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- Jun 2009
[PEACH] Base Class Contest Entry: The Totemist
I'm getting close to finished with my entry for the Base Class Contest (see it here!) and I could use some feedback on it.
As the theme of the contest is recreating classes from older editions, and because I always enjoyed the Magic of Incarnum classes, I'm creating an updated version of the Totemist (my favorite of the big three meldshapers). To better fit 5e's style, and more specifically the fact that players are not expected to have a lot of magic items in it, I've trimmed the number of meld slots. Essentia is also now a spendable resource (regained on a short rest) rather than one that can be reallocated but never really used up. Investing essentia remains a factor of the class, but now it is invested after spending it to use the more powerful effects of melds. There is no longer a difference between shaping a meld and binding it to a chakra either, with all melds having the improved functionality of a chakra bind whenever shaped.
Because of the size of the class (due to having to also include all of the melds for it), I've set it up on GMBinder.
Spoiler: The ClassThe Totemist
A wild-looking man carves a wooden mask, giving it the features of a fearsome wolf. When he puts the mask on his face, he begins to take on the characteristics of a wolf himself, and the mask becomes as animate as his own flesh.
A heavily-tattooed dwarf stands before an army of foes. As battle commences, his tattoos come alive, seeming to take the shape of living flames.
An ancient half-orc sheds her heavy winter coat, swapping it for lighter spring garments as she celebrates the equinox. In the morning, she will wake up with the face and body of a much younger woman.
The totemist is a wielder of primal essence, trapping the idealized power of various natural beasts and monstrosities in objects or patterns which they wear on their person.
Totemists, much like druids and rangers, draw on the power of nature, but rather than working spells with the aid of spirits or nature deities, they draw on the essential concept of wild creatures, especially beasts and monstrosities. Shaping these essences into objects which can be worn on their person allows totemists to draw on the powers of the creature it was based on, or even abstract powers based on what that creature represents.
Objects created by a totemist are imbued with a magical energy, called essentia by some. Essentia produces a resonating effect; a totemist can infuse an object with essentia from their own spirit to call on deeper powers temporarily, and essentia so infused causes the object to be more powerful for a time.
Totemists spend much of their time with their essentia intermingled with the essentia of wild or savage creatures, and it begins to reflect back upon their personality with time. Almost every totemist becomes a little bit feral as they learn to shape the melds, and they tend to wear rough-made garments of hide and prefer simple or brutal weapons such as spears or axes, if they don't choose to fight with claws or teeth gained through use of a meld.
When forced to interact with other people in civilization, totemists tend to be terse and direct, and most are not comfortable in cities for too long. Their hearts yearn for wild lands and wild beings too strongly for that.
I haven't yet gotten around to normalizing essentia costs, but besides that are there any glaring problems with the class's mechanics? Are there any parts that you particularly like and would the class be better served by leaning into those parts more? Are there things that could be written more clearly?Currently operating the 5e Subclass Contest and the 5e Base Class Contest. Check them out if even just to vote or give feedback, we love that in there.