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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Jan 2007

    Default A Player's Handbook for Soulborns

    A Player's Handbook for Soulborns

    Part I: Why the h*** play a Soulborn?

    There's only one reason to play a Soulborn really. You look through Magic of Incarnum and want to try it (the Incarnum system) out, but in a minor way. If you're at all inclined towards Character Optimization, look elsewhere. There are plenty of Handbooks/Guides out there that will go into excrutiating detail as to why the Soulborn sucks. I link to a few of them below.

    If you just want to play a character that hits things and has some fun options to play around with, I think the Soulborn does just fine in that respect.

    Soulborns are closest to Paladins if you want to map things to a base class from the PHB. Paladins are another class considered sub-par from an optimization standpoint that I still enjoy nonetheless.

    Most things I'm going to talk about are straight from Magic of Incarnum. A little bit comes from Dragon Magic and the Web. Magic Item Compendium also puts in an appearance.

    I just put this together because it's a bunch of stuff I worked out while putting together a Soulborn and other Handbooks concentrate more on fixing the optimization flaws rather than focusing on how to put a Soulborn together and have some fun.

    My colour-coding:
    Blue: I really like it/I think itís a superior choice/I think itís a highlight of the Soulborn.
    Black: Itís ok.
    Orange: Doesnít really apply to a Soulborn.
    Red: I donít like it/I think itís a poor choice/Itís a weak spot of the Soulborn
    Last edited by ottdmk; 2017-05-23 at 03:54 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: A Player's Handbook for Soulborns

    Part II: Getting started

    Soulborn have:
    • Full BAB.
    • Strong Fortitude saves.
    • Good Hit Dice (d10).
    • Proficiency with all Martial Weapons.
    • Proficiency with all Armor.
    • Proficiency with all Shields except Tower Shields.
    • Poor Meldshaper Level (1/2 Soulborn Level, see below).
    • Poor Skill Points (2+INT Bonus).
    • Poor Will & Reflex Saves.


    Alignment: Soulborn are never Neutral in any way. To play this class you have to choose Chaotic Evil, Chaotic Good, Lawful Evil or Lawful Good.

    Attributes:
    • Constitution: Con is important for a number of reasons. First, the Soulborn is biased towards a front-line fighting style. The more hitpoints you have, the better, because you're going to be in a position to get hit. Secondly, Meldshapers like the Soulborn can only shape (Con score) - 10 Soulmelds. Which means that you're going to want a Con of at least 15 by L20. (And let's face it, if you need at least 15 you're gonna get at least 16 to get that hp/level.) Finally, a few of the Soulborn's Soulmelds actually affect other people/things and have Saving Throws. Any Soulborn Meld has a saving throw of 10 + (Essentia invested) + (Con Modifier).
    • Strength: Remember what I said about being biased towards front-line fighting? Apply that here too.
    • Charisma: Charisma helps a Soulborn's Smite Opposition ability (see below) and all alignment-based Soulborn skills are Charisma based.
    • Intelligence: If you want a few extra skill points, bumping this to 12 or 14 is a good call. Also, Soulborn do well with the Combat Expertise feat tree, so you might want to go that route.
    • Dexterity: Soulborn Reflex Saves are poor. Even Full Plate lets you get +1 AC from Dex. Also, you can adopt a ranged style for Soulborns, if you really want to.
    • Wisdom: About the only thing Wisdom does for a Soulborn is help with Will Saves. Which are important, don't get me wrong, especially since Soulborns don't get the good progression for Will Saves. However, something has to be lowest priority, and this (or possibly Dex) is it.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: A Player's Handbook for Soulborns

    Part III: An Essentia(l) Primer

    Essentia is one of the major concepts introduced in Magic of Incarnum. Simply put, Essentia is used to make anything that deals with Incarnum better. Soulmelds, Incarnum Feats, certain Special Abilities and a small number of Magic Items... all can be improved using Essentia.

    Essentia is modeled as a pool of points that can be moved around between the various things it improves every round, using a swift action. (The exception to this are Incarnum Feats; they can only have Essentia assigned to them once a day and they lock the Essentia in place for 24 hours.) The amount of Essentia that can be assigned to any one thing is called the Essentia Capacity, and it's dictated by character level (although it can be modified by certain Feats or class features.) Essentia capacity is pretty low; barring the aforementioned Feats or class features it tops out at 4 at L18.

    Soulborns get the smallest Essentia pool of all three Meldshaper classes, and they only start building a pool late in the game (Level 6 to be precise.) Still, with a little help from the Bonus Essentia feat, Soulborns generally have enough Essentia for their needs. Enough so that you won't really need to worry about moving Essentia around until L12. (I'll go into detail on this below.)

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: A Player's Handbook for Soulborns

    Part IV: Races

    Azurin: Azurins are designed to be Soulborns. It's the favoured class of the Race, they get an extra Feat at 1st level and they're one of two Races with a natural Essentia pool of 1.

    Duskling: Pluses: +2 Con, natural Essentia pool of 1, Essentia-fueled land speed increase, Low-light vision, immune to spells that target humanoids. Minuses: -2 to Intelligence.

    Dwarf: Dwarves, with their +2 Con and other racial benefits, make quite good Soulborns. They also benefit from Racial Substitution Levels that do nothing but improve on the basic Soulborn. Plus, the Ironsoul Forgemaster is a pretty great Prestige Class and only Dwarves can take it.

    Elf: Elves are a tough choice for a Meldshaper as their -2 Con hurts in a number of ways. However, if you're interested in playing a ranged Soulborn, they are probably the best way to go thanks to their Racial Substitution Levels.

    Human: While humans aren't as good a choice as their Azurin brethern imho, they're still a solid choice.

    Other people have evaluated many other races for use with the Soulborn class. I'll refer you to the links section at the end.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: A Player's Handbook for Soulborns

    Part V: Class Features

    Aura: Just like with Clerics & Paladins you glow for Detect [Alignment] spells & abilities that match your Alignment. Can be a blow to your anonymity, and/or a source of amusement if the person doing the checking is low enough level to get stunned by it.

    Smite Opposition: Just like a Paladin's Smite Evil, except that you get to Smite along the Law/Chaos axis as well as Good/Evil. (The Paladin turns a bit green from this.) Once per day at L1, twice at L5 and goes up by one for every 5 levels after that.

    Incarnum Defence: At L2 you gain an Immunity based on your Alignment. Lawful Good gets Fear, Chaotic Good gets Paralyzation, Chaotic Evil gets Strength damage of any kind and Lawful Evil gets Exhaustion. LE types can still be Fatigued though, and are understandably bitter about this.

    At L9 you can share your ID with a friend who doesn't oppose any part of your Alignment. Requires a touch, a standard action and can be done once a day. Every 4 levels past L9 gives you one additional time per day.

    Not a terribly exciting ability, but can come in handy.

    Bonus Incarnum Feats: At L3, L7 & L11 you get to choose a bonus Feat from the list of Incarnum Feats, as long as you meet the pre-requisites. This is important. For one thing, the Incarnum Feats do some interesting things. They also (and this may be even more important) grant a point of Essentia for every one you take.

    Timeless Body: Granted at L19. I think the developers threw this in for the Azurins. Azurins burn out quite quickly compared to most other races. Nice if you're playing a really long-running campaign, but basically pretty meh.

    Meldshaping has its own section below.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: A Player's Handbook for Soulborns

    Part VI - Feats

    I'm not even going to pretend to recommend good feats from other Sourcebooks for a Soulborn. This is just to discuss the feats available in Magic of Incarnum if a Soulborn can use them.

    General Feats:

    Spoiler
    Show

    Bonus Essentia: In my opinion, every Soulborn should take this at sixth level (the earliest it's available.) It makes life as a Soulborn much easier. Which I suppose makes it a Feat Tax, but there you have it.

    Double Chakra: Potentially useful (Soulborns have a number of really nice Arm Chakra melds, for example) but a Soulborn can't take this until 18th level.

    Heart of Incarnum: For Epic Level Soulborns only, and requires the Open Heart Chakra Epic Feat as a pre-req.

    Expanded Soulmeld Capacity: This is a good one for tweaking your Meldshaping. Each time you take it, one of your Soulmeld's Essentia Capacity goes up by one (and as this is Meldshaping, the lucky Soulmeld can change every day.) Makes managing your Essentia a little more complicated, but can be worth it. The tricky part is the built in limitation: it can only raise the Essentia Capacity as high as you Con bonus. If you only have a Con of 16 this feat becomes worthless at L12.

    Increased Essentia Capacity: Very similar to the above Feat, but increases the Essentia Capacity of all your Incarnum Feats by 1 instead. If you really like one or more of your Incarnum Feats, this may appeal to you. Keep in mind the innate limitation described above and the fact that Incarnum Feats lock up Essentia for 24 hours once it's invested.

    Incarnum Fortified Body: Gain 2HP per Incarnum Feat taken. If all you take are the three bonus Incarnum Feats it will be twice as good as Toughness by L11.

    Incarnum Resistance: Soulborns can't take this.

    Necrocarnum Acolyte: Due to alignment restrictions, there's no such thing as a Soulborn of non-good alignment unless they're of evil alignment. So the only benefit that this Feat grants is a +1 to the Save DC of Necrocarnum Soulmelds. Which when compared to what it can give an Incarnate (of Law or Chaos) seems kinda lame to me. Of course, if you end up wanting to play a Necrocarnate, you need this feat to qualify.

    Open Least Chakra:
    Open Lesser Chakra:
    Open Greater Chakra:

    After reading & re-reading Magic of Incarnum a number of times I've come to agree with the CustServ interpretation of these Feats and I believe they're useless for any of the base Incarnum classes, Soulborn included. They don't give an extra Bind "slot", their entire purpose is to open up Chakras in multi-class builds where they're lacking.

    Shape Soulmeld: This is the ultimate tweak feat for a Soulborn. Envious of the Incarnate's Incarnate Weapon Soulmeld? Take it with this feat. Want the Totemist's Blink Shirt? Take it with this feat. Just remember that the feat gives you one Soulmeld and that the choice is fixed after you take it.

    Share Soulmeld: A Soulborn is highly unlikely to qualify for this Feat, so ignore it.

    Split Chakra: One of the annoying things about Incarnum is that you can't bind a Soulmeld to a Chakra and use a magic item at the same location. This feat changes that. Split Chakra allows you to have a magic item with a bound Soulmeld in that location, or a bound magic item with a shaped Soulmeld in the same location, or even a bound Soulmeld on top of a bound magic item. Sadly specific to a particular Chakra, but let's face it, if it allowed Meldshapers the kind of freedom afforded by applying to all Chakras it would be broken.


    Divine Feats:

    Divine Soultouch: Trade Turning for Essentia. Nice Feat if you have Turn Undead for some reason, and room to invest the Essentia somewhere.

    Incarnum Feats:

    These feats are important for Soulborns: Unless you're playing with Racial Substitution Levels you're going to have at least three of these by L11.

    The thing to remember here is that a number of these Feats are designed so that classes that aren't Meldshapers can dabble in Incarnum.

    Don't forget that every Incarnum Feat increases your Essentia Pool by one.

    Spoiler
    Show

    Azure Enmity: Unless you cross-class with Ranger (or your DM is allowing Gestalt) this just isn't going to apply.

    Azure Talent: Much more likely for an Incarnate with a second Psionic class going for Soul Manifester.

    Azure Touch: Seeing a theme with the Azure Feats? This one is for your Monks & Paladins.

    Azure Turning: For clerics.

    Azure Wild Shape: For druids.

    Azure Toughness: The one that breaks the theme, this one is alright, imho. Can substitute for Toughness as a prerequisite for other feats. The temporary HP goes up with the amount of Essentia invested, which of course goes up with Character Level. Even at L18 being able to gain 12 temporary HP with a swift action can be useful.

    Cerulean Fortitude:
    Cerulean Reflexes:
    Cerulean Will:

    Saving Throw enhancers, +1 Insight bonus per point of Essentia. The nice thing is that they'll stack with the Cloak of Resistance you're inevitably going to pick up. Avoid the Fortitude one; Soulborns have Fortitude as their primary save and always have a good Constitution to back them up.

    Cobalt Charge: If you like charging, this Feat is for you. Just remember it's difficult to charge all the time.

    Cobalt Critical: This one is ok if you're building your style around Critical Hits. If you're not, well, Critical Hits don't happen all that often in that case.

    Cobalt Expertise: If you meet the prerequisite, this is a very nice little feat, and it gets better if you go deeper into the Combat Expertise tree.

    Cobalt Power: A nice little boost to Power Attack and others in its tree.

    Cobalt Precision: This only applies to Ranged Attack Critical Hits, and Ranged Attack Critical Hits are pretty rare. Still, if you're building a ranged Soulborn this is pretty much the only Incarnum Feat that helps with ranged attacks.

    Cobalt Rage: I'm really not sure why they didn't make this Azure Rage, and make Azure Toughness Cobalt Toughness. It would work much better thematically. Anyways, this is an Incarnum Feat for Barbarians.

    Healing Soul: I made this Blue just because I like it a lot. It's quite limited, but healing yourself as a swift action can be a life-saver. Better at higher levels than lower; I recommend it as the L11 Bonus Incarnum Feat for Soulborns so that at L12 you can heal 6 HP three times a day.

    Incarnum Spellshaping: This is for your Incarnate/Spellcaster builds, not Soulborns.

    Indigo Strike: Incarnum for Ninjas/Rogues/Scouts.

    Midnight Augmentation: See Azure Talent.

    Midnight Dodge: If you're interested in the Dodge Feat Tree, you might like this one, as it can substitute for Dodge. It scales like other Incarnum Feats, so it's a bit better than vanilla Dodge.

    Midnight Metamagic: More for your Incarnate/[Wizard/Cleric] builds.

    Psycarnum Blade: Incarnum for Mindblades, anyone?

    Saphire Fist: More Incarnum for Monks.

    Saphire Smite: Smite Opposition is one of the more fun things to do as a Soulborn. With this feat, you gain additional uses of the ability and a bonus to damage, both = to the Essentia invested. I highly recommend this one for L3 Bonus Incarnum Feat at the latest.

    Sapphire Sprint: As this applies to Run speed only, I can't build up much enthusiasm. Still, at least it applies to all Run speeds (Land, Swimming, Climbing, Flight...). Also improves a bit at L8 when a Soulborn gets Bind Least Chakra.

    Soulsight: Gives a limited form of Blindsense that needs to be activated with a Move Action. Better than nothing if you don't have See Invisibility available, but Blind Fighting seems like the better use of a Feat.

    Soultouched Spellcasting: Gives a bonus to Dispel Checks or Caster Level Checks to overcome Spell Resistance. This one can come in handy if you like Soulmelds that need to overcome Spell Resistance like Thunderstep Boots or Armguards of Disruption.


    Monstrous Feats:
    Undead Meldshaper: Lets an Undead get around the whole "No Con Score" thing and shape Soulmelds.

    Psionic Feats:
    Psycarnum Crystal:
    Psycarnum Infusion:

    Incarnum for psychics.
    Last edited by ottdmk; 2017-09-20 at 03:13 PM.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: A Player's Handbook for Soulborns

    Part VII: Meldshaping and Essentia by the level

    For the purposes of this section, I'm going to go with an Azurin Soulborn.

    First off, about a Soulborn's Meldshaper Level: it's 1/2 Soulborn level starting from L4. Not great. Fortunately, for most Melds, it's irrelevant. The only area it consistently hurts is that it makes it easier for spellcasters to dispel your Melds.

    Levels 1-3

    These levels are simple. You can't shape any Soulmelds yet. You don't actually have any place to put your 1 pt of Azurin Essentia, because Incarnum Feats add to your pool and your Essentia Capacity is only 1.

    If you want to, you can change that. The obvious one is to take Shape Soulmeld as one of your three General Feats (2 at L1, 1 at L3). Alternatively when you take any Incarnum Feat your Essentia Pool grows to 2, qualifying you for Increased Essentia Capacity.

    Really though, it's safe enough to just not bother. And for this example, I'm not bothering.

    Levels 4-5

    You gain your first Soulmeld! Your Essentia Capacity is still 1, so you can power up your Soulmeld and any Incarnum Feats without thinking about it. (Your Essentia Pool at this point is 1 + # of Incarnum Feats.)

    The big question is: What Soulmeld do you shape? It really boils down to "What do I want a little help with today?"

    I'll talk about Chakra Binds at L8.

    Spoiler: Crown Chakra:
    Show

    Crystal Helm: This is one of my favourites. Bonus to Charm & Compulsion Saves & an AC bonus per point of Essentia.

    Diadem of Pure Light: It gives you light, and the more Essentia you put into it the further the light goes. You don't want this Soulmeld at these levels unless your entire party gets trapped in the dark somehow, and probably not even then

    Enigma Helm: Having Nondetection can be useful, plus a non-Resistance Will save bonus is nice. The only reason I don't mark this as Blue is that it's one of the few Melds where a higher Meldshaper level would help.

    Hunter's Circlet: A recurring theme with the Soulborn"s Melds is: Situationally Useful. This is one of those, for Heal and Survival. If you need access to those Skills, shaping this Soulmeld may be worth it.

    Necrocarnum Circlet: Blindsight vs undead and Essentia-fuelled turn resistance. Evil only.

    Soulspark Familiar: This one just doesn't work for me, especially at these levels when you only shape one Meld. YMMV.

    Soulspeaker Circlet: Situationally Useful. At this level, you can only use this Meld to understand a language or two. Probably not one youíll choose to shape often.


    Spoiler: Feet Chakra:
    Show

    Cerulean Sandals: Walk on water and boost your land speed with Essentia.

    Impulse Boots: Gain Uncanny Dodge and boost your Reflex Saves (Enhancement bonus).

    Thunderstep Boots: Add Sonic Damage to the target of your Charge. Scales with Essentia. Good synergy with Cobalt Charge. Just remember that your Meldshaper level isnít great at getting through Spell Resistance.


    Spoiler: Hands Chakra:
    Show

    Astral Vambraces: (Psionics of Incarnum web supplement.) Damage reduction X/Magic that scales with Essentia investment. Particularly useful at lower levels.

    Claws of the Wyrm: (Dragon Magic) Dragonborn only. Give yourself claws with an Enhancement bonus scaled with Essentia.

    Gloves of the Poison Soul: 1/round melee touch attack to do poisonous Wisdom damage (Fort negates.) Evil only.

    Lucky Dice: Luck bonus to attack & damage, saving throws, or skills. Duration scales with Essentia, and thereís a fun luck dynamic involved.

    Mauling Gauntlets: Bonus to strength checks that scales with Essentia. Doesnít count towards Strength-based Skill Checks (ie Climb, Jump, etc.) If you like tripping, bull-rushing or overrunning, this Meld is your new best friend.

    Necrocarnum Weapon: Evil only. Makes a melee weapon evil-aligned for DR purposes. Essentia adds damage bonuses and critical hit confirmation bonuses.

    Sighting Gloves: Grants a damage bonus to ranged weapon attacks that scales with Essentia.


    Spoiler: Arms Chakra:
    Show

    Armguards of Disruption: Good only. Situationally Useful. If you know youíre going up against a bunch of undead, a 1/round Melee Touch Attack with damage that scales with Essentia can be nice. Just remember the Spell Resistance problems.

    Astral Vambraces: (Psionics of Incarnum web supplement.) Astral Vambraces can also be shaped on the Arms Chakra. See the Hands Chakra.

    Bluesteel Bracers: Initiative bonus plus melee damage bonus that scales with Essentia. Hard to go wrong with this one.

    Claws of the Wyrm: (Dragon Magic) Dragonborn only. Claws of the Wyrm can also be shaped on the Arms Chakra. See the Hands Chakra.

    Mauling Gauntlets: Mauling Gauntlets can also be shaped on the Arms Chakra. See the Hands Chakra.

    Necrocarnum Touch: Evil only. Bonus to Sleight of Hand checks & Bluff (in combat) checks. Invested Essentia grants a melee touch attack against living creatures.

    Riding Bracers: Situationally Useful. If you need Ride and/or Handle Animal, this one will do it.

    Sailorís Bracers:I made this one blue because I love that someone thought this up, but itís extremely Situationally Useful. Do you need to be a sailor? This Soulmeld will make you a sailor. Hee!


    Spoiler: Brow Chakra:
    Show

    Charming Veil: (Psionics of Incarnum web supplement.) You need psionic charm/compulsion powers to benefit from this one.

    Fearsome Mask: A favourite of chaotic evil Soulborns, it gives a bonus to Intimidate that scales with Essentia investment.

    Illusion Mask: Improves the save DCís of you Illusion Magic and Essentia increases the duration. In other words, doesnít do anything for a single-class Meldshaper.

    Silvertongue Mask: Situationally Useful. Bonuses to Bluff and Diplomacy that scale with Essentia.

    Soulspark Familiar: An alternate shaping location for a Soulspark Familiar.

    Truthseeker Goggles: Situationally Useful. Bonuses to Gather Information, Search and Sense Motive checks that scale with Essentia investment.


    Spoiler: Shoulders Chakra:
    Show

    Dragon Mantle: (Dragon Magic) Dragonborn only. Pick up a bunch of energy resistances that scale with Essentia. As a bonus, they stack with any other energy resistance sources.

    Pauldrons of Health: Immunity to disease can be handy under the right circumstances. Fortitude save bonuses tied to Essentia are a little less so, as Fort Saves are already a strength.

    Therapeutic Mantle: Situationally Useful. A good Meld for when youíre taking a day to heal up. Stretches your Wand of Cure Light Wounds a fair bit and has synergy with the Healing Soul Incarnum Feat.

    Wind Cloak: Damage reduction against ranged attacks that scales with Essentia. As a bonus, tiny & smaller flying creatures must make a Fortitude save to enter the Soulbornís space. Possible protection from flying Swarms!


    Spoiler: Throat Chakra:
    Show

    Arcane Focus: Only useful for multiclassed spellcasters.

    Psychic Focus: (Psionics of Incarnum web supplement.) You need psionic powers that deal damage to benefit from this one.

    Necrocarnum Mantle: Evil only. Similar to the Pauldrons of Health, except that the saving throw bonuses are against Mind-Affecting effects.

    Silvertongue Mask:
    Soulspark Familiar:
    Soulspeaker Circlet:

    All of these can also be shaped on the Throat Chakra. See the Crown & Brow Chakras.


    Spoiler: Waist Chakra:
    Show

    Flame Cincture: Resistance to Fire that scales with Essentia invested.

    Necrocarnum Shroud: Evil only. Gain a profane bonus to attack and damage rolls when a nearby living creature is hurt or killed. Essentia increases the area of effect.

    Necrocarnum Vestments: Evil only. Gain Resistance to Cold and bonus HP that scales with Essentia invested.

    Strongheart Vest: Ability score damage reduction that scales with Essentia.


    Spoiler: Heart Chakra:
    Show

    Dragon Mantle: (Dragon Magic) Dragonborn only. A Dragon Mantle can also be shaped on the Heart Chakra. See Shoulders Chakra.

    Spellward Shirt: Gain Spell Resistance that scales with Essentia investment.

    Necrocarnum Vestments:
    Strongheart Vest:

    These Melds can also be shaped on the Heart Chakra. See the Waist Chakra.


    Spoiler: Soul Chakra:
    Show

    Necrocarnum Shroud: Can also be shaped on the Soul Chakra.


    Just a reminder: Although Soulborn only unlock the Heart & Soul Chakras using Epic Level Feats, nothing prevents them from shaping unbound Soulmelds on either of those two Chakras.

    Levels 6-7

    Your Essentia Pool grows by 1 and your Essentia Capacity also grows by 1. I highly recommend grabbing the Bonus Essentia Feat at L6. An Azurin Soulborn at L6 with Bonus Essentia has an Essentia Pool of 4 + (# of Incarnum Feats). Thatís enough to have your single Soulmeld at full capacity plus two Incarnum Feats at full capacity.

    Levels 8-9

    The Azurin Spellborn in this example now has an Essentia Pool of 5 + (# of Incarnum Feats). He can shape 2 Melds a day. He can invest both Soulmelds to full capacity and have a spare point of Essentia leftover to put one of his Incarnum Feats up to full.

    At L8 a Soulborn gets a single Chakra Bind for use with one of their two shaped Soulmelds.

    Spoiler: Crown Chakra:
    Show

    Crystal Helm: If you know youíre going up against incorporeal monsters, this Bind is fantastic. All your melee attacks gain the Force descriptor.

    Diadem of Pure Light: I still donít like this Soulmeld much, but if itís bound it eliminates all Concealment other than Total Concealment wherever the light shines. Situationally Useful.

    Enigma Helm: Gain immunity to Enchantment(Charm) effects.

    Hunter's Circlet: Situationally Useful. Gain the benefits of the Track Feat to go with the Survival boost.

    Necrocarnum Circlet: Create a Necrocarnum Zombie to serve you. Evil Soulborn love this one.

    Soulspark Familiar: Still doesn't work for me, but binding the Meld creates a stronger Soulspark (in this case a Lesser Soulspark).

    Soulspeaker Circlet: Situationally Useful. Speak any languages the Soulmeld lets you understand.


    Spoiler: Feet Chakra:
    Show

    Cerulean Sandals: Dimension Door up to 10íxMeldshaper Level per day. If you use all the capacity, the Meld unshapes. Hurt by the Soulbornís low Meldshaper level.

    Impulse Boots: Gain Evasion to go with your Uncanny Dodge and improved Reflex Saves.

    Thunderstep Boots: Targets damaged by the Boots have to roll a Fortitude Save or be stunned for 1 round.


    Spoiler: Hands Chakra:
    Show

    Astral Vambraces: (Psionics of Incarnum web supplement.) Gain a dual slam attack.

    Claws of the Wyrm: (Dragon Magic) Dragonborn only. The damage done by your claws improves by a step.

    Gloves of the Poison Soul: The poison attack does an equal amount of Strength damage. One Fortitude Saving Throw negates both damages.

    Lucky Dice: Share the luck bonus with allies within 30í.

    Mauling Gauntlets: You gain the benefits of the Improved Unarmed Combat feat plus a morale bonus to Unarmed damage rolls equal to the bonus on Strength Checks.

    Necrocarnum Weapon: If you successfully make a critical hit against a living creature with this Meld you gain temporary Essentia equal to the amount of Essentia invested. At <L12 you may not have anyplace to put your temporary Essentia.

    Sighting Gloves: Gives the benefit of the Precise Shot Feat.


    Levels 10-11

    Definitely a quiet couple of levels. One more point of Essentia (2 if you count the one you get from the Incarnum Bonus Feat at L11.) Still no need for much movement on the Essentia front.

    Levels 12-13

    This level is where things start to get interesting. At L12, going with only Incarnum Bonus Feats, an Azurin Soulborn has three Soulmelds and three Incarnum Feats all with an Essentia Capacity of 3. So our sample guy has a total Essentia Pool of 10 points and enough room to invest 18 points.

    The best strategy, imho, is careful management of the Incarnum Feats. Remember, you can only invest Essentia in an Incarnum Feat once per day, and then the Essentia is locked in place for 24 hours.

    The nice thing is that you donít have to invest any Essentia in the Incarnum Feats at all to start your day, because you can invest at any time of day and it just takes a swift action, same as investing Essentia anywhere else. That leaves the Essentia free to power your Soulmelds.

    So say you decide to not put any Essentia into your Sapphire Smite feat. Sure, you lose the damage bonus on your Smite Opposition attacks. However, you still have three Smites per day from Class Levels, and you can gain up to three more as a swift action by investing the Feat when/if you need to.

    Same thing with Healing Soul or Azure Toughness. Only invest the Essentia when you need the HP.

    Keep in mind that you only need nine points to fully power your three Soulmelds. That leaves one point left over that you can use to constantly power a Feat, albeit in a minor way.

    Then there are the Melds themselves. Depending on what you have Shaped, you might not need all of them invested to the max at all times.

    Say youíre ready for a fight and have Mauling Gauntlets, Bluesteel Bracers and a Crystal Helm shaped, with the Helm bound to your Crown Chakra in case you find the ghost your party has been looking for. Well, you donít really need the Bracers and the Gauntlets powered up at the same time; they do different things. Keep the Gauntlets powered until you finish the Strength Check for your Trip attack (or Bull Rush, or Overrun) and then use your swift action to move the Essentia over to the Bracers before doing a standard attack roll. In the meantime, you keep the Crown fully powered up to enjoy that +3 Deflection bonus to AC.

    Thereís a lot of different ways to approach Essentia management, but hopefully these give you a few ideas.

    Levels 14-15

    An extra point of Essentia at L14 which, as the previous section shows, is always a good thing. The main thing about L14 though is that three new Chakra Bind locations open up, and the Soulborn can do two binds at once.

    Spoiler: Arms Chakra:
    Show

    Astral Vambraces: (Psionics of Incarnum web supplement.) This is an odd one. Find the Astral Construct rules in the Expanded Psionic Handbook. Choose one of the special abilities from Menu A when binding the Meld to the Arms. Thereís quite a variety of effects to choose from, Flight amongst them.

    Armguards of Disruption: Gain an insight bonus to AC and saving throws equal to the invested Essentia, but only against Undead.

    Bluesteel Bracers: Share the initiative bonus with allies within thirty feet.

    Claws of the Wyrm: (Dragon Magic) Dragonborn only. The threat range of your claws doubles. As always, it doesnít stack with any other effect that improves threat range.

    Mauling Gauntlets: When bound to the arms, Mauling Gauntlets double the threat range of any melee weapon you use. Doesnít stack with anything.

    Necrocarnum Touch: The Chakra Bind turns your Melee Touch Attack into a Ranged Touch Attack.

    Riding Bracers: The bind adds damage and AC bonuses while your Soulborn is in mounted combat.

    Sailorís Bracers: The bind increases your swim speed and removes penalties for attacking underwater.


    Spoiler: Brow Chakra:
    Show

    Charming Veil: (Psionics of Incarnum web supplement.) Gain the Read Thoughts power, bonuses to Sense Motive and saving throws vs Charm/Compusion.

    Fearsome Mask: Gain a gaze attack that renders opponents shaken.

    Illusion Mask: Gain See Invisibilty.

    Silvertongue Mask: Situationally Useful. In addition to the Bluff & Diplomacy bonuses get an equal bonus to Sense Motive.

    Soulspark Familiar: Create a normal soulspark.

    Truthseeker Goggles: Gain Darkvision.


    Spoiler: Shoulders Chakra:
    Show

    Dragon Mantle: (Dragon Magic) Dragonborn only. Gain Damage Reduction X/Magic that scales with Essentia. As long as any Essentia is invested your natural attacks are treated as magical for Damage Reduction bypass.

    Pauldrons of Health: Provides Immunity to Energy Drain.

    Therapeutic Mantle: Gain a bonus to Caster Level when casting healing spells.

    Wind Cloak: Gain Deflect Arrows as performed by the Cloak, not the wearer.


    Levels 16-17

    Soulborn now can shape four Soulmelds per day and our example Azurin will have an Essentia Pool of 13 by L17. Enough to fully power all four Melds with one point left over. Otherwise refer to the L12-13 section.

    Levels 18-19

    Essentia Capacity tops out at 4 (and stays that way until L30). Our example L19 Azurin has an Essentia Pool of 15 and would need 28 points to power everything to full.

    The final two Chakra Bind locations open up, and the Soulborn gains his third and final (barring Epic Feats) Chakra Bind.

    Spoiler: Throat Chakra:
    Show

    Arcane Focus: Still only useful for multiclassed spellcasters.

    Necrocarnum Mantle: Gain Immunity to Poison.

    Psychic Focus: (Psionics of Incarnum web supplement.) You need psionic powers that deal damage to benefit from this one.

    Silvertongue Mask: Make a Suggestion to any creature. Each creature can be targeted only once a day.

    Soulspark Familiar: Create a greater soulspark.

    Soulspeaker Circlet: Communicate telepathically with any creature that possesses a language.


    Spoiler: Waist Chakra:
    Show

    Flame Cincture: Release absorbed fire damage as a burst of flame. (Reflex half.)

    Necrocarnum Shroud: Any creature within the area of effect is shaken. (Will negates.)

    Necrocarnum Vestments: Any living creature next to you at the end of your turn takes cold damage. (Fortitude negates.)

    Strongheart Vest: Ability score drain reduction that scales with Essentia. (In addition to the ability damage reduction.)


    Level 20

    Congratulations on making it this far! Total Essentia Pool of 16 plus the ability to shape five Soulmelds. (Meaning youíd need 32 points of Essentia to power everything to full, but hey, thatís life as a Soulborn! )
    Last edited by ottdmk; 2018-01-08 at 05:23 PM.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: A Player's Handbook for Soulborns

    Part VIII: Racial Subsititution Levels

    Spoiler: Dwarves
    Show


    Only Lawful Good Dwarven Soulborns can take these Racial Substituion Levels.

    All Dwarf Soulburn RSLs have a d12 Hit Die, which is an improvement. Dwarf RSLs gain Knowledge (Dungeoneering) as a class skill.

    Level 1: Dwarves who take this level gain a +1 to attack rolls when they Smite Opposition using a warhammer.

    Level 3: Dwarves who take this level give up the L3 Bonus Incarnum Feat and gain an insight bonus to various thing that scales with the number of Soulmelds they have shaped.

    Level 9: Dwarves who take this level can share their Incarnum Defense with a fellow Dwarf using a free action at a range of up to 30í. (For allies of other races the normal rules apply.)


    Spoiler: Elves
    Show

    Only Chaotic Good Elven Soulborns can take these Racial Substitution Levels.

    All Elf RSLs gain Search and Spot as class skills.

    Level 1: Elves gain the ability to Smite Opposition with a bow to a range of 30í, in addition to the normal melee attacks. This alone makes Elves the best ranged Soulborns imho.

    Level 2: Elves gain immunity to Enchantment(Charm) effects on top of the normal Immunity to Paralysis.

    Level 7: By giving up their L7 Bonus Incarnum Feat Elves taking this level get various special abilities related to vision.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: A Player's Handbook for Soulborns

    Part IX: Prestige Classes

    Meldshapers in general tend to be poor multiclassers. Soulborns take it even further. As their meldshaping progress is slow compared to the others, taking a few levels off to pursue other classes really hurts.

    Similarly, there are very few prestige classes that work with Soulborns. In my opinion there are two, Ironsoul Forgemasters and Spinemeld Warriors, and the Warriors are iffy.

    Iím going to discuss those two prestige classes a bit, plus a couple of others that may seem like theyíd work but in my opinion they donít.

    Incandescent Champion: The Champion is a different way of approaching a fighter that uses Incarnum. Instead of shaping and using a limited number of Soulmelds, an Incandescent Champion gets a number of special abilities that are fueled by Essentia.

    The problem is that thereís no synergy with a Soulborn. You donít get any more Soulmelds, you donít get any more Chakra Binds. The Essentia points are nice (an Incandescent Championís Essentia Pool is better than a Soulbornís) but thatís about it.

    Were I to play an Epic Level Campaign with a Soulborn Iíd consider taking Incandescent Champion after L20. The special abilities arenít bad and the eight points of Essentia would be very welcome. I canít imagine taking it under other circumstances though.

    Incarnum Blade: Another take on the fighter with Incarnum concept. This one gets a single Soulmeld (the ďBlademeldĒ) and progresses by adding Chakra Binds for it.

    Again, no synergy. Incarnum Blades donít use Essentia, and Chakra Binds for one class donít work for other classes.

    Ironsoul Forgemaster: If you decide you want to play a Dwarven Soulborn, this is not a bad way to go. You lose one Meldshaping level from your Soulborn class, and the Chakra Binds are different (but apply to your Soulborn Melds.) You get the Heart Chakra towards the end, which can be nice. The three Base Attack Bonus points lost donít hurt too much.

    The only problem I have with this class is that itís tied into the 3.5 Craft system, which can be a royal pain. But if you donít mind Craft this can be a fun way to go.

    Spinemeld Warrior: This prestige class is all about the Skarn worldview. Itís not a great fit with Soulborn, but it could be worse. You end up with almost the same amount of Essentia as a straight Skarn Soulborn by L20 (minus one Bonus Incarnum Feat), but one fewer Soulmeld and one less Chakra Bind. Your Binds are limited to the Least Chakras and the Arms as well. Simply, if you were wanting to play a Spinemeld Warrior, going in as a Soulborn would give you slightly better Meldshaping then entering it as another class, and thatís it. The focus is definitely ďIím playing a Spinemeld WarriorĒ as opposed to ďIím playing a Soulborn.Ē I keep dithering between ďitís okĒ and ďI donít like it.Ē

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: A Player's Handbook for Soulborns

    Part X: Magic Items

    Magic of Incarnum introduced a number of magic items that work with Meldshapers. The Magic Item Compendium introduced a few more. If youíre going to buy any of them in game make sure your DM is going with the MIC price.

    Amulet of Incarnum Shielding: If youíre concerned with spellcasters interfering with your Soulmelds, this item will stop it. On seven occasions, at least, and then it disintegrates.

    Essentia Helm: This interesting item can top off the Essentia in one or more receptacles a limited number of times per day. Worth looking at around L12 when Essentia management gets trickier. Note that it can invest Essentia into Incarnum Feats even if theyíve already been invested for the day.

    Essentia Jewel: One shot item that adds 1 pt of Essentia to your pool for 1 round. You can only use 1 jewel per round. The very definition of an underwhelming magic item. One extra point of Essentia just doesn't really help much.

    Gloves of Incarnum Theft: These can be fun provided a) youíre high enough level to have a good place to use extra Essentia and b) Incarnum is common enough in your Campaign that youíll get a chance to use them. As always you might be better off just hitting the Incarnum user with your weapon of choice. You can invest stolen Essentia immediately as part of the theft and can use stolen essentia to invest Incarnum Feats even when you normally couldnít.

    Spoiler: Incarnum Focus
    Show

    There is one of these items for every Chakra. These items are an exception to the rule that you canít use a magic item on the same Chakra as a bound Soulmeld. Any Meld shaped on the same Chakra as an Incarnum Focus has its Essentia Capacity raised by 1.

    Should you bind the Incarnum Focus to its Chakra, any Meld shaped or bound at that location cannot be unshaped except by you. The Meldís Essentia investment also canít be messed with.

    These items are more useful to Incarnates and Totemists, who have more Essentia and more Binds to play around with. However, should you get one it can still come in handy.


    Spoiler: Soulbound items:
    Show
    • Soulbound Armor Quality
    • Soulbound Shield Quality
    • Soulbound Weapon Quality
    • Cloak of Soulbound Resistance
    • Ring of Soulbound Protection


    These items all follow the same pattern. By default they operate as a +1 item of the standard type, and you can invest Essentia to improve it. All of them come in standard and Greater versions; the standard versions have an Essentia Capacity of 2 and the Greater ones have 4. All of them have minor abilities should you choose to bind the item to a Chakra, even the Rings.

    TheyíreÖ ok. The problem for a Soulborn is, of course, lack of Essentia. The more places you have to invest it, the more you have to juggle. If your DM gives you something like this as treasure, ok. I wouldnít go looking to buy it though.

    Keep in mind that the Essentia Capacity is the lesser of your normal Essentia Capacity by Character Level or the itemís E.C. In other words, no bumping a sword with Greater Soulbound up to +5 until 18th level.


    Soulsmite Gauntlets: The only Soulborn-specific item in the game. As a free action remove invested Essentia from any Soulmeld to gain a proportionate attack and damage bonus to a Smite Attack. The removed Essentia can be re-invested as normal if you have a Swift Action free. Bind the Gauntlets to gain an extra Smite per day.

    Soulstone: This is a nice one. Pricey, but nice. You gain a free Chakra Bind for the Brow Chakra only, regardless of whether the Brow is a Chakra you can bind to yet. If you can bind Soulmelds to the Brow you gain a free point of Essentia for any Meld bound to it while using the Soulstone. As Soulborn only get Brow Chakra binds at L14 and most Brow Soulmelds really benefit from Binding, this is a great item. (Not to mention a free Bind 0f any kind is very nice.)

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: A Player's Handbook for Soulborns

    Part XI: Roleplaying & Quirks

    I like the Incarnum system; I think itís pretty entertaining. But it definitely has its quirks which can really inform how to play a Soulborn (or any Meldshaper, really.) The main thing is that Incarnum is one of the most obvious mystical powers created for D&D.

    First off, Soulborn eyes go strange at L2. People notice strange eyes. Sometimes I think Meg Foster built a career around her strange eyes.

    Secondly, there are the Soulmelds themselves. Now it depends on the individual Soulmeld, but if you read the descriptive text many of them tend to stand out. Whether itís the transparent crystal of the Crystal Helm or the fact that Truthseeker Goggles hover in front of your eyes, many Soulmelds just beg to be noticed. (Iím not even getting into ones like the Incarnate Avatar. Blue Slaad, anyone? )

    Then thereís the semi-permanence of Soulmelds. Once shaped, Soulmelds canít be removed from the Meldshaper, and the Meld exists until unshaped. This can lead to some fun roleplaying. Letís go with the first part: Soulmelds canít be removed from the Meldshaper.

    Now this can definitely be an advantage, of course. No such thing as stealing a Meld from its Meldshaper. It also has the potential to be awkward. Youíve shaped Mauling Gauntlets. Once you have though, you canít take them off. You have to eat with them, sleep with themÖ you get the picture right? And what if youíre captured?

    Plus, oftentimes Soulmelds are shaped over other equipment. So if you canít remove the Soulmeld, it stands to reason you canít remove the other equipment.

    Then thereís the fact that by RAW, there are only a few ways to unshape a Soulmeld. The main way is to perform an hour of meditation that can only be done following eight hours of sleep. The other ways involve being acted on by certain forces (some spells, some monster attacks, etc.)

    This, of course, ties into the whole ďcanít be removedĒ situation in that not only can you not remove the Soulmeld, you also canít just arbitrarily unshape it when itís inconvenient.

    And even if your DM adopts the extremely reasonable houserule that a Meldshaper can unshape their own Soulmelds any time they want to, itís still something youíll want to be careful about. Because once unshaped, you canít shape it again until the next day.
    Last edited by ottdmk; 2017-05-19 at 10:51 AM.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: A Player's Handbook for Soulborns

    Part XII: The Epic Soulborn

    Now Iíll confess this is all just a thought exercise. Iíve never played any character past 20th level, let alone a Soulborn.

    The only thing that truly annoys me about Soulborn design is that the developers decided Soulborns would only get a bonus Epic Feat every three levels while both the other Meldshapers get them every two.

    As Iíve said before, were I to go Epic with a Soulborn I would strongly consider taking the Incandescent Champion PrC for L21-30. The tradeoff would be three bonus Feats and five Meldshaper levels for eight points of Essentia and some special abilities. Worth it, I think. For example Incandescent Strike replicates the damage portion of Bluesteel Bracers without using up one of your Melds.

    Epic Feats

    Bonus Soulmeld:
    Epic Essentia:
    Extra Chakra Bind:

    Expands your Meldshaping in just the ways you would expect. If youíve ever taken Shape Soulmeld or the Bonus Soulmeld Epic Feat, you can take Epic Essentia twice for six points of Essentia. Always a plus. (At six Soulmelds and three Incarnum Feats an Epic Soulborn before L30 could invest 36 points of Essentia if they had it.)

    Open Heart Chakra:
    Open Soul Chakra:

    I think Open Heart Chakra can definitely be worth it. There are some good Chakra Bind effects for the Heart and the extra HP are nice. Iím not struck on Open Soul Chakra though. The 21 Con can be tough to reach and I havenít been overly impressed with any of the Soul Chakra Binds, even the ones from Totemist & Incarnate. (Iím sure other folks may disagree.)

    Rapid Meldshaping: One of the downsides of going Incandescent Champion for L21-30 is that it would put off qualifying for this feat. Rapid Meldshaping is one of the Incarnateís key features and having that flexibility even only once a day is very nice.

    Rebind Soulmeld: This Feat only works if you have two Melds shaped in the same location using the Dual Chakra Feat. It lets you swap the Chakra Bind from one Soulmeld to the other. I canít see it being terribly useful.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: A Player's Handbook for Soulborns

    Part XIII: Those that Came Before

    Hereís some links to the reading that helped me out with this:

    Gerdregís Guide to the Soulborn

    Smitten Ė The Vantages of the Soulborn

    The Guide to Incarnum

  14. - Top - End - #14

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