily aiming for long duration buffs anyways
    - each level essentially brings more spells and natural weapons
    - battle jump becomes a reliable way to boost damage when the buffs start spiking the jump check


    Other notes:
    - Nentyar Hunter fills the weapons prereq for Suel Arcanamach
    - Totemist and NH fulfill most of the skill prereqs, use the cityscape web enhancement to get tumble
    - buffing jump should be relatively easy: high speed, jump spell, soulmelds, etc
    - Illumian: reduced MAD (makes bonus spells based off Str for both NH and SA), remain literate despite Totemist
    - haste actually doesn't help that much, and the duration is short
    - I absolutely hate dipping Lion-totem barbarian for pounce
    - a grappling build is actually feasible here with soulmelds and geomancer (which can get constrict and improved grab), but then that involves mixing grappling rules with natural attacks, which makes the baby Pun-pun cry
    - there are two empty feat slots; you can either build towards a lancer (and use heroics to get anything else) or do whatever else you feel like; I'm tempted to do shape soulmeld just for versatility

    The Loyal Servant, a shadowpouncer, courtesy Count courtesy kestrel404. It won Iron Chef XVIII.
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    I just have the link.

    Soul Manifester melee build, courtesy kestrel404
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    Quote Originally Posted by kestrel404 View Post
    And here's my favorite Soul Manifester build, with a slant towards making it a good melee figher.

    Race: Dragonborn (heart) Mongrelfolk
    Alignment: Lawful Neutral or Neutral Good
    Attributes (before modifiers): Wis > Str > Int > Con > Dex > Cha (If your Int score is less than 12 after the -2 racial mod, you'll need to get more skill points from somewhere to make it into uncanny trickster. For point buy, scores of 16/8/14/14/16/8 work just fine)
    Class: Ardent 1/Incarnate 1/Ardent +1/Totemist 2/Soul Manifester 10/Uncanny Trickster 3/Incarnate +1/Ardent +1
    Note: Soul Manifester goes towards increasing Incarnate meldshaping. Uncanny Trickster class feature advancement goes towards increasing Soul Manifester levels. This means that you end up with Totemist 2/Incarnate 14 meldshaping and Ardent 15 (+4 ML) manifesting. Remember that as an Ardent you can choose any power that you're capable of manifesting (except for your first level) - so you can choose a 2nd level power at level 3, thus qualifying for Soul Manifester.

    Feats: Azure Talent, Practiced Manifester, Psycarnum Infusion, Psycrystal Affinity, Psycristal Containment, Midnight Augmentation, Expanded Knowledge* or Extend Power

    Mantles: The top three contenders here are probably Conflict, Freedom and Guardian. Given your massive con score, you're going to be tanking. The above three mantles make for a good mix of buffs, debuffs, utility and attack powers that should keep you useful while you soak up enemy attention. If you want a bit more in the way of attack power, Time and Creation both offer some very nice options.

    Powers: Your power points are going to be a bit scarce, and your available powers even more so until you hit level 10. Fortunately, you'll have a lot of different soulmelds to fall back on, and your dragonborn breath weapon will give you and at-will ranged/area attack that's very nice. If the GM allows Ardent mantle power substitution, try to convince them that Bestow Power belongs in the guardian mantle - otherwise you'll need to spend a feat to pick it up. At 18th level, you'll be able to regenerate power points (at a rate of 1 per 3 rounds of activity, since you'll need to expend two psionic foci and use Bestow Power to do it) using the Psycarnum Infusion -> Midnight Augmentation -> Bestow Power loop (spending 5 pp to gain 6) to do it, but this will allow you to adventure all day without need to rest and recover. If you don't think you'll reach 18th level, feel free to choose different feats from 9th level on (psycarnum infusion is just too good to pass up, so keep that at least).

    Soulmelds: You've got a lot to work with, considdering that by 6th level you'll have 6 soulmelds to work with (3 totemist and 3 incarnate). By 20th level, you'll have 10! soulmelds available (as opposed to a full incarnate, who usually only gets 9) and 5 chakra binds (to anything but heart or soul). I'm not going to go into detail on what's good here and what's not. There are guides for that.

    Skill Tricks: To get into Uncanny Trickster, you'll need 4 skill tricks, and you'll get 3 more from the class. Actually making it into this PrC is a bit tough, but your one saving grace is that Totemist gets Spot, Listen and Ride as class skills. With Heal 5 from Ardent for Healing Hands, Collector of Stories from Know(Psi), Swift Concentration and Listen to This, you can make it into the class with only a few ranks in cross-class skills, plus the mandatory 8 skill points spent on skill tricks. Once you make it into uncanny trickster, you'll be getting 8+int skill point per level, with pretty much all the skills needed to get more skill tricks as class skills, so you can just choose 3 new skill tricks you like. I'd go with some mobility tricks, since the build is a bit lacking there.

    That's all I've got. Hope that helps!

    Other (vague or low-level)
    An outline of a Manticore Belt-user. Courtesy ShneekeyTheLost.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShneekeyTheLost View Post
    2) Ranged Damage Output:

    This build focuses on being primarily a Totemist, because everything you need, you have in-house.

    Basically, it combines Manticore Belt being bound to Totem chakra to generate tons of ranged natural attacks with Dread Carapace for more damage per shot, and totem avatar to shoulder for even more damage per shot. Then find as many ways to get damage multipliers on your natural attacks (necklace of natural attacks, for example).

    A somewhat generic face basher. Courtesy Essence_of_War.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Essence_of_War View Post
    Here's a sample build for a Dragonborn Orc Totemist.

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    Str: 16->20
    Dex: 13 ->11
    Con: 16->18
    Int: 10->8
    wis: 10->8
    cha: 11->9

    Dragonborn Orc. If you're sure you'll get to 6th, pick the flight aspect. If not, heart or mind will probably be more benecifial.

    Feats:
    1 - Expanded Soulmeld Capacity
    flaw - Endurance
    flaw - Steadfast Determination
    3 - Multiattack
    6 - Bonus Essentia

    If you don't get flaws, consider cutting Endurance+Steadfast+Multiattack for Cerulean Will or Shape Soulmeld: Crystal Helm.

    At 1st level, you get 2 soulmelds. Use one of them for Dragon Claws or Dragon Tail, this is your combat meld (see the draconic soulmelds link above). For the other, pick something like Blink Shirt (general utility!) or a soulmeld that boosts a few useful skills.

    Some goodies:
    Worg Pelt or Kruthik Claws make you stealthy.
    Hunter's Circlet is good if you're the de facto wilderness guide.
    Shadow Mantle boosts listen which is notably a class skill!

    At 2nd level you get your totem bind. I'd pick Sphinx Claws and bind it to my totem chakra. Your full attacks will be scary!

    If you get Multiattack at 3rd, start binding the girallon arms to your totem and make 4 attacks. At 6th you can also bind the sphinx claws to your hands to get pseudo-pounce.

    Random thoughts for a sneaky Totemist build (WIP).
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    Sneaky Totemist
    Random ideas: Either be Dark or get Umbral Disciple, or HiPS somehow.
    Get the Mage Slayer feat chain and Ring of Blinking.
    SA with a boat load of NA's

    Alekk Arsh, Grapplemancer (low-level build), courtesy sirpercival
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    Dragonborn Skarn Bear Totem Barbarian 1/Totemist 2/Wizard 3
    Feats: Improved Unarmed StrikeBarb, Improved GrappleWiz, Incarnum Spellshaping1st, Expanded Soulmeld Capacity3rd, Bonus Essentia6th.
    Traits: Brawler.
    Equipment: Belt of Enlarge Person, Gloves of Fist of Stone, Wand of Balor Nimbus (25 charges).
    Soulmelds: Girallon Arms [totem bind], Ankheg Breastplate, Wormtail Belt

    Grapple Check: +4 bab +7 str +4 enlarge person +4 improved grapple +3 octopus familiar +1 brawler trait +10 girallon arms +4 fearsome grapple = +37

    Can use arm spines or slam (from fist of stone) as natural weapons with corrosive grasp, but the real damage is Balor Nimbus. Also, improved grab from the barbarian level.

    Incomplete Grappler, beginnings of an attempt at fixing JanusJones' Stabby:
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    Start in a campaign which starts at at least level 2 with 2 flaws.
    Saurian Shifter (or else) Barbarian 1/Totemist 4/Black Blood Cultist 8/other stuff 7 (maybe Warblade 1/Weretouched Master 5)
    Feats: Improved Unarmed Strike (level 1), Barbed Stinger (flaw at level 2, qualify by binding Wormtail Belt to totem chakra), Track (second flaw at level 2), Multigrab (level 3), Greater Multigrab (level 6), ??? (level 9), ??? (level 12), ??? (level 15), ??? (level 18).

    Kraken Mantle, Girallon Arms, Mountain Hammer, Crushing Roots of the Mountain, many natural attacks, Black Blood Cultist 8, as large as possible (Permanency'd Enlarge Person, etc.)

    Maybe PsyWar, ToB, other PrC

    Probably Warforged, maybe Skarn, maybe Monk dip, maybe blow a feat on Track, maybe use the magic items talked about in the PrC section

    Level 1: If Warforged you're a pounce Barb with 2 natural attacks.
    Level 2: If you can get the dragonblood subtype you can be pounce with 5 natural attacks.
    Level 3: Even more natural attacks thanks to totem chakra.
    ...
    Level 13: You now kick ass. Get as many natural attacks as possible, get as big as possible (both for + to grapple and increase natural weapon damage), grapple and dominate. Can shape 4 soulmelds, bind 1. Black Blood Cultist gives a bite and 2 claws (and rend), look at what to do with the other stuff.

    A level 10 gestalt Warblade//Totemist shadowpouncer. Does ridiculous damage. Courtesy Piggy_Knowles.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Piggy Knowles View Post
    If anyone's curious, here is the build in question, for a level 10 gestalt game:
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    Gully Foyle
    Azurin, Warblade 10 // Rogue 3/Totemist 2/Crinti Shadow Marauder 5
    ROGUE ACF: Penetrating Strike

    1. Warblade 1//Rogue 1- Stealthy, Craven, Mounted Combat (F), Darkstalker (F)
    2. Warblade 2//Rogue 2-
    3. Warblade 3//Rogue 3- Maiming Strike
    4. Warblade 4//Totemist 1-
    5. Warblade 5//Totemist 2- Ironheart Aura
    6. Warblade 6//Crinti Shadow Marauder 1- Stormguard Warrior
    7. Warblade 7//Crinti Shadow Marauder 2-
    8. Warblade 8//Crinti Shadow Marauder 3- Ride-by Attack
    9. Warblade 9//Crinti Shadow Marauder 4- Martial Study (Shadow Stride), Improved Initiative
    10. Warblade 10//Crinti Shadow Marauder 5-

    Girallon Claws and fanged ring gives me six attacks on a standard attack routine. Between Craven and battle cunning there's a good bit of bonus damage on each, plus Maiming Strike Charisma damage.

    Key Tricks:
    • 18 attack whirlwind: Anklets of Translocation as swift, Shadow Stride as move, finish with a standard action Blink Shirt. Three full attacks for 18 attacks total. If by some miracle all 18 hit and SA is possible, that's 6d6+12d4+432 points of damage, plus 36 points of Charisma damage via Maiming Strike. Probably overkill and won't be used, but it's an option.
    • White Raven Mongoose combo: Against non-flat footed enemies, use White Raven Strike as a standard action, which makes your enemy flat-footed for a round. Then Dancing Mongoose and move action Shadow Stride for 8 attacks against a guaranteed flat-footed enemy. Eventually this will be upgraded to White Raven Hammer for the auto-stun.
    • High-AC Combat Rhythm Take-Down: Against high-AC enemies who don't care much about being flat-footed, switch to touch attacks via Combat Rhythm, making two full attacks (Shadow Stride + Blink Shirt) plus Dancing Mongoose for 14 touch attacks. Next round, refresh maneuvers and full attack with as much as +70 from Combat Rhythm.


    Incarnum Thug, courtesy Piggy_Knowles (doesn't actually have any Totemist... but still neat).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Piggy Knowles View Post
    The Incarnum Thug

    BUILD: Azurin, Zhentarim Thug Fighter 20 (Skilled City Dweller variant, Ride -> Tumble)

    Why thug? It's pretty rare to see this variant without also taking the sneak attack fighter variant as well, but for these purposes, it works. The lack of the bonus feat at first level really doesn't slow this build down, and the skills are actually pretty important (especially Sleight of Hand). Martial rogue could theoretically work in its place, but it means you won't have the BAB for some of the capstone feats toward the end.

    Ability Scores:
    32-PB: Str 16/Dex 14/Con 14/Int 14/Wis 10/Cha 10
    28-PB: Str 16/Dex 13/Con 14/Int 13/Wis 8/Cha 10
    Rolled: Prioritize Str and Con, of course. Make sure Dex and Int are at least 13. If you can't afford at least a neutral score in Cha, consider dropping Urban Tracking and Gather Information.

    Feat Progression

    1- Midnight Dodge, Shape Soulmeld (Shedu Crown)
    2- Combat Expertise
    3- Shape Soulmeld (Phase Cloak), Skill Focus (Intimidate)
    4- Improved Trip
    6- Open Least Chakra (Crown), Mobility
    8- Spring Attack
    9- Mindsight
    10- Urban Tracking
    12- Open Lesser Chakra (Shoulders), Martial Study (Shadow Jaunt)
    14- Elusive Target
    15- Shape Soulmeld (Theft Gloves)
    16- Bounding Assault
    18- Imperious Command
    20- Rapid Blitz
    Last edited by danzibr; 2014-01-05 at 09:17 AM.
    My one and only handbook: My Totemist Handbook
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    A comment on tiers, by Prime32
    Quote Originally Posted by KillianHawkeye View Post
    As a DM, I deal with character death by cheering and giving a fist pump, or maybe a V-for-victory sign. I would also pat myself on the back, but I can't really reach around like that.
      /l、
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    Default Re: Another Totemist Handbook (WIP, input welcome!)

    Well at least you linked previous Totemist handbooks. Should help reduce confusion a bit.

    Also, for sample builds the Chaingun Porcupine is really nice build that focuses on pumping the Manticore Belt. Only has two Totemist levels though so I don't know if it would be appropriate for adding to this handbook.

    For a different take on the same concept, Piggy Knowles's The Strafing Manticore also focuses on pumping the Manticore Belt:

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    The Strafing Manticore

    BUILD STUB: Azurin, Totemist 20

    PROGRESSION:

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    1- Darkstalker, Expanded Soulmeld Capacity
    3- Shape Soulmeld (Sighting Gloves)
    6- Martial Study (Cloak of Deception)
    9- Double Chakra (Totem)
    12- Martial Stance (Assassin’s Stance)
    15- Craven
    18- Bonus Essentia


    Focusing on the Manticore Belt, this build is a ranged skirmisher. The idea is to be constantly surrounded in an inky cloud of darkness, swooping by and releasing a huge volley of spines. Manticore Belt bound to the Waist gives excellent Fly speed plus Flyby attack, while binding it to the chakra gives you the ability to fire one spine per essentia invested as a standard action... and by 14th level, both should be bound. The Shadow Mantle’s shoulders not only surrounds you in a globe of magical darkness (which, unlike regular darkness, explicitly prevents any sight), it also gives you blindsight within that globe. This should make it very easy to activate sneak attack via Assassin’s Stance, and Craven damage.

    Instead of blowing two feats on PBS/Precise Shot, instead the build blows one feat on Sighting Gloves, which give the same benefit but also provide a significant damage boost.

    Plus, you know, you’re a level 20 Totemist, so you’ve got skill boosters out the wazoo, can switch to melee when necessary, etc.


    Unlike the Chaingun Porcupine, it is a Totemist 20 build.

    Finally, Rusty is an attempt at an optimized sentry build with a focus on avoiding reliance on per-day abilities and being able to provide your own healing and supplies. It's also a Totemist 20 build.

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    Default Re: Another Totemist Handbook (WIP, input welcome!)

    Everything looks fine, I only glanced over it.

    [*list] and [*/list]are missing at the ECL 0 though. You also mentioned twice a supplemental 2.
    Last edited by thethird; 2013-06-09 at 05:36 PM.
    Thanks a lot Gengy for the awesome... just a sec... avatar. :)

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    Default Re: Another Totemist Handbook (WIP, input welcome!)

    Quote Originally Posted by 123456789blaaa View Post
    Well at least you linked previous Totemist handbooks. Should help reduce confusion a bit.

    Also, for sample builds the Chaingun Porcupine is really nice build that focuses on pumping the Manticore Belt. Only has two Totemist levels though so I don't know if it would be appropriate for adding to this handbook.

    For a different take on the same concept, Piggy Knowles's The Strafing Manticore also focuses on pumping the Manticore Belt:

    Spoiler
    Show
    The Strafing Manticore

    BUILD STUB: Azurin, Totemist 20

    PROGRESSION:

    Spoiler
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    1- Darkstalker, Expanded Soulmeld Capacity
    3- Shape Soulmeld (Sighting Gloves)
    6- Martial Study (Cloak of Deception)
    9- Double Chakra (Totem)
    12- Martial Stance (Assassin’s Stance)
    15- Craven
    18- Bonus Essentia


    Focusing on the Manticore Belt, this build is a ranged skirmisher. The idea is to be constantly surrounded in an inky cloud of darkness, swooping by and releasing a huge volley of spines. Manticore Belt bound to the Waist gives excellent Fly speed plus Flyby attack, while binding it to the chakra gives you the ability to fire one spine per essentia invested as a standard action... and by 14th level, both should be bound. The Shadow Mantle’s shoulders not only surrounds you in a globe of magical darkness (which, unlike regular darkness, explicitly prevents any sight), it also gives you blindsight within that globe. This should make it very easy to activate sneak attack via Assassin’s Stance, and Craven damage.

    Instead of blowing two feats on PBS/Precise Shot, instead the build blows one feat on Sighting Gloves, which give the same benefit but also provide a significant damage boost.

    Plus, you know, you’re a level 20 Totemist, so you’ve got skill boosters out the wazoo, can switch to melee when necessary, etc.


    Unlike the Chaingun Porcupine, it is a Totemist 20 build.

    Finally, Rusty is an attempt at an optimized sentry build with a focus on avoiding reliance on per-day abilities and being able to provide your own healing and supplies. It's also a Totemist 20 build.
    Excellent. Thank you on all accounts, Count. I'll incorporate those at the earliest opportunity (afk atm).
    My one and only handbook: My Totemist Handbook
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    A comment on tiers, by Prime32
    Quote Originally Posted by KillianHawkeye View Post
    As a DM, I deal with character death by cheering and giving a fist pump, or maybe a V-for-victory sign. I would also pat myself on the back, but I can't really reach around like that.
      /l、
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    Default Re: Another Totemist Handbook (WIP, please wait to post until the Builds post)

    Quote Originally Posted by danzibr View Post
    Ways to overcome 1 chakra/soulmeld.
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    • None to my knowledge. So it seems impossible to, say, bind Girallon Arms to both arms and totem.

    Totemist level 11 ability. It's kind of buried in the "totem bind" class feature, but it is there. You seem to have misread it to instead allow you to bind another soulmeld to your totem. Magic of Incarnum is kind of a poorly laid out book, so I'm not surprised that even someone making handbook about it gets confused.

    Thanks for doing a handbook. I'll read more once there's more to read; just the table of soulmelds with essentia and bind effects is very nice to have.
    Last edited by Glimbur; 2013-06-09 at 06:58 PM.

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    Default Re: Another Totemist Handbook (WIP, please wait to post until the Builds post)

    First @ Count: I'm about to mention those builds, but unfortunately (Rules Compendium, p. 42) all the precision damage they're getting doesn't work well with Manticore Belt. Rusty's cool though.
    Quote Originally Posted by thethird View Post
    Everything looks fine, I only glanced over it.

    [*list] and [*/list]are missing at the ECL 0 though. You also mentioned twice a supplemental 2.
    Fixed! I actually did that like 3 times. Whoops.
    Quote Originally Posted by Glimbur View Post
    Totemist level 11 ability. It's kind of buried in the "totem bind" class feature, but it is there. You seem to have misread it to instead allow you to bind another soulmeld to your totem. Magic of Incarnum is kind of a poorly laid out book, so I'm not surprised that even someone making handbook about it gets confused.

    Thanks for doing a handbook. I'll read more once there's more to read; just the table of soulmelds with essentia and bind effects is very nice to have.
    Right! Ya know, now that you mention it I totally remember that being the actual feature, but when I was skimming the table I misremembered it. It's been a while since I played one.
    My one and only handbook: My Totemist Handbook
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    A comment on tiers, by Prime32
    Quote Originally Posted by KillianHawkeye View Post
    As a DM, I deal with character death by cheering and giving a fist pump, or maybe a V-for-victory sign. I would also pat myself on the back, but I can't really reach around like that.
      /l、
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     l、゙ ~ヽ
     じしf_, )ノ

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    Default Re: Another Totemist Handbook (WIP, input welcome!)

    You've also got some missing link tags in the glossary section.

    And for prestige classes, make sure you mention Kensai.
    Time travels in divers paces with divers persons.
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    Default Re: Another Totemist Handbook (WIP, please wait to post until the Builds post)

    Quote Originally Posted by danzibr View Post
    Going back to the definitions, a natural weapon is a weapon which is physically part of a creature [MM, p. 312].
    Quote Originally Posted by Magic of Incarnum
    A long, thick tail emerges from the back of your manticore belt
    So, not physically part of you.
    Quote Originally Posted by danzibr View Post
    I guess you could nitpick and say the tail isn't physically part of your body, like you have it equipped or something, but that would be tantamount to saying the claws granted by Girallon Arms wouldn't be natural weapons if the text didn't explicitly say so.
    Quote Originally Posted by Magic of Incarnum
    Incarnum forms two additional, powerful arms that spring out from your ribs.
    So, one forms out of a belt, and the other forms out of your ribs.

    Fluff may not be RAW, but it does show that your reasoning is flawed.

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    Default Re: Another Totemist Handbook (WIP, input welcome!)

    But the belt is part of your soul, and your soul is a part of you.
    Time travels in divers paces with divers persons.
    As You Like It, III:ii:328

    Chronos's Unalliterative Skillmonkey Guide
    Current Homebrew: 5th edition psionics

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    Default Re: Another Totemist Handbook (WIP, input welcome!)

    Under Equipment, add Incarnum Focus gear (MoI pg. 114). It's fantastic for any meldshaper - they are the only magic items you can wear in the same slot as a bound chakra and still gain the benefits. By combining them with the Improving Magic Items rules (DMG pg. 288/MiC pg. 233), you can add the standard stat boosting effects and other effects you'd want. e.g. You can add Giant Strength to your Incarnum Belt, or turn it into a Belt of Battle.

    Even without adding more effects they are useful - increasing essentia capacity, preventing essentia drain and keeping soulmelds from being unshaped by any effect you don't control. Since the latter two can't be undone without 8 hours rest, keeping them from happening is a very high priority for any meldshaper.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
    Quote Originally Posted by gogogome View Post
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    Default Re: Another Totemist Handbook (WIP, input welcome!)

    A somewhat generic face basher by Essence_of_War.
    I'm participating!

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    Default Re: Another Totemist Handbook (WIP, input welcome!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
    But the belt is part of your soul...
    No, it's not. Totemists shape the souls of magical beasts, not their own.

    Additionally, take a look at Incarnum Weapon. Incarnates create battleaxes, swords, flails, and warhammers with the stuff. These are not natural weapons by any means, but they're made from Incarnum, just like the Manticore Belt.

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    Default Re: Another Totemist Handbook (WIP, please wait to post until the Builds post)

    Quote Originally Posted by danzibr View Post
    First @ Count: I'm about to mention those builds, but unfortunately (Rules Compendium, p. 42) all the precision damage they're getting doesn't work well with Manticore Belt. Rusty's cool though.
    <snip>
    Wow...I did not notice that .

    I do have a counterargument though. In the description of the Manticore Belt, MoI says:

    As a standard action, you can snap your tail to loose a volley of spikes equal to the number of points of essentia you invest in your manticore belt. This attack has a range increment of 30 feet and a maximum range of 150 feet.
    So this would seem to indicate that letting loose the spines is a single attack. Thus that paragraph in the Rules Compendium would not apply.

    Am I missing something? If I'm not, maybe you could add the builds but make a note?

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    Default Re: Another Totemist Handbook (WIP, please wait to post until the Builds post)

    Quote Originally Posted by 123456789blaaa View Post
    Am I missing something?
    You are. MoI 78:

    "Make a ranged attack roll for each spike, using your full base attack bonus."

    Multiple rolls = multiple attacks, therefore the RC rule comes into play and you only get precision damage on the first hit.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
    Quote Originally Posted by gogogome View Post
    Cheers to Psyren the MVP "naysayer".
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    Default Re: Another Totemist Handbook (WIP, please wait to post until the Builds post)

    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    You are. MoI 78:

    "Make a ranged attack roll for each spike, using your full base attack bonus."

    Multiple rolls = multiple attacks, therefore the RC rule comes into play and you only get precision damage on the first hit.
    I know that it's RAW dumbness but I haven't seen the bolded part really stated anywhere. Heck, I haven't really seen "attack" defined anywhere in the rules either. Thus I believe the part I quoted is still correct.

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    Default Re: Another Totemist Handbook (WIP, input welcome!)

    It actually doesn't matter how you define "attack" in a general sense. What matters here is that it meets the criteria on RC 42: "multiple attacks as part of an action other than a full-round action." The Manticore Belt, like an actual manticore, uses a standard action (not a full-round) to shoot its volley.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
    Quote Originally Posted by gogogome View Post
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    Default Re: Another Totemist Handbook (WIP, input welcome!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    It actually doesn't matter how you define "attack" in a general sense. What matters here is that it meets the criteria on RC 42: "multiple attacks as part of an action other than a full-round action." The Manticore Belt, like an actual manticore, uses a standard action (not a full-round) to shoot its volley.
    What I'm trying to say is that using the Manticore Belt isn't multiple attacks. I think shooting the spines is a single "attack".

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    Default Re: Another Totemist Handbook (WIP, input welcome!)

    Just a small nitpick. Not sure if anyone else mention it already but the feral template abilities (like pounce) counts monster hit dies only so you wont be getting them while leveling.

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Another Totemist Handbook (WIP, input welcome!)

    For this section:

    Ways to overcome 1 soulmeld or item/chakra.
    You've got the two biggies of "Double Chakra" and "Split Chakra".

    There is also the possibility of the Incarnum Focus items. By RAW, the Incarnum Focus can share a lot with a bound soulmeld, and by the standard rules in MiC, one can add additional magical enhancements to the Incarnum Focus.

    They are pricey so it's almost irrelevant before the mid-to-high levels (base cost of 15k each), and I don't know of a decisive argument for them working with the Totem Chakra (since Totem doesn't have a body slot). Although personally, I'd have no problem with a character giving up a ring/amulet slot for an Incarnum Focus to boost the Totem Chakra.

    Edit 1: Sorry Psyren, I just noticed that you already pointed this out!

    Edit 2: Some additional races:
    ECL +1:
    Spoiler
    Show

    • Bladeling (MM2) - Adds natural weapons, DR, natural armor, and a AoE damage ability.
    • Chaond (MM2) - Racial stat bonuses could be useful choice for a ranged totemist.
    • Eneko (SoS)/Half-Giant (SRD)/Goliath (RoS) - Very similar, all grant Powerful Build and bonuses to Str/Con. While powerful build doesn't actually increase natural weapon size, the bonuses to grapple/disarm/trip/bullrush could be useful for a totemist.
    • Poisondusk Lizardfolk - Add a bunch of natural attacks as well as dex and con.


  29. - Top - End - #29
    Titan in the Playground
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    The Land of Cleves
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Another Totemist Handbook (WIP, input welcome!)

    Quoth 123456789blaaa:

    What I'm trying to say is that using the Manticore Belt isn't multiple attacks. I think shooting the spines is a single "attack".
    Isn't it the same effect either way? If it's multiple attacks, it's a volley, so you only get your Sneak Attack damage applied once. If it's a single attack, you also get your Sneak Attack damage applied once.
    Time travels in divers paces with divers persons.
    As You Like It, III:ii:328

    Chronos's Unalliterative Skillmonkey Guide
    Current Homebrew: 5th edition psionics

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2011

    Default Re: Another Totemist Handbook (WIP, input welcome!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
    Isn't it the same effect either way? If it's multiple attacks, it's a volley, so you only get your Sneak Attack damage applied once. If it's a single attack, you also get your Sneak Attack damage applied once.
    Why? Since all of the spines only count as one attack, wouldn't the Sneak Attack damage be applied to all of them?

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