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

    Join Date
    Jan 2007

    Default Incarnate Handbook 2017

    Incarnate Handbook 2017

    Part I: Why play an Incarnate?

    Why play an Incarnate? Well, the main reason is to go all-in on the Incarnum system. If you read through Magic of Incarnum and think ďman, this looks like fun stuffĒ then Incarnate is the class for you. Incarnates are the ďwizardsĒ of Incarnum, in the sense that the class is focused almost exclusively on using Incarnum, like a wizard is focused on using magic. Please note though that if youíre looking for something as flexible as a wizard, youíll be disappointed. Incarnates are flexible (itís a strength of the class) but theyíre not that flexible.

    I put this together because after working out my Soulborn handbook I just kept thinking about Magic of Incarnum a lot. This will not focus on optimization. I suck at optimization, and itís not a major interest of mine. This is just collected thoughts on how to play an Incarnate.

    My colour-coding:
    Blue: I really like it/I think itís a superior choice/I think itís a highlight of the Incarnate.
    Black: Itís ok.
    Orange: Doesnít really apply to an Incarnate.
    Red: I donít like it/I think itís a poor choice/Itís a weak spot of the Incarnate.

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

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    Jan 2007

    Default Re: Incarnate Handbook 2017

    Part II: Getting started

    Incarnates have:
    • Strong Fortitude and Will saves.
    • Full Meldshaper Level.
    • Proficiency with Light and Medium Armor.
    • Proficiency with all Shields except Tower Shields.
    • Proficiency with all Simple Weapons.
    • Poor Skill Points (2+INT Bonus).
    • Poor Reflex Saves.
    • Low Hit Dice (d6).

    Alignment: Incarnates are devoted to a concept. To play this class you have to choose Neutral Evil, Neutral Good, Lawful Neutral or Chaotic Neutral.

    • Constitution: Con is important. Meldshapers can only shape (Con score) - 10 Soulmelds. Which means that you're going to want a Con of at least 19 by L19.
    • Strength: Incarnates have some options for ranged attacks, but most of their combat is based around melee.
    • Intelligence: If you want a few extra skill points, bumping this to 12 or 14 is a good call.
    • Wisdom: Saving Throws vs Incarnate Soulmelds are partly based on Wisdom modifier. If one of those Melds is amongst your favourites, you might want to put some points here.
    • Dexterity: Extra AC is always nice, and this is worth looking at. However, it might be an area you can dump.
    • Charisma: Really depends on your build. If you want to invest in Diplomacy or Use Magic Device (both of which can be helped by Soulmelds) you might want to put points here. Otherwise this might be a good dump stat.

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

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    Jan 2007

    Default Re: Incarnate Handbook 2017

    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.)

    Incarnates have the largest Essentia pool in the game, topping out at 26 pts at L20. This can be improved by taking specific Races or Feats. Incarnates will use every last point they can get. Past 2nd level itís impossible for an Incarnate to have enough Essentia to invest everything they have to full, so get comfortable with the notion of swapping Essentia around. Youíre going to do it a lot.

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

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    Jan 2007

    Default Re: Incarnate Handbook 2017

    Part IV: Races

    Aasimar: Aasimar have some nice Racial Substitution Levels for the Incarnate class. Whether those (and the normal Aasimar advantages) are sufficient to justify the +1 Level Adjustment is left to the reader.

    Azurin: Azurins are a good choice for Incarnates. 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 Incarnates. The Ironsoul Forgemaster is a pretty great Prestige Class and only Dwarves can take it.

    Gnome: Although an atypical choice of class for Gnomes, they do make pretty decent Incarnates even with the strength penalty. Gnomes can benefit from Racial Substitution Levels in Incarnate.

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

    Tiefling: Tieflings, like Aasimar, have some nice Racial Substitution Levels for the Incarnate class. Whether those (and the normal Tiefling advantages) are sufficient to justify the +1 Level Adjustment is left to the reader.

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

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

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    Jan 2007

    Default Re: Incarnate Handbook 2017

    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.

    Detect Opposition: At will Detect [Alignment], where the Alignment is opposite of your own. Good gets Detect Evil, Evil gets Detect Good, etc. etc. etc.

    Expanded Soulmeld Capacity: Incarnates have the biggest Essentia pool in the game, and this class feature, along with the number of soulmelds they can meld, insures that they need every last point. Absent feats, Soulborn have an Essentia Capacity of 4 at L18. Totemists can manage an EC of 5 for the Soulmeld binded to their Totem Chakra. Incarnates will end up with an EC of 6 for every Soulmeld. This also applies to Soulmelds learned from the Shape Soulmeld Feat.

    Incarnum Radiance: Starting at 3rd level, Incarnates can manifest an aura of power as a free action. It lasts for 3 rds + 1/Con bonus (so at level 20 your average Incarnate will manifest it for at least 7 rounds, likely 8.) The benefit depends on alignment. Lawful Incarnates get a bonus to melee attack rolls, Evil ones get a bonus to melee damage. Good Incarnates get a bonus to AC while Chaotic ones get a bonus to base land speed. All bonuses improve at 5th level and every 5 levels after that, and the Incarnate gets additional uses per day at every 5th level past 3rd (8th, 13th, etc.)

    Rapid Meldshaping: One of the weaknesses of Meldshaping is that it can only be performed once a day after eight hours of rest. This ability changes that. Once per day it allows you to unshape a soulmeld and shape a new one in its place as a full round action. You canít do chakra binds though. Additional uses per day come every 6 levels after 5th (11th, 17th.)

    Share Incarnum Radiance: Starting at 7th level when you activate Incarnum Radiance you can choose to share its benefits with allies within 30í who share the non-neutral aspect of your alignment. The downside is that youíre fatigued after (although that downside goes away at 17th level.)

    Perfect Meldshaper: At 20th level once a day you get to increase the Essentia invested in all your Incarnate soulmelds (so, not soulmelds from Shape Soulmeld or multiclassing) to full. For a L20 incarnate thatís usually the equivalent of 54 Essentia points. Not as good as it sounds, as the duration (3+Wisdom mod rounds) means its a combat ability and youíre never going to have all nine soulmelds useful in combat.

    True Incarnation: You become an Outsider of subtype (Alignment). All your attacks are treated as having (Alignment) for getting around Damage Reduction.

    Meldshaping has its own section below.
    Last edited by ottdmk; 2018-05-07 at 04:29 PM.

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

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    Jan 2007

    Default Re: Incarnate Handbook 2017

    Part VI - Feats

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

    General Feats:


    Bonus Essentia: Incarnates are perpetually short of Essentia, especially at lower levels. (Even moreso if the Expanded Soulmeld Capacity feat comes into play.) Two extra points are always welcome, but not as essential as they are to a Soulborn for example.

    Double Chakra: A 20th level Incarnate gets nine soulmelds (assuming a Con of at least 19.) Odds are good that at some time or another (or even most of the time) you might want to shape two melds on the same chakra.

    Heart of Incarnum: The earliest this feat can be taken is L18 when itís worth at least 22hp. If you like to tank, might be worth it.

    Expanded Soulmeld Capacity: Not as good for Incarnates as it might seem. Yes, Incarnates are the masters of dumping lots of Essentia into Soulmelds. The problem is the built in limitation: It only increases Essentia capacity to a maximum of your Con bonus. So at L12 you need a Con of 20 for it to still be usable. At L15 you need a 22, at L18 a 24.

    Increased Essentia Capacity: Very similar to the above Feat, but increases the Essentia Capacity of all your Incarnum Feats by 1 instead. Incarnates arenít likely to have a lot of Incarnum Feats, but it depends on your build. Incarnates donít naturally improve the Essentia Capacity of Incarnum Feats, so a Con of 20 can keep this Feat usable until level 31. Keep in mind that Incarnum Feats actually lock Essentia in place for 24 hours upon investment.

    Incarnum Fortified Body: Gain 2HP per Incarnum Feat taken. Youíre unlikely to take enough Incarnum Feats to make this worthwhile.

    Incarnum Resistance: Incarnates can't take this.

    Necrocarnum Acolyte: If youíre playing a Lawful or Chaotic Incarnate, this feat lets you play with Necrocarnum. Also a pre-req for the Necrocarnate prestige class if that interests you.

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

    Donít. Just donít. Incarnates get all Bind locations through class levels, and generally faster than these feats allow. Useful only for certain multi-classing/prestige class builds.

    Spoiler: The Open Chakra Feats
    Magic of Incarnum is poorly edited. This is a quantifiable fact. Many people believe that the vague wording of these feats mean they bestow a Chakra Bind ďslotĒ to use with a soulmeld along with opening the Chakra. CustServ disagrees, and for once, I agree with CustServ.

    There are several prestige classes where you get Chakra Bind slots without having all the locations available. Thatís what these Feats are for, with the minor bonuses just small-scale icing.

    I like the notion that thereís at least one aspect of Meldshaping that you canít take by spending a Feat.

    Shape Soulmeld: This is the ultimate tweak feat for an Incarnate. Envious of the Soulborn's Mauling Gauntlets? Take them 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. Your Expanded Soulmeld Capacity class feature works with Soulmelds gained through this feat, but Perfected Meldshaper does not.

    Share Soulmeld: Can be good if youíre multiclassing with wizard or a similar class that gives a familiar.

    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.

    Incarnum Feats:

    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.


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

    Azure Talent: Provides some bonus power points for your psychic abilities. A pre-req for the Soul Manifester prestige class.

    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; Incarnates have Fortitude as a 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 Incarnate 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 although Expanded Soulmeld Capactity helps here. Nice synergy with the Lifebond Vestments and Therapeutic Mantle soulmelds.

    Incarnum Spellshaping: If you want to become a Soulcaster, this is a prerequisite. Grants access to spells with the Incarnum descriptor.

    Indigo Strike: Incarnum for Ninjas/Rogues/Scouts.

    Midnight Augmentation: Reduce the Power Points needed to augment a psychic power. Can be nice for multiclass.

    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 its a bit better than vanilla Dodge.

    Midnight Metamagic: More for your Incarnate/[Wizard/Cleric] builds. Use Essentia instead of level mods for Metamagic.

    Psycarnum Blade: Incarnum for Mindblades, anyone? If there were any Mindblade/Meldshaper prestige classes this might be ok butÖ there arenít.

    Saphire Fist: More Incarnum for Monks.

    Saphire Smite: Itís unlikely that youíre going to multiclass with anything that grants a Smite attack.

    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...).

    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 Armguards of Disruption or Lightning Gauntlets.

    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.

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

    Join Date
    Jan 2007

    Default Re: Incarnate Handbook 2017

    Part VII: Meldshaping and Essentia by the level

    A quick note: Incarnates canít shape Soulmelds that have an alignment descriptor that doesnít match their alignment. Good Incarnates canít shape Evil, Chaotic or Lawful Soulmelds, Lawful canít do Chaotic, Evil & Good, etc.

    Level 1

    And so it begins! You start off being able to Shape two Soulmelds, and you have an Essentia Pool of 1 to split between them.

    The Melds:
    Spoiler: Crown Chakra:

    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

    Elder Spirit: (Dragon Magic) Dragonblood only. Gain a +4 Insight Bonus on Knowledge (Arcana, History) and Use Magic Device checks that scales with Essentia. Allows untrained use of the three skills. Only black because you need to be a Dragonblood.

    Enigma Helm: Having Nondetection can be useful, plus a non-Resistance Will save bonus is nice.

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

    Soulspark Familiar: Creates a Lesser Soulspark. Incarnates have the Essentia Capacity and the Essentia Pool that are needed to make this Meld somewhat useful.

    Spoiler: Feet Chakra:

    Acrobat Boots: Insight bonus to Balance, Escape Artist, Jump & Tumble. Scales with Essentia investment, but doesnít allow you to Tumble untrained.

    Airstep Sandals: Lets you fly as a move action, but you have to land after every move. Essentia increases the distance. Still thoughÖ flight!

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

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

    Dragon Tail: (Dragon Magic) Dragonblood only. Looks nice, but has a lot of limitations on its use. Essentia grants an Enhancement bonus to hit/damage.

    Spoiler: Hands Chakra:

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

    Bloodwar Gauntlets: Gain a bonus to Melee Attack rolls and an Essentia-scaled bonus to Melee Damage rolls.

    Lightning Gauntlets: Gain an electrical touch attack with damage that scales with Essentia.

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

    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.

    Theft Gloves: Gain an insight bonus to Disable Device, Open Lock & Sleight of Hand that scales with Essentia. The Meld allows you to use the skills untrained.

    Spoiler: Arms Chakra:

    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.

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

    Bloodwar Gauntlets: Bloodwar Gauntlets can also be formed 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.

    Incarnate Weapon: Create a melee weapon that matches your alignment for purposes of Damage Reduction bypass. Has an Enhancement Bonus equal to the Essentia invested.

    Lammasu Mantle: Good only. Gain a +2 AC bonus against evil and a resistance bonus to saving throws against evil equal to the invested Essentia.

    Lifebond Vestments: Heal others by taking half the amount of damage you heal. Essentia increases the amount you can do at any one time.

    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:

    Charming Veil: (Psionics of Incarnum web supplement.) You need psionic charm/compulsion powers to benefit from this one but if you do, itís alright. Adds Essentia to the save DC of the powers.

    Illusion Veil: Improves the save DCís of your Illusion Magic and Essentia increases the duration. If you go multiclass this can be useful.

    Keeneye Lenses: Gain a +4 to Spot checks that scales with Essentia.

    Mageís Spectacles: Gives a ridiculous +4 to Decipher Script, Spellcraft & Use Magic Device checks. Scales with Essentia, and lets you use all three skills untrained.

    Planar Chasuble: Be treated as a native on any plane that matches your alignment. Gain energy resistance to a particular energy type that scales with Essentia.

    Psionís Eyes: (Psionics of Incarnum web supplement) Just like Mageís Spectacles except the bonuses are for Autohypnosis, Psycraft & Use Psionic Device. Rated a bit lower as the skills are more niche.

    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:

    Adamant Pauldrons: You gain the Light Fortification armor special ability. Essentia grants Damage Reduction X/Opposite Alignment.

    Mantle of Flame: Deals fire damage that scales with Essentia to opponents who successfully attack from adjacent squares.

    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. You can combine this with Lifebond Vestments to really bring down the partyís healing costs.

    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:

    Apparition Ribbon: Re-roll the miss chance against incorporeal things once/miss. Essentia gives a damage bonus against incorporeal opponents.

    Arcane Focus: Only useful for multiclassed spellcasters that like damage dealing spells. Add damage = to invested Essentia.

    Dissolving Spittle: Ranged touch attack that deals acid damage. Damage increases with invested Essentia.

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

    Planar Ward: Gain protection from mental control/possession and a morale bonus to saves against extraplanar opponents equal to the invested Essentia.

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

    Silvertongue Mask:
    Soulspark Familiar:

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

    Spoiler: Waist Chakra:

    Dragon Tail: (Dragon Magic) (Dragonblood Only) The Dragon Tail meld can also be shaped at the Waist. See the Feet Chakra.

    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.

    Vitality Belt: Gain a +4 bonus to Con checks and Con skill checks. Gain Meldshaper LevelxEssentia bonus hit points.

    Spoiler: Heart Chakra:

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

    Lifebond Vestments:
    Necrocarnum Vestments:
    Strongheart Vest:

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

    Spoiler: Soul Chakra:

    Fellmist Robe: Gain a Concealment miss chance against non-adjacent attacks that scales with Essentia.

    Incarnate Avatar: Gain combat bonuses depending on Alignment. Good gets AC, Evil damage, Law melee ďto hitĒ and Chaos ranged ďto hitĒ.

    Elder Spirit:
    Necrocarnum Shroud:
    Planar Chausible:

    These Soulmelds can also be shaped on the Soul Chakra. See the Crown, Brow & Waist Chakras.

    Level 2

    So an Incarnate gets 1 pt of Essentia every level until 14th level. After that they get 2 pts per level until L20.

    At this point you shape 3 Soulmelds and have 2 pts of Essentia barring racial Essentia or Incarnum Feats.

    The main thing at L2 is that you get your first Chakra bind and the Crown Chakra is unlocked.

    Spoiler: Crown Chakra:

    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.

    Elder Spirit: (Dragon Magic) (Dragonborn only) Gain immunity to frightful presence, sleep and paralysis. Gain a +4 insight bonus to Intimidate that scales with Essentia.

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

    Necrocarnum Circlet: Create a Necrocarnum Zombie to serve you. Many, many possible applications. Evil only.

    Soulspark Familiar: Still not a favourite, but binding the Meld creates a stronger Soulspark (in this case a Lesser Soulspark).

    Level 3
    Your Expanded Soulmeld Capacity class feature kicks in, bringing your Capacity with your melds to 2. You have 3 pts of Essentia (barring the usual modifiers) and would need 6 to fully power things.

    Level 4
    The Feet and Hands Chakras open for you, but you can still only bind one Soulmeld at a time. You can now shape four Soulmelds, so Essentia demands continue to greatly outstrip supply.

    Spoiler: Feet Chakra:

    Acrobat Boots: When Bound the Boots reduce falling damage by 1d6 per point of Essentia invested.

    Cerulean Sandals: Dimension Door up to 10íxMeldshaper Level. If you use all the capacity, the Meld unshapes.

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

    Dragon Tail: (Dragon Magic) (Dragonblood Only) Gain a bonus to Balance and Swim checks that scales with Essentia. There are better things to shape on the Feet.

    Spoiler: Hands Chakra:

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

    Bloodwar Gauntlets: Gain a bonus to confirm critical threats.

    Lightning Gauntlets: Add the damage from the Gauntlets to one melee attack per round.

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

    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.

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

    Theft Gloves: Gain the Trapfinding ability.

    Levels 5-9

    At L5 you get Rapid Meldshaping. At L6 you can bind two melds at once, and your Essentia Capacity goes up by 1. At level 7 you can now shape 5 Soulmelds per day. Your class gives you 7 Essentia pts and you could invest 15. At 9th level (nothing interesting for L8) the Arms, Brow & Shoulders Chakras open. You can still bind only two at once.

    Spoiler: Arms Chakra:

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

    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.

    Bloodwar Gauntlets: An Arm Bind allows you to unshape the Meld to blast everyone within 20í (yourself excluded). The damage scales with invested Essentia and has a Fortitude save for half.

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

    Incarnate Weapon: Binding the Weapon gives you the ability to charge the weapon (move action) so that the next attack stuns the opponent (as long as theyíre of an opposed alignment.) Fortitude negates.

    Lammasu Mantle: Allies within 10í gain the base bonuses.

    Lifebond Vestments: You can heal creatures up to 30í away.

    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 Incarnate is in mounted combat.

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

    Spoiler: Brow Chakra:

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

    Illusion Veil: Gain See Invisibilty, plus bonuses to Spot and saving throws vs illusions with Essentia investment.

    Keeneye Lenses: Gain See Invisibilty.

    Mageís Spectacles: Gain at-will Read Magic. Serious candidate for worst Bind effect ever.

    Planar Chasuble: The bonus provided by your Incarnum Resonance ability goes up by 1.

    Psionís Eyes: Gain at-will Mindlink power.

    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:

    Adamant Pauldrons: The Fortification effect goes from 25% to 50%.

    Mantle of Flame: Use a standard action to burn everything in adjacent squares. Reflex half.

    Pauldrons of Health: Provides Immunity to Energy Drain.

    Therapeutic Mantle: Gain a bonus to Caster Level when casting healing spells. Can be ok for Sapphire Hierarchs.

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

    Levels 10-14

    At L10 you can shape 6 Soulmelds and bind 3 at a time. At L11 you can do Rapid Meldshaping 2/day. At L12 your Essentia Capacity goes up again.

    At L13 you can shape 7 Soulmelds per day. (The class provides 13 pts of Essentia. You could invest 28.) At L14 you can Bind 4 Soulmelds at once, and the Throat and Waist Chakras open.

    Spoiler: Throat Chakra:

    Apparition Ribbon: Become incorporeal for (1 + Invested Essentia) rounds, up to a max of Meldshaper Level rounds per day. Side effect: Once activated the Essentia Investment is locked until the effect ends.

    Arcane Focus: Still only useful for multiclassed spellcasters. Your damaging spells can daze an opponent, if targetting only one opponent. Fortitude negates, and the DC is the Meldís DC, not the spellís.

    Dissolving Spittle: The acid damage from a successful attack repeats on the next turn.

    Necrocarnum Mantle: Gain Immunity to Poison.

    Planar Ward: An extra-planar opponent must Will save or be sent to their home plane if they successfully strike you.

    Psychic Focus: (Psionics of Incarnum web supplement.) You need psionic powers that deal damage to benefit from this one. Same daze ability as Arcane Focus, above.

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

    Soulspark Familiar: Create a greater soulspark.

    Spoiler: Waist Chakra:

    Dragon Tail: (Dragon Magic) (Dragonblood Only) The tail attack gains reach and more damage, but is still limited.

    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.)

    Vitality Belt: Gain Immunity to Con damage and Con drain.

    Levels 15-16

    At L15 your Expanded Soulmeld Capacity goes up to +2. At 16th level you can shape 8 Soulmelds and could invest 40 pts of Essentia. You only get 18 pts from your Class. At 16th the Heart Chakra is opened.

    Spoiler: Heart Chakra

    Lifebond Vestments: Heal anyone as many times as wished. (Eliminates the 1 heal/hour limitation.)

    Necrocarnum Vestments: Gain immunity to stunning and death effects.

    Spellward Shirt: Gain immunity to four spells of L6 or lower.

    Strongheart Vest: Gain immunity to energy drain attacks and death effects.

    Levels 17-20

    At L17 you can use Rapid Meldshaping 3/day. At L18 your Essentia Capacity goes up (last time until L31), and you gain your 5th and final (barring Feats) Chakra Bind. At L19 you can shape your 9th and final (barring Feats) Soulmeld. At L20 you have your full Essentia Pool of 26, and could invest 54. Your Perfect Meldshaper ability is available once/day at L20.

    L19 also sees the Soul Chakra become available.

    Spoiler: Soul Chakra

    Elder Spirit: (Dragon Magic) (Dragonblood only) Gain blindsense that scales its range with Essentia.

    Fellmist Robe: The Robe conceals even against adjacent foes, and is harder to disrupt with wind.

    Incarnate Avatar: Gain various abilities depending on your Alignment. Good & Evil get Flight, Law gets immunity to a bunch of different conditions, and Chaos gets an enhancement bonus of +30í to speed.

    Necrocarnum Vestments: Gain 3 HP for every point of Essentia invested in this Meld. Not temporary hit points, so be careful.

    Planar Chausible: Once per week open a Gate. Still costs XP to call a creature.
    Last edited by ottdmk; 2017-09-21 at 04:36 PM.

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

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    Part VIII: Racial Subsititution Levels

    Spoiler: Aasimar

    Only Neutral Good Aasimar Incarnates can take these Racial Substituion Levels.

    All Aasimar Incarnate RSLs have a d8 Hit Die, which is an improvement. Aasimar RSLs gain Diplomacy as a class skill.

    Level 1: This RSL grants the Martial Weapon proficiency and Weapon Focus feats with any given Martial Weapon.

    Level 3: When using Incarnum Radiance the attacks of Aasimar with this RSL are treated as Good-aligned for bypassing Damage Reduction. Should they be using the Incarnate Weapon soulmeld the soulmeld does 1d6 extra damage to any opponents with the evil subtype as long as the Radiance lasts.

    Level 7: Aasimar who take this RSL can share the benefits of their Incarnum Radiance with any non-evil ally. They canít share the enhanced benefits of the L3 RSL though.

    Spoiler: Gnomes

    Only Neutral Good Gnome Incarnates can take these Racial Substitution Levels.

    All Gnome RSLs gain Hide as a class skill and the RSLs get 4+INT skill points, up from 2+INT.

    Level 1: Trade Detect Opposition (ie Evil) for insight bonus damage against racial enemies. Can be worth it, especially combined with the increased Skill Points.

    Level 2: This RSL allows a Gnome Incarnate with any Meld bound to the Crown Chakra to use Detect Thoughts once per day.

    Level 7: When using the Share Incarnum Radiance ability, this RSL also gives allies the Gnomeís +4 dodge bonus to AC vs Giants (but it doesnít stack with other racial trait dodge bonuses vs. Giants.)

    Spoiler: Tieflings

    Only Neutral Evil Tiefling Incarnates can take these Racial Substitution Levels.

    All Tiefling RSLs gain Bluff & Hide as class skills and the RSLs get 4+INT skill points, up from 2+INT.

    Level 1: Whenever a Tiefling with this RSL has a Meld shaped on the Brow Chakra (shaped, not bound) she can see through magical darkness.

    Level 3: When using Incarnum Radiance in darkness or shadowy illumination the Tiefling Incarnate gains a 20% concealment miss chance.

    Level 7: Giving up the Share Incarnum Radiance ability, with this RSL gives a Tiefling Incarnate with a Meld bound to the Crown Chakra the ability to telepathically communicate with any language-using creature within 100í.

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

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    Part IX: Prestige Classes

    Meldshapers in general tend to be poor multiclassers, and Incarnates are no exception really. Taking other classes generally costs 2 Essentia per level as Incarnates get 2 pts per level on the back 5. Even taking just two levels in another class means you donít open the Soul chakra until Epic Levels.

    That being said, there are some Prestige Classes in Magic of Incarnum that can ease the pain a bit, and/or add some fun stuff.

    Incandescent Champion
    Incarnum Blade:

    Both of these classes are ways to add some Incarnum based abilities to a character whose primary focus is fighting. Iíd consider moving to Incandescent Champion with an Epic Level Incarnate, but otherwise Iíd avoid it. The Incarnum Blade isnít a good fit with Incarnate at all.

    Ironsoul Forgemaster: If you decide you want to play a Dwarven Incarnate, this is not a bad way to go. You lose one Meldshaping level from your Incarnate class, which is not much of a sacrifice (the most aggravating part is the lost Essentia.) If you go Incarnate 10/Ironsoul Forgemaster 10 youíll open up all the Chakras except the Throat and Soul ones, although the Brow Chakra will get opened later than straight Incarnate.

    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.

    Necrocarnate: Hoo boy.

    I could probably write a Handbook just on this Prestige Class. Itís a tricky one.


    So, the premise behind this PrC is simply ďDo you want to be an EVIL Incarnate? Hereís how to do it.Ē

    About the only effective way to go into this class is to go Incarnate 7 and then Necrocarnate 13. This has a number of effects:

    • Your permanent Essentia pool stalls at 7.
    • You get the same number of Soulmelds, but your advancement is one level slower. (IE, you end up with Soulmeld #6 at CL 11, not 10, #7 at CL 14 instead of 13, etc.
    • You open all the same Chakras, but again, one level behind straight Incarnate.
    • You get the same number of Binds, one level behind yet again.
    • Your Incarnum Radiance ability doesnít improve.
    • You donít get the second point of Increased Essentia Capacity. Instead you get an increase that only helps Necrocarnate Soulmelds.

    So the big thing is the Essentia pool. Necrocarnate doesnít increase your pool. Instead, it gives two special abilities that allow you to increase your Essentia pool through the death of living things.

    The first one, available with your first Necrocarnate level, grants Ĺ Necrocarnate level (round up) points per use. These Essentia points last 24 hours. The second one, available at Necrocarnate 5, grants Character Level (of the slain creature) points per use, and these points last for a round.

    There is no limit to the amount of Essentia you can harvest through these methods. So, at CL 20, our theoretical Incarnate 7/Necrocarnate 13 could have a larger Essentia pool than an Incarnate 20 by sacrificing three lives to start the day, every day. The more lives sacrificed, the larger the Essentia pool.

    You can kinda see how this PrC might work better for NPCs, no?

    Other than that, a Necrocarnate is better at making Necrocarnum Zombies through the Necrocarnum Circlet Soulmeld (they take half damage from the creation), and at upper levels they can even create two Necrocarnum Zombies at once.

    Necrocarnates also get a saving throw bonus equal to the number of Necrocarnum Melds they have shaped. The bonus only works (Ĺ Necrocarnate Level) per day, but how it works (free action, immediate action) will have to be worked out with your DM. The book doesnít say.

    Sapphire Hierarch
    Soul Manifester (Psionics of Incarnum Web Supplement)

    Spoiler: Spellcasting PrCs
    Iím lumping these three together because theyíre fairly similar. Soulcaster and Soul Manifester are practically clones of each other.

    All three are about combining a Meldshaper with a Spellcaster. The Hierarch does Divine casting, the Soulcaster does Arcane, and the Soul Manifester does Psionics.
    All three can be entered into at 6th level if you choose the right Spellcasting class, and all three can be entered by taking two levels in Incarnate.

    From an Incarnate perspective, you lose at least six points of Essentia and you donít open as many Chakras. Soulcaster and Soul Manifester open the Least and Lesser Chakras, but not the Greater, Heart or Soul Chakras. Sapphire Hierarch doesnít open any Chakras at all. These classes (particularly Sapphire Hierarch) are pretty much why the Open Chakra feats were created IMHO.

    As youíd expect, doing things this way also majorly impacts the Incarnum Radiance, Rapid Meldshaping and Expanded Soulmeld Capacity abilities.

    These classes work even better if youíre looking at being a primary caster and adding Incarnum abilities. You only lose two caster levels (replacable with Practiced Spellcaster) and will still get 9th level Spells/Powers. In exchange you get all the Incarnate Soulmelds with 12 Essentia to power them (and other things like Arcane Investment.)

    Spinemeld Warrior: This prestige class is all about the Skarn worldview. Itís not a great fit with Incarnates. It doesnít advance a previous Meldshaping class; itís a minor Meldshaping class unto itself.

    Totem Rager: You have to be a Totemist to take this PrC, and multiclassing with a second Meldshaper class really doesnít work very well.

    Umbral Disciple: If you want to play a sneaky Incarnate, there are worse ways to go. While most of your Incarnate abilities are put on hold, at least the Essentia pool progression is pretty decent. The class grants Hide in Plain Sight at level three.

    Witchborn Binder: This is an interesting way to go. Itís a bit annoying that a class that has a lot of Meldshaper Level checks actually only has 6/10 Meldshaper Levels, but in spite of that thereís a lot of flavour here that could be fun to play. Another class that doesnít open any Chakras though, so the Open Chakra feats may be needed for your build.
    Last edited by ottdmk; 2018-11-20 at 02:22 PM.

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

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    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. Given that Incarnates can always invest more Essentia than they currently have, this is a nice ability. 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 that 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

    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.

    For Incarnates my favourite one of these is the Waist Chakra version, for use with the Vitality Belt. Unshaping that Meld can potentially kill you.

    Spoiler: Soulbound items:
    • 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. Theyíre yet another place to invest Essentia, and you have plenty of those already.

    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.

    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 use with any Meld bound to it while using the Soulstone.

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

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    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 an Incarnate (or any Meldshaper, really.) The main thing is that Incarnum is one of the most obvious mystical powers created for D&D.

    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. Incarnate Avatar is one of the worst for this. Depending on the alignment of the Incarnate shaping it they might look like a Blue Slaad, an Astra Deva, a Nykaloth or a Marut.

    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 Thief Gloves. 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.

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

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    Part XII: The Epic Incarnate

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

    Epic Incarnates get a Bonus Feat every two levels, which is nice.

    After 20th level going into a prestige class like Incandescent Champion or Umbral Disciple might be appealing. Both of those add to your Essentia Pool and extra Essentia is harder to come by in Epic.

    Epic Feats

    Bonus Soulmeld:
    Epic Essentia:
    Extra Chakra Bind:

    Expands your Meldshaping in just the ways you would expect. A standard Epic Incarnate can take Epic Essentia three times for nine points of Essentia. Always a plus. Keep in mind though that barring Dual Chakra feats, you can only have at most ten Soulmelds shaped at one time.

    Open Heart Chakra:
    Open Soul Chakra:
    Rapid Meldshaping:

    If youíve reached Epic Levels by going Incarnate 20, none of these Feats apply to you.

    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

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    Part XIII: Those that Came Before

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

    Incarnum & YOU: A Reference Guide

    Sinfire Titanís Incarnate Guide

    The Guide to Incarnum

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