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    Post Incarnum/Tome of Battle crossover - soulborn redux

    gone for now, under revision
    Last edited by Elves; 2020-07-22 at 08:28 AM.
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    d20

    New Discipline: Warriorís Soul

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    Last edited by Elves; 2020-05-06 at 11:45 PM.
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    Post Incarnum/Tome of Battle crossover - soulborn redo, new melds, new discipline (PEACH)



    A soulborn shapes a soulblade. (Image link if not showing)


    Credit to Circle of Life's soul warrior class and Warrior's Soul discipline and foxwarrior's Essential Cut discipline, from which much of this content was taken and revised.
    Last edited by Elves; 2020-06-27 at 02:07 PM.
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    Default Re: Incarnum/Tome of Battle crossover - soulborn redo, new melds, new discipline (PEA

    so empty pyramid idea with new coat of paint. as warrior soul discipline uses the same you hit you relocate all your temp chakra as free action gimnick do you look the links i posted.
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    Default Re: Incarnum/Tome of Battle crossover - soulborn redo, new melds, new discipline (PEA

    Does the idea of investing essentia in maneuvers actually just result in trash gameplay?

    Seems like it's basically just "swift action to invest max essentia in whatever strike I want to use this turn, then use strike".

    One possible way to avoid that could be the action conflict between essentia reinvest vs using boosts and counters.

    But you can just not take those maneuver types, and only take strikes and rushes.

    Giving stances passive essentia investment benefits doesn't solve it, because that just becomes an overflow bin for essentia that's over cap for your strikes.

    Not sure how this should go.
    Last edited by Elves; 2020-06-27 at 08:08 PM.
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    Default Re: Incarnum/Tome of Battle crossover - soulborn redo, new melds, new discipline (PEA

    I don't know that the gameplay you expect is entirely what happens- because there's a cap on how much essentia they can invest into any one receptacle, people will have an incentive to reinvest some of their essentia into maneuvers they expect to use next round, and so will not spend the swift action to reinvest every single round.

    That said, here's a possible concept of incarnum maneuvers:
    -Most (maybe all) boosts/strikes/counters have the Shaping tag. Immediately after you shape them, you gain a new (temporary?) soulmeld, one defined by the maneuver, and as a free action can invest essentia from your other receptacles or from your pool into it (but not into your other soulmelds or other receptacles).
    -Stances are essentia receptacles; when you end one, the essentia returns to your pool, and when you enter one, you can invest essentia from your other receptacles or from your pool into it as a free action (but not into other receptacles).
    -Some (maybe no) boosts/strikes/counters have the Unshaping tag; in order to use them, you unshape a soulmeld, and they have additional effect based on how much essentia was in that soulmeld.
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    Default Re: Incarnum/Tome of Battle crossover - soulborn redo, new melds, new discipline (PEA

    Quote Originally Posted by aimlessPolymath View Post
    I don't know that the gameplay you expect is entirely what happens- because there's a cap on how much essentia they can invest into any one receptacle, people will have an incentive to reinvest some of their essentia into maneuvers they expect to use next round, and so will not spend the swift action to reinvest every single round.
    True, but the problem we're looking at is the same: by having essentia invested in on-use abilities rather than passives, essentia investment becomes predictable and rote.

    If you have enough essentia for 2 rounds of maneuvers, the gameplay becomes "accurately guess which maneuver you'll want to use next round, or lose a swift action" (actually half a swift action, since when you reinvest 2 rounds in a row, an accurate prediction on round 2 will take you to round 4 when otherwise you'd reinvest on round 3).

    "Accurately guess your actions next round or suffer a minor action penalty" isn't as interesting as base incarnum gameplay.

    This may be a strong argument for giving them both normal soulmelds PLUS investable maneuvers, but I've been resistant to that because I don't think a base class should be a full theurge. Call me close-minded. It's just a lot to handle and it makes their table have too many columns. Looking at alternatives...

    Most (maybe all) boosts/strikes/counters have the Shaping tag. Immediately after you shape them, you gain a new (temporary?) soulmeld, one defined by the maneuver
    This isn't a bad idea IF you are drawing from a pool of a few external soulmelds shared between maneuvers and defined separately. Having a whole soulmeld formatted into each maneuver would be way too long. In fact, maybe draw from already-extant soulborn melds like thunderstep boots.

    You could also flip around your suggestion, so that instead you have certain soulmelds grant you access to incarnum maneuvers.


    Alternately, offensive soulmelds [these are harmful soulmelds that some Warrior's Soul maneuvers let you shape in your target's body slots] could have essentia investment that is separate from the maneuvers used to initiate them. Perhaps when you create an offensive soulmeld, you can invest it with any portion of the essentia that was invested in the maneuver that created it. Instead of returning to your essentia pool as it normally would, that essentia remains locked in the offensive soulmeld until the effect ends.

    That gives you a new way to spend essentia -- use it to maintain debuffs -- which is good, but doesn't solve the underlying problem.

    As for whether it "feels like incarnum", the core of the essentia system is that you have a pool of easily redistributable points that you spread among different receptacles, and a select number of those receptacles can be "bound" for extra benefits. As long as that much is intact I'm content.


    The fundamental problem of on-use abilities...that it just becomes about charging up whatever you're going to use, rather than being a way of reconfiguring your own abilities...

    Maybe you could split the difference and have incarnum maneuvers basically be "dischargeable soulmelds" that grant a constant benefit while readied and available but then are "discharged" by being initiated.

    That could work, but feels a little weird.
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    Default Re: Incarnum/Tome of Battle crossover - soulborn redo, new melds, new discipline (PEA

    Drawing from extant soulmelds sounds pretty great to me- it also makes it a lot easier to generate maneuvers, since they could be thematically linked to the soulmelds they generate.

    As for whether it "feels like incarnum", the core of the essentia system is that you have a pool of easily redistributable points that you spread among different receptacles, and a select number of those receptacles can be "bound" for extra benefits. As long as that much is intact I'm content.
    I think this is mostly covered by having soulmelds that are shaped as you use maneuvers.
    -Easily redistributable points- built into the essentia system, and you can still reinvest essentia normally if you want. Maybe the "reassign essentia" action can be taken as a standard action to regain maneuvers as well?
    -Different receptacles exist, though you're basically reselecting which ones you have available during combat as you use maneuvers, reconfiguring your options during play.
    -Chakra binding isn't quite settled here; it might be that maneuvers have a bonus if you have already bound their corresponding soulmeld during the start-of-day soulmeld shaping/binding process? Alternatively, perhaps a maneuver-shaped soulmeld is normally temporary, but you can choose to bind it to make it last longer and provide the bind benefits?

    The fundamental problem of on-use abilities...that it just becomes about charging up whatever you're going to use, rather than being a way of reconfiguring your own abilities...
    This issue is dodged by having you not invest in things you're about to use. Each use of a maneuver reconfigures your abilities by giving you a new active soulmeld.
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    Default Re: Incarnum/Tome of Battle crossover - soulborn redo, new melds, new discipline (PEA

    So "when you initiate this maneuver, you may shape thunderstep boots for 2 rounds". And if you have the maneuver bound, then any soulmeld you shape with it counts as bound as well. It's a good suggestion. At that point the problem is a) whether it becomes too complicated to keep track of and b) is there an essential link between the maneuver and the soulmeld, so that you aren't choosing one for the other or vice versa.

    The dischargeable soulmelds idea isn't terrible either. If using pre-extant soulmelds, it could just be the reverse of the above -- you get the benefit of the soulmeld until you use the maneuver, at which point you lose the soulmeld benefit until you recover the maneuver.

    In either case, as you say, the maneuvers should be explicitly themed around the soulmeld they're linked to.


    There are so many ways you could go, to be honest. I'll do some mockups for the two ideas above.
    Last edited by Elves; 2020-06-28 at 04:14 PM.
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    Default Re: Incarnum/Tome of Battle crossover - soulborn redo, new melds, new discipline (PEA

    Well, maybe this is a place where a third person could weigh in if anyone's around. Between these two possibilities, what looks better?


    Thundering Stomp (strike)
    While this maneuver is readied and available, you gain the benefit of the thunderstep boots soulmeld.

    When you initiate this maneuver, you deal sonic damage in an area and targets must save or be stunned.


    Thundering Stomp (strike)
    When you initiate this maneuver, you deal sonic damage in an area and targets must save or be stunned.

    You can then immediately shape the thunderstep boots soulmeld.

    ---

    In the second case, you could either have:

    - You can then immediately shape the thunderstep boots soulmeld. It lasts 3 rounds.
    or
    - It lasts until you recover this maneuver.
    or
    - It lasts for the rest of the encounter. You can unshape it as a free action when a maneuver would let you shape another soulmeld.
    Last edited by Elves; 2020-06-28 at 07:43 PM.
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    Default Re: Incarnum/Tome of Battle crossover - soulborn redo, new melds, new discipline (PEA

    A possible option for the second version:
    "It ends when you prepare new maneuvers, or you can unshape it as a free action. You cannot shape a new soulmeld if it would put you over your limit of soulmelds shaped".

    You end up with an effective "known soulmelds" list that corresponds directly to your known maneuvers, and your currently available soulmelds are defined by the subset of soulmelds you have that are readied.
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    Default Re: Incarnum/Tome of Battle crossover - soulborn redo, new melds, new discipline (PEA

    I think it's better to have something that's a tradeoff rather than just amounting to "normal soulmelds plus". That's why I prefer option 1 or option 2.2 where it's a tradeoff and you can only have one at a time, not both. So 2.3 isn't a good idea. Actually 2.3 is a really bad idea because it creates an unfounded disincentive to only prepare 1 maneuver that links to the same soulmeld. 2.1 is still okay.


    One problem with either 1 or 2 is that if every maneuver links to a soulmeld, they get very few maneuvers if you want to keep them to a reasonable number of soulmelds.

    Maybe only some maneuvers grant soulmeld benefits, or maybe you have a soulmeld cap and can't exceed it even through maneuver-granted soulmelds.

    One obvious solution to having to few maneuvers it to have it be that when you pick a soulmeld you get the entire suite of maneuvers connected to it. This solves the problem of 2.3, but becomes pretty much "soulmelds plus", which again I want to avoid both for simplicity and balance.
    Last edited by Elves; 2020-06-28 at 08:40 PM.
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    Default Re: Incarnum/Tome of Battle crossover - soulborn redo, new melds, new discipline (PEA

    A cap on the total number of soulmelds shaped would be reasonably appropriate, given that a similar limit existed for the original incarnum classes.
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    Default Re: Incarnum/Tome of Battle crossover - soulborn redo, new melds, new discipline (PEA

    Here's a mockup of another option I mentioned. Whenever you shape a soulmeld, you gain an entire suite of maneuvers.

    Maybe using one of these maneuvers denies you the benefit of the soulmeld until the maneuver is recovered.

    The benefit this approach has is that it means you can have only a few soulmelds and still get a generous number of maneuvers.

    The big detriment is that even ignoring the necrocarnum maneuvers, soulborn has 30 soulmelds, which means it may not be feasible to do.


    So for Thunderstep Boots for example it might go:

    Thundering Stomp (Strike)
    You deal sonic damage in an area and targets must save or be stunned.

    Thunderous Impact (Rush)
    Move up to your speed. If you end your movement by moving via the Jump skill and landing on the ground, you deal sonic damage to and stun creatures within 10 feet.

    Thundering Blows (Boost)
    The next melee attack or full attack you make is treated as if enhanced by the thunderstep boots soulmeld, even if it isnít a charge attack.

    Thunderkick (Counter) (feet chakra bind only)
    Make an unarmed strike against the target. It is treated as enhanced by a chakra-bound thunderstep boots soulmeld.


    Basically just having it be variations on the soulmeld's effect.

    (Because of the sheer number of maneuvers, they wouldn't all get the full maneuver format. They'd get compressed single-line formats.)

    Thoughts on this way of doing it?
    Last edited by Elves; 2020-07-09 at 08:23 AM.
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    Default Re: Incarnum/Tome of Battle crossover - soulborn redo, new melds, new discipline (PEA

    Meldshapers don't have action contention for swift actions nearly as much as martial adepts do. A few soulmelds use swifts and immediates, but for the most part the only thing they use it for it reinvesting essentia. Martial adepts, meanwhile, already don't have enough swift actions, with boosts, counters, stance switches, and sometimes even recovery (warblade), although some exceptions exist (low level crusaders). Combining the two together means you need to either let those two things compete with each other, which likely means that a meldshaper/martial adept hybrid won't be reinvesting essentia mid-combat, or find a way to make them work together.

    If you want to go ahead with the idea of investing essentia into maneuvers, you need some way of squaring that away. The basic idea of investing essentia into a maneuver to power it up is solid, but might feel bad if you have to invest the essentia way in advance (due to using your swift actions for boosts and counters) and get nothing for it in the meantime (maneuvers overwhelm meldshaping), and it might just feel mechanically weird if the optimal way to play is to ignore boosts and counters entirely and just invest essentia in your strikes each round as you use them (meldshaling overwhelms maneuvers). Some possible ways of handling that:
    - Maneuvers have some passive effect while essentia is invested. This lets them count as mini soulmelds and stops it from feeling bad to leave essentia in them in preparation of future use without actually initiating them.
    - When you initiate a maneuver, you can invest essentia into that maneuver alone as part of initiating it. To keep players from immediately shifting it away for the next maneuver, you could then lock in the essentia investment while the maneuver remains expended (sort of like the Incarnum feats). Alternatively, you could leave it available, which means that essentially there's just one receptacle's worth of essentia that a player uses for all of their maneuvers. This mitigates the action contention somewhat by allowing the maneuver side of things to use essentia without interfering with its own boosts an counters, although they would still restrict your ability to move essentia around your soulmelds.

    The idea of maneuvers shaping soulmelds temporarily for you doesn't scan well for me. Multi-round buffs like that are usually the purview of stances, while a single-round soulmeld is kind of nothing. A lot of soulmelds are about letting you do things, which wouldn't work with the maneuvers having already had you do a thing that very round. Most of the rest are about smaller passive buffs that really only make sense in longer-term, all day usage. Also, it would exacerbate the swift action contention, as you'd then need to invest essentia into the soulmeld to get the full benefit from it, although that could be mitigated by letting you invest into it as part of the temporary shaping.

    If you have a maneuver whose description is "do a thing enhanced with this effect from this soulmeld (that you probably don't have shaped)", you might as well just have the maneuver do the thing and cut out the middleman. In that regard, the strike and rush versions of the Thunderstep Boots-inspired maneuvers you posted above make sense, but the boost and counter ones don't.

    I haven't really been following the conversation so far, so some of what I wrote may have already been mentioned or no longer be relevant to the current state of discussion.
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    Default Re: Incarnum/Tome of Battle crossover - soulborn redo, new melds, new discipline (PEA

    So it sounds like you actually think the swift action conflict of reinvesting essentia vs using boosts/counters IS enough conflict to make the gameplay work?

    My concern is that it will simply be a disincentive to choose counters and boosts in the first place.

    (Originally, I had all the boosts as "reinvest essentia plus extra effect", but removed that because the swift action conflict seemed like the only thing keeping the system from being totally rote.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Garryl View Post
    and it might just feel mechanically weird if the optimal way to play is to ignore boosts and counters entirely and just invest essentia in your strikes each round as you use them
    Yeah, like I said, this is my main concern.

    Maneuvers have some passive effect while essentia is invested. This lets them count as mini soulmelds and stops it from feeling bad to leave essentia in them in preparation of future use without actually initiating them.
    This is functionally similar to the "dischargeable soulmelds" idea. It does have the problem that it could disincentivize initiating maneuvers at all, and all those little bonuses could be a nuisance to track...

    When you initiate a maneuver, you can invest essentia into that maneuver alone as part of initiating it. To keep players from immediately shifting it away for the next maneuver, you could then lock in the essentia investment while the maneuver remains expended (sort of like the Incarnum feats).
    Okay, that's interesting. It does solve the problem of rote gameplay.

    It could risk feeling too restricting. But it's the best solution so far.

    The idea of maneuvers shaping soulmelds temporarily for you doesn't scan well for me.
    On reflection, I don't like it either, but for another reason: it's just too much to keep track of.

    If going that route, I would instead use the "dischargeable soulmelds" option where you get the benefit of the soulmeld while the maneuver is readied and lose the benefit when the maneuver is expended.

    Then there's the similar variant of that I described above, where the soulmeld itself grants you several maneuvers and you can use any of them, but initiating them denies you the benefit of the soulmeld while it's expended.

    Between those two ways of fulfilling that same concept, which do you think is better?

    If you have a maneuver whose description is "do a thing enhanced with this effect from this soulmeld (that you probably don't have shaped)", you might as well just have the maneuver do the thing and cut out the middleman.
    See paragraph above. They could be separate effects, but the idea is soulorn would shape maneuvers normally and by shaping them would get the corresponding maneuvers, initiating any of which would temporarily deny them the soulmeld benefit until the maneuver is recovered. Does that sound good or bad?
    Last edited by Elves; 2020-07-01 at 01:14 PM.
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    Default Re: Incarnum/Tome of Battle crossover - soulborn redo, new melds, new discipline (PEA

    Quote Originally Posted by Elves View Post
    So it sounds like you actually think the swift action conflict of reinvesting essentia vs using boosts/counters IS enough conflict to make the gameplay work?

    My concern is that it will simply be a disincentive to choose counters and boosts in the first place.

    (Originally, I had all the boosts as "reinvest essentia plus extra effect", but removed that because the swift action conflict seemed like the only thing keeping the system from being totally rote.)
    Some action contention is good, but the gestalt whole needs to be designed with the different options in mind. Reinvestment contending with boosts and counters is fine, I'm just stressing that reinvestment will probably be relegated to a lower tier action option, like stance shifting is. I don't think that moving your total power to more relevant effects will effectively compete with just getting a straight burst of additional power, barring exceptional circumstances. I was more concerned with the idea of active investment into maneuvers, which is a power loss, then burst, then loss again, followed by reinvestment afterwards back into your soulmelds, which is a (semi-)permanent power gain, both of which break the paradigm of reinvestment.

    This is functionally similar to the "dischargeable soulmelds" idea. It does have the problem that it could disincentivize initiating maneuvers at all, and all those little bonuses could be a nuisance to track...
    The investment bonuses don't have to go away once you expend the maneuver. The intent of my suggestion was that you get a (big) bonus for having the essentia invested at the moment of initiation, but you don't feel bad about leaving it there the rest of the time. It's still likely less power than leaving the essentia in a real soulmeld, but it flattens the difference somewhat and doesn't trigger the psychological impression of "wasting" the essentia (at least not as hard) to just let it sit in the maneuver.

    As for tracking little bonuses, any base class that has native access to both maneuvers and soulmelds will have fewer shaped melds and readied maneuvers than a pure class dedicated to either would have, so the total number of variable bonuses shouldn't be too different. A warblade gets up to 7 maneuvers readied, and a totemist gets up to 9 soulmelds shaped with 5 binds, but a hybrid might wind up with closer to 7 soulmelds and 3-4 binds alongside 5 readied maneuvers. You exepct some increased complexity walking into the idea of a hybrid class, but the actual number of changing modifiers to track shouldn't be more than 3-4 larger than the pure meldshaper would have (even assuming that 100% of maneuvers selected have that essentia-based benefit).
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    Default Re: Incarnum/Tome of Battle crossover - soulborn redo, new melds, new discipline (PEA

    I'd have you shape soulmelds that give you access to maneuvers, and also have benefits from essentia and binding. To recover maneuvers you have to disinvest all essentia but can reinvest next turn as normal. That's easier than the swordsage but a bit harder than warblade.

    Takes some doing to make maneuvers scale with level, but it would be even uglier to have more soulmelds unlock as you level. Tricky.

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    Default Re: Incarnum/Tome of Battle crossover - soulborn redo, new melds, new discipline (PEA

    Quote Originally Posted by Garryl View Post
    - Maneuvers have some passive effect while essentia is invested. This lets them count as mini soulmelds and stops it from feeling bad to leave essentia in them in preparation of future use without actually initiating them.
    I like the idea of a school (or schools) of maneuvers that function like mini-soulmelds, letting you invest essentia into them for benefits even without initiating them. This also makes Martial Study or multiclassing to get access to this school a viable build for the original MoI classes. Might be a lot more work, though; I've got little-to-no experience with this kind of thing.

    EDIT:
    Quote Originally Posted by Elves View Post
    This is functionally similar to the "dischargeable soulmelds" idea. It does have the problem that it could disincentivize initiating maneuvers at all, and all those little bonuses could be a nuisance to track...
    The way I was picturing it, initiating maneuvers wouldn't lose the essentia or the passive benefit. So in some cases it is a good idea to reinvest that essentia (like if the passive benefit was improving just that strike), but a lot of the time they'll function just like soulmelds, with reinvestment being something done to adapt to changing circumstances rather than a necessity.

    The main potential problem I see with this is that they're not really that distinct from ordinary soulmelds, but even then you're still getting a full maneuver out of them as well.
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    Default Re: Incarnum/Tome of Battle crossover - soulborn redo, new melds, new discipline (PEA

    Deciding between these 2 options for how the TOB soulborn works:

    1) You shape normal soulmelds. Each one you shape grants you a number of maneuvers that are variations on its effect. Using one of the maneuvers denies you the benefit of the soulmeld until the maneuver is recovered. Their strength is based on how much essentia you have invested in the parent soulmeld at the time of use. Example here.

    2) There's a separate incarnum discipline with maneuvers that can have essentia invested in them. Essentia invested in a maneuver isn't returned to your pool until the maneuver is recovered, so you have to be careful about spending your points (meaning you might want to spread them out, instead of spending all at once).

    Interested to know, which do people think is better?
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    Default Re: Incarnum/Tome of Battle crossover - soulborn redo, new melds, new discipline (PEA

    To answer that specific question, the second one.

    I kinda think this whole thing should just be a PrC instead of a full class, though. Martial adepts still receive a 1/2 progression on initiator level when taking character levels in non-initiating classes; it's not a build-killer for them to try and qualify for a gestalting PrC the way it is for spellcasters.

    Instead of trying to write out a bunch of new maneuvers or soulmeld options, maybe have this theoretical 'initiator/meldshaper' PrC grant class features that interact with pre-existing maneuvers/soulmelds via essentia. Probably ideal entries for such a PrC would be a crusader/soulborn or a swordsage/totemist.

    As far as 'fixing' the soulborn, I'd probably just do the following:
    1) Raise the incarnate's BAB prog to full and raise its HD size to d10/d12.
    2) Add any soulborn-unique soulmelds to the incarnate's soulmeld list.
    3) Delete the rest of the original soulborn class and decide which of the two names to call the new one.
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    Default Re: Incarnum/Tome of Battle crossover - soulborn redo, new melds, new discipline (PEA

    We do have a general incarnum/TOB PRC -- take a look here. The idea is that it will be for a generic theurge character, while this base class provides a new and different approach to both systems.

    Quote Originally Posted by Edea View Post
    Instead of trying to write out a bunch of new maneuvers or soulmeld options, maybe have this theoretical 'initiator/meldshaper' PrC grant class features that interact with pre-existing maneuvers/soulmelds via essentia.
    The PRC above does give some completely generic investment benefits, but I think custom benefits are too tedious to do unless it's a base class.

    3) Delete the rest of the original soulborn class and decide which of the two names to call the new one.
    This is basically meant to be a complete remake -- I just like the name and think it fits well as a TOB class name, and no one uses the original soulborn so I don't mind reusing it.
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    Default Re: Incarnum/Tome of Battle crossover - soulborn redo, new melds, new discipline (PEA

    Quote Originally Posted by Elves View Post
    Deciding between these 2 options for how the TOB soulborn works:

    1) You shape normal soulmelds. Each one you shape grants you a number of maneuvers that are variations on its effect. Using one of the maneuvers denies you the benefit of the soulmeld until the maneuver is recovered. Their strength is based on how much essentia you have invested in the parent soulmeld at the time of use. Example here.

    2) There's a separate incarnum discipline with maneuvers that can have essentia invested in them. Essentia invested in a maneuver isn't returned to your pool until the maneuver is recovered, so you have to be careful about spending your points (meaning you might want to spread them out, instead of spending all at once).

    Interested to know, which do people think is better?
    I like 1 better, but it seems like your numbers and abilities change a lot if you are disabling soul melds. I'd have each soulmeld allow a couple maneuvers, which upgrade with your level, and have the recovery mechanism be just that you can't use them until you recover them. Possibly by dumping your loose essentia for a turn. Maybe some other mechanism.

    You are going to need to pretty drastically limit number of soulmelds shaped so you don't overshadow the real meldshapers or real martial adepts.

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    Default Re: Incarnum/Tome of Battle crossover - soulborn redo, new melds, new discipline (PEA

    Quote Originally Posted by Glimbur View Post
    I like 1 better, but it seems like your numbers and abilities change a lot if you are disabling soul melds.
    That's the right kind of thing to be concerned about. My hope is it's manageable because you're not adding anything on the fly, you have the same set of soulmelds for the day and their benefits just get turned off at certain points.

    and have the recovery mechanism be just that you can't use them until you recover them.
    I don't want them to simply have both systems at once.

    You are going to need to pretty drastically limit number of soulmelds shaped so you don't overshadow the real meldshapers or real martial adepts.
    Since they're parallel options effectively filling the same maneuver slot, it doesn't matter that they get more options in an absolute sense. In practice, they get fewer, but with more functions to choose from.

    You're right that it's probably excessive to give each soulmeld 5 maneuver functions.

    ---


    Man, I'm just so divided on this.

    1) seems like a great way of giving them soulmelds and maneuvers at the same time without the excessive complexity of being an actual theurge.

    With 2), I really like the system of "offensive soulmelds". And some of the maneuvers have cool names. But it seems wrong for the soulborn to not have traditional soulmelds.

    So 1 is in the lead, but I'm trying to think of a way to add the Warrior's Soul discipline without the class becoming too much.
    Last edited by Elves; 2020-07-21 at 07:45 PM.
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    Default Re: Incarnum/Tome of Battle crossover - soulborn redo, new melds, new discipline (PEA

    Quote Originally Posted by Elves View Post
    Man, I'm just so divided on this.

    1) seems like a great way of giving them soulmelds and maneuvers at the same time without the excessive complexity of being an actual theurge.

    With 2), I really like the system of "offensive soulmelds". And some of the maneuvers have awesome names. But it seems wrong for the soulborn to not have traditional soulmelds.

    So 1 is in the lead, but I'm trying to think of a way to add the Warrior's Soul discipline without the class becoming too much.
    Okay, actually getting around to responding now, the big thing is that 1) is a needless variation on the Discipline Soulmelds, consequently resulting in enormously stepping on the Soul Disciple's toes by way of extensive overlap. And by attaching new Maneuvers to existing Soulmelds, you create an issue with implied complexity, as you have reason for players to assume every Soulborn Soulmeld should have such a from-scratch suite, including homebrewed-in Soulmelds.

    The thing with 1) should be new Soulmelds for existing Maneuvers, as this removes the implied complexity issues. This serves as a source of much more fodder for new Soulmelds, and a much better "closed in" structure for the Discipline Soulmelds, making for broader benefits to Soul Disciple's list assimilation and keeping away from the usual issue of combination explosions. It also means goodies for alternate Soulborn fixes that don't turn it into a semi-theurge, and the resultant "fixed" Soulborn still keeps all the original flavor's Soulmelds because it's still primarily a Meldshaper, just with a sizable number of Maneuver-granting Soulmelds. Sort of makes the Soul Disciple a "Prestige Soulborn", but that's not entirely a bad thing.

    On 2), if you go this direction, do not give the Soulborn a full Meldshaping complement, make it more true to the Paladin/Cleric comparison by having things more closely follow 1/2-3 levels of Incarnate (lower peak, better start), then give Maneuvers of something like 3+1/3 levels, with Readied at 2+1/6 levels. Slightly less Initiating than Warblade, but accelerates its primary Discipline quite effectively into making up for being relatively light on true Initiating and lacking proper Soulmelds. This would involve a lot more care with Warrior's Soul to have it on par with a Swordsage's or Crusader's other options for Disciplines, but mean the Soulborn matches them by accelerating Warrior's Soul to match what Swordsage and Crusader can get up to.

    The main thing is basically picking whether you want the Soulborn to be a Meldshaper with a few Maneuvers, or an Initiator with some Essentia. Properly being both in any sense is basically impossible to balance, as the subsystems are both being extremely friendly to accelerating and widening like mad with dips and feats. Having any such theurgy be present while still having a point for the Soul Disciple is rather unlikely.

    Granted, you could embrace this and in some way render the Soulborn into a "base PRC" that theurges the two subsystems intentionally but innately possesses little enough as to need dips of other classes of the subsystems to properly operate as such, instead of running off Warrior's Soul leveraging the limited access to each to bolster the other to a somewhat normal state.
    ---

    Regarding Warrior's Soul, I still think that generalizing the "exotic" Soulmeld mechanics is important, with External Soulmelds instead of Offensive as an application modifier that just asks for contact to be able to modify the Essentia investment and have a Con save for the target to empty them of Essentia, consequently making it mild enough in penalties or duration to be a relative non-issue, while having the Essentia transfer/lock for Warrior's Soul application be just how the Discipline does it. Again, gives more design space for existing Incarnum classes instead of tying everything to the specific interface points of Soulborn and Soul Disciple.

    I still have issues with it being "the Incarnum Discipline". The ultimate decision point is whether to prioritize the external Soulmeld mechanic as a shorthand for de/buffs selectable from a list, or the notion of Martial needs being supplied by Essentia. The former can be flavored around Necrocarnum, memories of soulless things, and possibly some description of spiritual poison, while the latter would be very heavily focused on learning from Essentia, directly calling up accomplished warriors to Do Stuff, and/or Essentia for physical enhancement.

    The most particular design space, to me, would be the "memories of soulless things" making for a "conjuration" bent that gives a decent variety of options for the unified list, as it pretty much turns into a list of on-the-spot equipment with streamlined rules, or the calling of actual souls to be doing the thing instead of the knowledge to do the thing, which brings up the possibility of all sorts of poltergeist shenanigans with extra Incoporeal attacks and such, and still has room for External Soulmelds as a haunting type of thing, in which the auto-grapple is an angry ghost strangling the person, instead of a chain or rope around their limbs.

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    Default Re: Incarnum/Tome of Battle crossover - soulborn redo, new melds, new discipline (PEA

    Quote Originally Posted by Morphic tide View Post
    Okay, actually getting around to responding now
    Convenient timing as I was just working on this class last night.

    The thing that underlies option 2 is the idea of martial soulmelds, which effectively means preparing your maneuvers like a wizard instead of knowing them like a sorcerer. But when I reflected, I realized limiting this to a single discipline spoils the mechanic by clamping down on the variation that is its whole point. So I think the martial soulmelds would be better as a PRC mechanic applied on top of a character who already has access to both disciplines and soulmelds, effectively allowing them to swap a soulmeld slot for a floating known maneuver that can change from day to day. Yes, this is redundant with the new discipline soulmelds Soul Disciple currently uses, so one or the other may have to go, but the upshot is that this isn't the mechanic that seems best for the soulborn base class.

    (There's still a place for a dedicated incarnum discipline in the above scheme, because it allows custom essentia and chakra effects, rather than generic ones. Access would be granted by the PRC or it would be available generally. Whether the incarnum discipline maneuvers are always martial soulmelds or can also be learned as normal maneuvers is up for question.)

    So I've been running with option 1, and the mockup will be posted tonight or tomorrow.

    The thing with 1) should be new Soulmelds for existing Maneuvers, as this removes the implied complexity issues.
    Or simply attaching existing maneuvers to existing soulmelds. The advantage of custom soulmeld maneuvers is that they get to interact with the soulmeld's base abilities (or, by being variations on it, they become easier to balance with it, given the temporary denial mechanic).

    But it's a great point that while some of the maneuvers can be new, others can just be "Steel Wind" or "Pouncing Charge". That will really speed up finishing this, so thank you for mentioning that.

    Regarding Warrior's Soul, I still think that generalizing the "exotic" Soulmeld mechanics is important, with External Soulmelds instead of Offensive as an application modifier that just asks for contact to be able to modify the Essentia investment
    Good point, these can be buffs just as well as debuffs.

    The most particular design space, to me, would be [..] a "conjuration" bent that gives a decent variety of options for the unified list, as it pretty much turns into a list of on-the-spot equipment with streamlined rules
    or the calling of actual souls, which brings up the possibility of all sorts of poltergeist shenanigans with extra Incoporeal attacks and such, and still has room for External Soulmelds as a haunting type of thing, in which the auto-grapple is an angry ghost strangling the person, instead of a chain or rope around their limbs.
    These are both good ideas with enough scope to fill an entire PRC or base class (an artificer-like meldshaper who literally shapes temporary on-the-spot magic items, and a true necrocarnum necromancer). They're outside of the scope of this project I think though.

    --

    So in summary, I'm doing a soulborn mockup based on option 1 that I'll post shortly, and am looking at remaking the soul disciple along the lines of option 2.


    Now I did have an idea for how "martial soulmelds" could work under option 1:

    Martial Soulmeld: When you chakra-bind a maneuver with a Martial Soulmeld entry, you can give up the soulmeld's normal normal maneuver options to instead gain a single maneuver from the specified discipline. [Maneuver level restriction]. As normal, initiating the maneuver denies you the benefit of the soulmeld until the maneuver is recovered.

    Basically, some soulmelds have a linked discipline (eg Sailor's Bracers = Ocean Soul). You can give up the soulmeld's normal granted maneuvers to instead gain a maneuver from that discipline, similar to a discipline item.
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    Default Re: Incarnum/Tome of Battle crossover - soulborn redo, new melds, new discipline (PEA

    I realized an incentive problem. If initiating a soulmeld's maneuvers denies you the soulmeld's benefits until it's recovered, that means you want to chakra-bind melds whose maneuvers you don't want to use, because losing the meld's benefits hurts you more.

    Currently, I have this offset by access to an exclusive maneuver for chakra-binding, and in some cases, normal maneuvers with additional bind benefits.

    But maybe it would be better to put the normal benefits and chakra bind benefits on separate cooldowns. In other words, initiating one of a soulmeld's normal maneuvers only denies you its normal benefits; you lose its chakra-bind benefits only if you initiate its exclusive chakra maneuver.


    ------


    Here are some of the melds I've done so far by the way. Note that the essentia benefits are based on the essentia invested in the base soulmeld -- you don't invest essentia in these maneuvers individually.

    Spoiler: Cerulean Sandals
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    Adhesive Steps (Boost): Swift action. The bottoms of your sandals glow blue and gain the ability to adhere to any surface. For 1 round, +1 round per point of invested essentia, you can move normally across surfaces regardless of their orientation, and you donít need to make Balance checks for the purpose of staying steady on narrow or uneven surfaces.

    Cerulean Footprints (Rush): Move up to your speed. You retain the benefit of your sandals until this movement ends. Each space you leave is filled with glowing blue footprints. Allies who travel in these spaces gain the normal benefit of your sandals for the purpose of walking on water and enhancing their speed. They lose these benefits if they leave the area of your footprints, which ends their movement if it puts them at or above their normal movement allowance. The footprints last 1 round, +1 round per point of invested essentia .

    Cerulean Glide (Counter): You can initiate this counter when you would trip or fail a Balance check, or immediately upon entering a slippery area such as that of a grease spell. Your sandals glide you to safety, preventing you from falling and allowing you to take a free 5-foot step. If the triggering effect was a slippery area, then instead of taking a 5-foot step, you glide forward until you leave the area. This movement doesnít provoke attacks of opportunity.

    You canít glide further than your base speed as part of this maneuver, but you can use your subsequent move actions to continue to glide, moving at double speed over the slippery surface in the same straight line. However, your movement now provokes as normal.

    Cerulean Speed (Boost): Until the end of your next turn, your base speed for all movement modes increases by 10 feet per point of essentia invested.

    Cerulean Transit (Rush) [Feet Chakra]: You teleport 5 feet per point of essentia invested. The destination must be within your line of sight.


    Spoiler: Claws of the Wyrm
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    Claw at a Distance (Strike): Standard or full-round action. You make a clawing motion, and an image of your claws of the wyrm appear beside and strike a distant opponent. Make a single or full attack with your claws against a target up to 5 ft./ML outside of your normal melee reach.

    Glowing Blue Claw Marks (Strike): Standard or full-round action. You slash at the air with your claws, and the glowing blue tracks of their passage hover in place for a few moments. Make a single or full attack with your claws into an unoccupied space. Roll for both attack and damage. The first creature who enters that space is subject to those attacks, with the same attack and damage results. The trap lasts until this maneuver is recovered. The glowing blue claw marks in the air are clearly visible.

    Lashing Claw (Counter): As the Wyrmís Might maneuver.

    Slice and Dice (Strike) [Arms Chakra]: Standard or full-round action. Make a single melee attack or melee full attack with your claws. Each point of invested essentia grants you an exra claw attack, or an extra attack with each claw if youíre making a full attack. Each extra attack is made at a cumulative -5 penalty. If youíre making a full attack, the penalties are only cumulative per-claw.

    Piercing Dragonclasp (Strike) [Hands Chakra]: As part of this maneuver, you try to establish or maintain a grapple. You use the result of a claw attack roll instead of a grapple check, and if you win, you can choose to deal claw damage instead of unarmed damage.


    Spoiler: Elemental Cincture
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    Elemental Cincture Adaptation (Counter): You can initiate this maneuver when you take energy damage of a type your cincture doesnít protect against. Your cincture changes to protecting against that type of energy.

    Elemental Incarnum Rush (Rush): You can only initiate this maneuver on your first turn after your cincture prevents energy damage. As part of this maneuver, you move your speed, with an additional effect that depends on what type of damage your cincture last absorbed: [Abridged]

    Elemental Incarnum Strike (Strike): Standard or full-round action. You can only initiate this maneuver on your first turn after your cincture absorbs energy damage. Make a melee attack or full attack. Each attack that hits deals additional energy damage of the type and quantity your cincture last absorbed, to a maximum number of points equal to 5 + 5 per invested essentia. The energy is colored blue, as itís a reactive formation of your own incarnum.

    Beltblast (Boost) [Waist Chakra]: As part of this boost, you expel absorbed energy as with the cinctureís chakra effect, but instead of affecting a single target within 60 feet, the effect targets all creatures and objects within your choice of a 15-foot cone, 5-foot burst or 30-foot line.


    Spoiler: Lucky Dice
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    Birthluck (Utility): Two full-round actions. As part of this maneuver, reroll your base (before racial modifiers) ability scores, using 4d6 drop the lowest, in order from Strength to Charisma. Lasts until recovered or dismissed. Your altered scores donít let you qualify for permanent decisions such as feats or classes, but they can make you ineligible for feats you possess. Usable a number of times per day equal to the essentia cap of this maneuver.

    Fate-Eager Hazard (Boost): You can use this boost before you make a d20 roll that will be affected by the bonus from your lucky dice. You can make the roll twice and choose the better result. However, if either roll is a natural 1, the roll counts as a natural 1.

    Hail Pelor (Boost): You have a 25% chance of being able to perform two other swift actions.

    Lucky Strike (Strike): Make a single melee or ranged attack. You have a 50% chance of hitting, minus 5% for each HD more than you target has or plus 5% for each HD they have less than you. Miss chance and concealment apply normally.

    Sway Fateís Hand (Counter) [Hands Chakra]: As fate-eager hazard, but applies to an ally when they make a roll boosted by your lucky dice.


    Spoiler: Mauling Gauntlets
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    Mauling Bull (Strike): As the charging minotaur maneuver, but you gain the normal bonus your gauntlets would provide on the bull rush attempt, and the bludgeoning damage you deal equals 1d8 + 1d8 per invested essentia + your Strength modifier.

    Pulverizing Blow (Strike): Make a single melee attack with a two-handed weapon, slam attack or gore attack. If you have the Improved Unarmed Strike feat, you can also use an unarmed strike. Your attack ignores the hardness of objects and the damage reduction of constructs, and deals an additional 2d6 damage per invested essentia. If your gauntlets are bound, you retain their chakra benefit until this maneuver is resolved.

    Tossing Bull (Strike): Full-round action. Attempt a bull rush that isnít part of a charge; if you succeed, you can immediately attempt another bull rush against a different target as part of the same action. In neither case do you need to follow the opponents you bull rush if you succeed. Starting at 4th level, when you knock a creature into a solid object with one of these bull rushes, they take damage equal to 1d8 + 1d8 per invested essentia + your Strength modifier.

    Wrecker (Boost): For two rounds, all structures and unattended objects within your melee reach take half the melee damage you deal to targets within your melee reach.

    Devastating Blow (Strike) [Arms Chakra]: Make a single melee attack. It automatically threatens a critical hit, and ignores a creatureís natural immunity to critical hits (but not immunity gained from items).

    Mauling Brawler (Stance) [Hands Chakra]: When you enter this stance, your blue metallic fists grow spikes and are swathed in incarnum vapor. You gain two primary slam attacks that deal 1d6 crushing and piercing damage for a Medium creature and have an effective hardness of 10 for the purpose of sundering and attacking objects. Each point of invested essentia increases their hardness by 3 points. If you hit a creature with both of your slam attacks as part of the same full attack, you can choose to knock them back 5 feet per point of invested essentia, -5 feet per size category larger than you they are. If this causes them to hit an object, they take 1d8 + your Strength modifier damage.
    Last edited by Elves; 2020-08-06 at 02:47 PM.
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    Default Re: Incarnum/Tome of Battle crossover - soulborn redo, new melds, new discipline (PEA

    Still weighing whether to split the deactivation for the chakra effect and base effect.

    That would make it easier to balance, because it gives each soulmeld two compartmentalized choices: base effect vs standard maneuvers, and chakra effect vs chakra maneuver. It also removes the unwanted incentive to bind soulmelds whose standard maneuvers you don't want to use. However, it adds complexity.

    The alternative is to give nearly every non-chakra maneuver a bonus for being chakra-bound in order to counteract the incentive problem I mentioned. This keeps it structurally simpler but could risk being tedious.
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    Default Re: Incarnum/Tome of Battle crossover - soulborn redo, new melds, new discipline (PEA

    Splitting the deactivation doesn't work in many cases, now that I look at their soulmeld list. In principle, it might be the better option, but given the soulmelds that actually exist, it's too finicky. Extra chakra benefits for normal soulmeld maneuvers it is.


    The only thing that leaves me undecided on is how to give them their basic offensive capability (which will also serve to split their essentia at the low levels when they only have 1 soulmeld).
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