A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
You can get A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2 now at Gumroad
Page 2 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast
Results 31 to 60 of 100
  1. - Top - End - #31
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    May 2013

    Default Re: What would t1 Incarnum look like?

    Quote Originally Posted by RandomPeasant View Post
    So your question is "if we add a bunch of mechanics that aren't Incarnum to Incarnum, can we make it better than Incarnum"? Again, how is that remotely a theoretically interesting question? Obviously if you can write up a bunch of daily abilities that are as good as the Wizard, they did that and it's called the Wizard. Maybe it's a practically interesting question if you want to go out and do it, but as far as discussions go "can you write a bunch of abilities that are themed around blue soul magic that are level-appropriate for a party of a Wizard, a Cleric, and a Druid" is not some challenging topic.
    The constraint of Soulmelds as number of available effects, which places an inherent limit of 11 on-hand if I recall my slots correctly, makes for a fairly significant limitation. As does having most of them be mutually exclusive with item slots. Alongside Essentia allocation. Soulmelds getting unshaped is already a thing, even, it just isn't used as a cost. Hell, it actually already exists on one Soulmeld, the Bloodwar Gauntlets. Which is 9d6 damage in a 20 ft. burst on a 9th level ability, increasing to 12d6 at 12th, 15d6 at 15th, and 18d6 at 17th, purely by class features. Between the Foci and Expanded Soulmeld Capacity, you can tack +6d6 on, matching Empower at 12th level for no lasting additional cost (unless I missed something about Essentia in destroyed receptacles being lost) and you have passive bonuses for having it ready to go off.

    Terrible by blasting spell standards, but not actually by critically much in terms of being worth comparing, and the Incarnate manages to have its scaling roughly on time within the constraints of the chunkiness of Essentia. Make that damage based on Meldshaper Level instead and render its area scaling in those 20 ft. increments per Essentia, and I do believe we have a usable blasting spell-alike, as it'd be 60 ft. radius at 9th level. Twice the area of a Fireball, and getting dramatically larger over time. Using Meldshaper Level instead makes it a far smoother comparison for these things.

    Not being particularly willing to comb through over 200 pages past 11 PM to try and find an example, what I'll say on Essentia expense is that the core rules establish a default of recovering as ability damage does, including Restoration resetting the total amount, and it's a much more sensible way of modeling how Cerulean Sandals works than its depletion of the teleport limit having absolutely no effect on the movement speed bonus despite actually running out that teleport limit unshaping the Soulmeld altogether.
    Last edited by Morphic tide; 2021-07-25 at 10:44 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #32
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2019

    Default Re: What would t1 Incarnum look like?

    Quote Originally Posted by RandomPeasant View Post
    And that's the point. planar binding isn't unique in that it will be, in practice, restricted to what is appropriate for the table. But that's not what the Tiers ask, because the goal is to be something that is useful across a range of tables. If your answer to "how are imbalances handled" is "the table doesn't allow imbalanced things", the whole point of the Tiers becomes meaningless.
    Planar Binding is extremely versatile. I just don't think that gate alone is enough to really put truenamer and healer into T2. It's a versatile spell, but is extremely limited by resources and character commitments depending on services rendered. Casting Wish as a spell is extremely versatile, but that 5000 xp cost per cast extremely limits how many times you could ever cast it during an adventure. Gate also has a 1000 xp cost per cast in addition to the cost of service.

  3. - Top - End - #33
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGirl

    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Michigan
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: What would t1 Incarnum look like?

    Even if it increased the truenamer to tier 3 the point would still stand
    Quote Originally Posted by RandomPeasant View Post
    But that doesn't show up in the Tiers, which is my point. There's not a separate "Truenamer After Gate" entry. Outliers don't get counted separately in any other case, just this one. I have no idea why that is, but I suspect it was either "there was some ongoing heated debate about that Vestige when JaronK compiled his list" or "JaronK was a big Binder fanboy".
    It wasn't in the list, but if you read the discussions it was brought up and largely agreed that healer and truenamer jumped to T2 for those levels.


    Quote Originally Posted by RandomPeasant View Post
    Only for a pretty small window. At low levels, you can't make the UMD check reliably enough. At high levels, 4th level spells don't cut it (you can extend that a bit by dumpster-diving, but then you get into comparative optimization questions). There's a window between, say, 4th and 8th where you can do a decent Wizard impersonation. But that's a really small window, and outside that window (frankly, outside of specifically spell-storing item) I've never seen anything you can do with Infusions that sounded all that impressive.
    at level 2 you can hit 9 from feats, 5 from skill points another 3 from an infusion, then charisma bonus for 17-21. Before flaws or traits
    Last edited by Lans; 2021-07-26 at 01:09 AM.

  4. - Top - End - #34
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Nov 2010

    Default Re: What would t1 Incarnum look like?

    I think the main thing locking incarnum out of higher tiers is a lack of options. More support throughout more books would have easily lifted it a tier at least. Otherwise, it is difficult to ever see an incarnum user to be better than a binder, as at their core they have the same mechanical schtick. Except binder abilities scale automatically and incarnum abilities require investment to scale.

    Further, the class is built around daily versatility. In practice, your feat choices and skills will lock you in to just a few options.

  5. - Top - End - #35
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    ElfWarriorGuy

    Join Date
    Apr 2019

    Default Re: What would t1 Incarnum look like?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darg View Post
    Planar Binding is extremely versatile. I just don't think that gate alone is enough to really put truenamer and healer into T2. It's a versatile spell, but is extremely limited by resources and character commitments depending on services rendered. Casting Wish as a spell is extremely versatile, but that 5000 xp cost per cast extremely limits how many times you could ever cast it during an adventure. Gate also has a 1000 xp cost per cast in addition to the cost of service.
    Remember that Truenamer doesn't have to pay any XP cost and gets to cast gate once per minute. And since you would have spent a decent amount of resources upping your Truespeak check, you should get to cast it a fair amount of times per day.

  6. - Top - End - #36
    Spamalot in the Playground
     
    Psyren's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: What would t1 Incarnum look like?

    There are two ways to make a T2-T0 incarnum user:

    - give it actual spellcasting or psionics through a soulmeld (e.g. "Archmage's Accessory" which grants access to X spell slots depending on essentia investment, and tie the max level of those spell slots to the chakra you've bound it to, up to and including 9th-level spells.)

    - give it access to a specific but extremely versatile spell or ability (e.g. Shadow Conjuration, Gate, or Polymorph/Shapechange) with a high number of uses/day, again likely tied to essentia invested.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
    Plague Doctor by Crimmy
    Ext. Sig (Handbooks/Creations)

  7. - Top - End - #37
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jun 2015

    Default Re: What would t1 Incarnum look like?

    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    There are two ways to make a T2-T0 incarnum user:

    - give it actual spellcasting or psionics through a soulmeld (e.g. "Archmage's Accessory" which grants access to X spell slots depending on essentia investment, and tie the max level of those spell slots to the chakra you've bound it to, up to and including 9th-level spells.)

    - give it access to a specific but extremely versatile spell or ability (e.g. Shadow Conjuration, Gate, or Polymorph/Shapechange) with a high number of uses/day, again likely tied to essentia invested.
    You mean two main ways?
    You can actually write different abilities with powers comparable to spells(like "go through the monster manuals and pick something cool" and "create tons of different stuff" and "this soulmeld makes your friends awesome and immune to attacks in general") each associated to a soul meld but that would take a lot longer.
    You could also make magic item soul melds (like you meld in magic items with equivalent cost proportional to the invested incarnum)
    Last edited by noob; 2021-07-26 at 10:57 AM.

  8. - Top - End - #38
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGirl

    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Michigan
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: What would t1 Incarnum look like?

    What is the 'weakest' tier one? The one that just barely gets over the line.
    Last edited by Lans; 2021-07-26 at 11:59 AM.

  9. - Top - End - #39
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGirl

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Gender
    Female

    Default Re: What would t1 Incarnum look like?

    Not reading the above really, but just vibing speculatively:

    - Ability to cast spells (from any list perhaps, or unlocked by feats or features) as rituals. As in, you can cast any spell by a 10 x level min ritual, as long as you allocate its level in Essentia to having access to spells from a class that can cast it. This ritual casting lets you do out of combat utility as you please. Basically Sha'ir spellcasting I suppose.

    - That... might be enough, actually?

  10. - Top - End - #40
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGirl

    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Michigan
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: What would t1 Incarnum look like?

    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    There are two ways to make a T2-T0 incarnum user:

    - give it actual spellcasting or psionics through a soulmeld (e.g. "Archmage's Accessory" which grants access to X spell slots depending on essentia investment, and tie the max level of those spell slots to the chakra you've bound it to, up to and including 9th-level spells.)

    - give it access to a specific but extremely versatile spell or ability (e.g. Shadow Conjuration, Gate, or Polymorph/Shapechange) with a high number of uses/day, again likely tied to essentia invested.
    What do you think about my idea of making Incarnate Avatar with a soul bind give the abilities of blue salad, astral deva, marut or nycalyth?

  11. - Top - End - #41
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    May 2021

    Default Re: What would t1 Incarnum look like?

    One thing that I think is interesting is thinking about how the mechanics in Magic of Incarnum should be divvied out between classes. Because Incarnum stacks a couple of different concepts on top of each other, and that ends up with a confused mess.

    Probably the best-known aspect of Incarnum is Essentia. You get a pool of points and you can power up different abilities by moving those points around. That's honestly entirely sufficient for a class without any of the extra stuff about Chakra Binds and tradeoffs with magic items and all the class-specific stuff that gets layered on top. Moving points between abilities makes for a very flexible character, with an interesting gameplay dynamic. Stuck at long range? Power up your ranged attacks or gap-closers. Enemy closer than you want them? Move points to melee, defensives, or an escape ability. It's also a very elegant mechanic for a minion-based class, as it gives a natural tradeoff between the summoner and any summons that can mitigate some of the issues mooks often cause.

    But the Chakra Binds are also an interesting system. It's over-done, with entirely too many Chakras, meaning there's rarely a relevant tradeoff about where you want to put your Soulmelds and no real identity for any given Chakra. But a simpler system, where you had maybe four or five Chakras, could be interesting. Done right, you could allow a very wide variety of characters off a deceptively small list of powers.

    And while Chakra Binds as a whole are interesting, the Totemist takes it even further by having what is effectively a single "super" Chakra. You can be channeling the Winter Wolf, Displacer Beast, and Girallon, but which one of those you put in your Totem chakra determines the primary focus of your character. That's interesting for a Binder-like class, where the same abilities can provide major and minor sources of character differentiation.

    Finally, there's the thing where Soulmelds trade off with Magic Items. Frankly, I think as-written it's too much of a pain to be worth it. The amount of flexibility 3e allows with magic items means it's mostly an increase in accounting rather than a real tradeoff, and it's a bad thing to have just for a small subset of classes. But in general, the idea of some class abilities trading off with magic items seems like it has the potential to solve a lot of problems. No more worrying about not getting the right things from the Magic Mart, because you can backfill with buffs and come out okay. It becomes much harder for divine power or Wild Shape to allow you to replace a frontliner, because those things would actually put you behind relative to the Fighter.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darg View Post
    I just don't think that gate alone is enough to really put truenamer and healer into T2. It's a versatile spell, but is extremely limited by resources and character commitments depending on services rendered. Casting Wish as a spell is extremely versatile, but that 5000 xp cost per cast extremely limits how many times you could ever cast it during an adventure. Gate also has a 1000 xp cost per cast in addition to the cost of service.
    Except none of that is really true, particularly for the Truenamer. Using gate as an absurdly overpowered version of summon monster explicitly doesn't require payment ("you need not make any agreement or pay any reward for the creatureÂ’s help"), and neither does the Free Vacation: No Save. The XP cost is avoided by the Truenamer, and doesn't matter all that much anyway, as by the time you hit 20th level you're getting more than 1k XP per fight.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lans View Post
    It wasn't in the list, but if you read the discussions it was brought up and largely agreed that healer and truenamer jumped to T2 for those levels.
    Sure, but I have to imagine those discussions include a bunch of class-specific caveats. Like how a Stalwart Battle Sorcerer is probably only T3. Or how a Sorcerer with all the stupid Dragon/Kobold cheese is probably T1. Or how any number of other classes move up by some margin if you do someone's favorite trick, or down by some other margin from trap options. But the nominal idea is that all those individual things balance out to a single ranking for each class. You can disagree with that theory, but I think making a special exception specifically for the Binder is bogus, especially because the summon monster Vestige is far from the single most powerful character option in the game.

    at level 2 you can hit 9 from feats, 5 from skill points another 3 from an infusion, then charisma bonus for 17-21. Before flaws or traits
    But that's a lot of investment, and gets you into discussions about comparative optimization. How does the 3rd level Archivist whose build has completely maxed out their UMD compare to, say, a Warmage who's abusing an Ancestral Relic Runestave as far as it will go?

    Quote Originally Posted by weckar View Post
    Except binder abilities scale automatically and incarnum abilities require investment to scale.
    Again, I don't think that's really an accurate assessment of the tradeoffs between the two resource management systems. The Binder's abilities scale automatically, but they get less of them than the Incarnate gets of theirs (roughly half as many Vestiges as Soulmelds, and one less Vestige than Chakra bind). It's true that an individual Vestige does more than a Soulmeld, but there's an element of diminishing returns there, since you can only use one active ability at a time. I haven't done the math on how many Soumelds you can keep fully powered at once, but overall it doesn't seem unreasonable to me that being able to keep up the best three of your six Soulmelds (or whatever the numbers are) could be competitive with having four fully-powered Vestiges at once (again, whatever the real number is).

    Quote Originally Posted by Lans View Post
    What is the 'weakest' tier one? The one that just barely gets over the line.
    According to this list the bottom of T1 is the Spontaneous Druid, and conversely the top of T2 is the Death Master. That said, I don't think looking at the rankings is all that useful, because they're based on people's subjective assessments and you can't go back and ask everyone who contributed to those rankings to assess your Incarnate fix. You're better off figuring out more concrete guidelines for what you expect T1s to be able to do at some level of optimization and iterating against that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Analytica View Post
    - Ability to cast spells (from any list perhaps, or unlocked by feats or features) as rituals. As in, you can cast any spell by a 10 x level min ritual, as long as you allocate its level in Essentia to having access to spells from a class that can cast it. This ritual casting lets you do out of combat utility as you please. Basically Sha'ir spellcasting I suppose.
    That sounds like an unsatisfying, and honestly kind of lazy, solution. Yes, you could get the Incarnate up to T1 by just doing a find/replace of "Soulmelds" and "Spells", but then you really don't have a T1 Incarnate.

  12. - Top - End - #42
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Nov 2009

    Default Re: What would t1 Incarnum look like?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lans View Post
    at level 2 you can hit 9 from feats, 5 from skill points another 3 from an infusion, then charisma bonus for 17-21. Before flaws or traits
    You have four infusions per day. Spending one on 20 minute +3 Skill Enhancement is usually a worse deal than just casting Spell Storing Item. A +9 from feats look something like Azurin picking Shape Soulmeld +6 and Skill Focus +3, and is spending some of most valuable build resources just to prop up borderline competence in something with a 1 minute casting time. You don't normally expect more than +2 Cha even if you consider it a high priority, and UMD is pretty much the only thing you have running off Cha, it's not really doing anything else for you...

    The DC you need to hit for a 1st-level spell is 23. Short of reaching into variant rules, we're looking at about +16, on a character who has dedicated significant build resources to this one trick. And it has a 30% failure rate.

    Truenamers have better success chances than this, and at least their abilities are standard action and don't expend daily expenses and incur XP bookkeeping even on failure...

    Quote Originally Posted by RandomPeasant View Post
    Again, I don't think that's really an accurate assessment of the tradeoffs between the two resource management systems. The Binder's abilities scale automatically, but they get less of them than the Incarnate gets of theirs (roughly half as many Vestiges as Soulmelds, and one less Vestige than Chakra bind). It's true that an individual Vestige does more than a Soulmeld, but there's an element of diminishing returns there, since you can only use one active ability at a time. I haven't done the math on how many Soumelds you can keep fully powered at once, but overall it doesn't seem unreasonable to me that being able to keep up the best three of your six Soulmelds (or whatever the numbers are) could be competitive with having four fully-powered Vestiges at once (again, whatever the real number is).
    Broadly speaking, you can keep ~half your soulmelds filled, although that figure is a bit misleading, because it mostly only limits the number of passive effects you can have on at full power—you normally only need essentia invested when you actually use the effect. There are also a bunch of effects where you only care about the base effect or just want the chakra bind (which is also ~half as many as you have soulmelds).

    Baseline soulmeld essentia load looks something like this, with Expanded Soulmeld Capacity and +1 racial bonus essentia but no essentia-boosting feats:

    Level Incarnate Totemist
    1st 2/0 2/0
    2nd 2/1/0 3/0/0
    3rd 3/1/0 3/0/0
    4th 3/2/0/0 3/1/0/0
    5th 3/2/1/0 3/1/0/0
    6th 4/3/0/0 4/1/0/0
    7th 4/3/1/0/0 4/2/0/0/0
    8th 4/3/2/0/0 4/2/0/0/0
    9th 4/3/3/0/0 4/2/1/0/0
    10th 4/3/3/1/0/0 4/2/2/0/0/0
    11th 4/3/3/2/0/0 4/3/2/0/0/0
    12th 5/4/4/0/0/0 5/4/1/0/0/0
    13th 5/4/4/1/0/0/0 5/4/2/0/0/0/0
    14th 5/4/4/2/0/0/0 5/4/3/0/0/0/0
    15th 6/5/5/1/0/0/0 6/5/2/0/0/0/0
    16th 6/5/5/3/0/0/0/0 6/5/3/0/0/0/0/0
    17th 6/5/5/5/0/0/0/0 6/5/3/1/0/0/0/0
    18th 7/6/6/2/0/0/0/0 7/6/4/0/0/0/0/0
    19th 7/6/6/4/0/0/0/0/0 7/6/4/2/0/0/0/0/0
    20th 7/6/6/6/0/0/0/0/0 7/6/4/4/0/0/0/0/0

    (I'm including Extra Soulmeld Capacity and +1 feat/racial essentia because they have an enormous impact on the meldshapers' low-level power ceiling; that's not to say that things like extra +2-9 essentia you can get from more feats, the +1 capacity of an incarnum focus, the Psycarnum Infusion-like effect of an essentia helm, and a soulstone don't help, they're just not nearly as significant as the extra point at 1st/2nd-level and also what level you'd want to slot them in depends a lot on what you're doing, whereas ESC is kind of a gimme.)

  13. - Top - End - #43
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Zombie

    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Cascadia
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: What would t1 Incarnum look like?

    You know, soulmelds would make for an interesting way to design a minionmancer. They already have necrocarnum zombies and the soulspark familiar, so you could just give them another minion or two and a handful of soulmelds that buff their whole team. Then, they get to make interesting decisions, utilizing their swift action every turn to make sure the right minion has the biggest boost in the right area. And, it would naturally lead to more dramatic fights as whenever one of their minions goes down, the rest of them get stronger. In any challenging fight, there's a chance that you're going to lose at least one of your minions. When that happens, do you press on, potentially pushing your last minion past the breaking point and losing them when they were at their strongest with possibly disaterous results for you and the rest of your party, or do you play it safe (assuming that's even an option)?

  14. - Top - End - #44
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGirl

    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Michigan
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: What would t1 Incarnum look like?

    What does it take to be T1 at levels 1-2? I put a few changes to certain soulmelds on the first page, which would let an Incarnate make a +2 flaming+shocking weapon at level 1 with a reroll a round at level 1, and would let it pull up 3 zombies at level 2.

  15. - Top - End - #45
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    May 2021

    Default Re: What would t1 Incarnum look like?

    Quote Originally Posted by sreservoir View Post
    You have four infusions per day. Spending one on 20 minute +3 Skill Enhancement is usually a worse deal than just casting Spell Storing Item. A +9 from feats look something like Azurin picking Shape Soulmeld +6 and Skill Focus +3, and is spending some of most valuable build resources just to prop up borderline competence in something with a 1 minute casting time. You don't normally expect more than +2 Cha even if you consider it a high priority, and UMD is pretty much the only thing you have running off Cha, it's not really doing anything else for you...
    This is especially true because you don't need all that resource investment in the long run. One you can make yourself a +10 UMD item, and then again when you get to take 10 on UMD checks, you need far less investment to make your items and infusions work correctly. The squeeze low-level Artificers are in, where they need to burn permanent resources to solve a temporary problem, is something that people underestimate the impact of when discussing the class. Especially since other classes can invest those resources in things they'll want long term (I mentioned Ancestral Relic on a Warmage, for example).

    Quote Originally Posted by Lans View Post
    What does it take to be T1 at levels 1-2? I put a few changes to certain soulmelds on the first page, which would let an Incarnate make a +2 flaming+shocking weapon at level 1 with a reroll a round at level 1, and would let it pull up 3 zombies at level 2.
    First level is weird, and how strong a class is at that point has very little correlation with how strong it is in the rest of the game. A 1st level Artificer is pretty pathetic, because they don't have the UMD to do anything interesting. A 1st level Warblade is incredibly powerful, because their durability matters and maneuvers are much closer to spells. Incarnates are pretty close to the top of the heap already at 1st level, because they can get an at-will ranged attack that deals 3d6 damage, meaning they kill pretty much any opponent instantly. Looking at the T1 classes, I would say that only the Cleric and Druid are really top-tier at 1st level, with the other classes at that point being the Warblade, Crusader, Beguiler, and Incarnate (maybe Totemist, but IIRC they don't get good offensive melds until 2nd).

  16. - Top - End - #46
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    May 2013

    Default Re: What would t1 Incarnum look like?

    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    There are two ways to make a T2-T0 incarnum user:

    - give it actual spellcasting or psionics through a soulmeld (e.g. "Archmage's Accessory" which grants access to X spell slots depending on essentia investment, and tie the max level of those spell slots to the chakra you've bound it to, up to and including 9th-level spells.)

    - give it access to a specific but extremely versatile spell or ability (e.g. Shadow Conjuration, Gate, or Polymorph/Shapechange) with a high number of uses/day, again likely tied to essentia invested.
    Or have key spell-equivalent effects in the Soulmelds, via the Bloodwar Gauntlet mechanic or a Meldshaper Level scaling counterpart, while also having some decently versatile stuff at-will like short-range teleports, flight (the amount of ways there are to have it all-day by 2nd, between races, templates, feats, and weird subsystems, makes having it on a Totem Bind just "good"), and there's a good few skills that are perfectly sensible to consider useful tier granters, especially once you add some advantageous text. Letting Intimidate stack is a dramatic bit of power.

    Heck, you could redesign the Totemist list around being all the best-of Magical Beast features to implement what shapeshifting does for a well-built Egoist, lot of the issue they have in terms of versatility is the staggering amount of Natural Attack granters and bonuses clogging the list that make for an enormous amount of space with zero non-combat functionality. Doubly so with a tailor-made Incarnum-based Magical Beast or two to give ideal effects we can't fish up a sensible choice for.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lans View Post
    What does it take to be T1 at levels 1-2?
    Good to look at Psion as a possible benchmark for that, as spellcasters are agonizingly limited at such low levels, but an Azurin Psion can have a decent amount of shenanigans already online. Azure Talent's great at 1st level, and feeds into Midnight Augmentation later, while the Psion bonus feat can be an Expanded Knowledge for a fourth Power from any of the lists. And you can cover almost all your 1st-level damage bases with one Power perfectly, thanks to Energy Ray being type-selecting.

    Druid's another major contender with spontaneous Nature's Ally, the Animal Companion, and a pretty good list to prepare from. Cleric is a bit more pushing it right from 1st (three spell slots with one having only three options?), but spontaneous Cure does have a bigger impact on the campaign at such low levels ("popup" healing is a serious thing at this point), and they have some lovely options with Devotion feats and Domains.

    And, of course, Tome of Battle's at its best with 1st-level, since they have at-will and per-minute/encounter utilities, for all they're "minor" effects.

    ---

    To whip up a somewhat ad-hoc example of what a Soulmeld with some of the things I've talked about might look like (again, replacing stuff is fine, I'm just not accepting "print more 'Melds until all problems are solved" as an answer. So basically pull it off with maybe five more total Soulmelds):

    Araneae Weave
    Descriptors: Mind Affecting
    Classes: Totemist
    Chakra: Feet, Brow, Waist (Totem)
    Saving Throw: See text

    Your face and limbs are wreathed in almost-transparent filaments, hiding truths and ever so slightly adhering them to other surfaces

    When working in more urban environments, Totemists often find themselves in situations the bulk of their abilities are ill-suited to. In such cases, they seek the likeness of creatures best suited to walking the streets as peers to the locals unnoticed, with the Aranea's immense powers of trickery being among the most frequent choices.

    Your Araneae Weave gives you a +2 Insight bonus to Bluff and Climb checks, and you can use a Standard Action to surge the manipulative forces it's made from to use Silent Image or Charm Person as a spell-like ability, using your Constitution modifier for the save and your Meldshaper level for the caster level, unshaping the Soulmeld in the process.

    Essentia: For every point of Essentia invested in your Araneae Weave, the Insight bonus to Bluff and Climb checks increases by +2, and you may use any spell of the Charm, Figment, or Pattern subschools from the Sorcerer list and a level up to the amount of Essentia invested as a spell-like ability instead of only Silent Image or Charm Person.

    Chakra Bind (Feet)
    The threads around your legs split and close, becoming denser as they come closer to the ground, until they seem to at once bleed together into and slide off a suggestion of solid plates

    You gain a Climb speed of 25 ft., and the Insight bonus of your Araneae Weave additionally applies to Balance and Escape Artist checks.

    Chakra Bind (Brow)
    A veil of finely-woven silk slides over your face, carrying a faint hint of your true face framed by arachnid features as your form twists and your voice takes on an alluring quality

    You gain the ability to turn into any Medium or Small humanoid at will, gaining its racial features in place of your own as if using Polymorph and a +8 bonus on Disguise checks to appear as a creature of that race, and the Insight bonus of your Araneae Weave additionally applies to Diplomacy and Disguise checks.

    Furthermore, when you use a spell with your Araneae Weave, you may choose to unbind it instead of unshape it, and may use a Personal-range Transmutation spell instead of a Charm, Figment, or Pattern.

    Chakra Bind (Waist)
    Your hips become hidden behind a sheet of webbing, held by eight firm braces like spider-legs and lined by half-finished arcane script dancing in the embroidery
    You gain a 20 ft. Enhancement bonus to your move speed, the ability to use items as if you were a Sorcerer of half your Meldshaper level, and the Insight bonus of your Araneae Weave additionally applies to Spellcraft and Use Magic Device.

    Furthermore, when you use a spell with your Araneae Weave, you may use any Sorcerer spell of up to 2nd level instead of Silent Image or Charm Person, and may choose to either not Unshape it and halve the spell's effective caster level, which must remain high enough to cast it normally, or add the effects of metamagic feats that would increase the spell's level to no more than the invested Essentia.

    Chakra Bind (Totem)
    Chitinous plates coat your upper jaw and lower back, dripping poison and spooling webbing

    Your Bite attack carries a weakening poison, causing anyone struck to need to pass a Fortitude save or take 1d6 Strength damage. This save repeats one minute later, dealing 1d6 temporary Strength damage per point of Essentia if failed. Additionally, you can, as a standard action, throw a web. This works like a net, except its maximum range is 50 ft, and the Concentration check to cast a spell while entangled, the Escape Artist check to exit it, and the Strength check to burst it are each equal to 15+your Meldshaper level+your Constitution modifier.

    ---

    This is probably pushing it a bit far on raw power output, and is definitely a bit clunky, but this would be an example of how I'm looking at it in terms of versatility. You can push to Unshaping it for a top-level spell from a same-level Sorcerer, and in fact can easily exceed it for much of the game with the right build on the existing Totemist, but it's not open-ended high-output magic. The Soulmeld is about using specific kinds of magic, for all it's defined more than a bit broadly on purpose.

    The degree of spell replication is very particular to the Aranea being a native spellcaster, though. More often, it'd be specific highly important spell effects at an appropriate level, such as Teleport on a Lesser bind (9th level), rather than broad groups like this does. If the wording weren't a torturous slog (granted, take a glance at Disenchanter Mask), I'd actually be tempted to genericize it's half-CL clause so it turns your other "low level" spell-likes into at-wills. Note that this would require level 18 to have 5th-level spells be at-will, so at-will Teleport is contrasting against 9ths. Honestly, the Foot bind could pretty much be axed, I just felt like a full "set" of binds.

    Of course, if you had the ability to Bind this to two separate Chakras at once, you'd eventually be able to spam 4th and 5th level Personal Transmutations indefinitely on just this, giving you some rather noteworthy utilities like Overland Flight and fittingly enough Glibness. And we also see a reference to my suggestion of making the Totemist have the Natural Attacks passively with the Totem bind adding the poison instead of needing to specify the Bite from scratch, for all it stays quite specific to combat because I was kinda running out of ideas to pack in one Soulmeld and wanted to make the post to restart some discussion. Also sleep.

  17. - Top - End - #47
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGirl

    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Michigan
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: What would t1 Incarnum look like?

    What if in addition to the standard scaling additional abilities would be unlocked as incarnun is invested. Like for incarnum weapon gaining shocking at 2 invested essentia, shocking burst at 3, speed at 5, Lightning blast at 7.

  18. - Top - End - #48
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    May 2013

    Default Re: What would t1 Incarnum look like?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lans View Post
    What if in addition to the standard scaling additional abilities would be unlocked as incarnun is invested. Like for incarnum weapon gaining shocking at 2 invested essentia, shocking burst at 3, speed at 5, Lightning blast at 7.
    Ehh... Explicit "steps" based on just Essentia investment gets weird in a number of ways, and is a pattern that gets really wordy. For that particular case, Mindblade scaling is a lot better: You get Enhancement bonus, and can trade it out for special qualities as normal. Make it a blank check and you're letting a feat-swapping Soulborn go all the way on being whatever kind of Fighter is most applicable. A lot of things like this can be done fairly well with explicit per-point scaling, since most of the space in question has very direct numeric values to its scaling, if only by referring to some subset of spells to emulate.

    ...Anyone know a Magical Beast with Druid casting off the top of their head? Androsphinx and Lammasu have Cleric casting, but that's decidedly more Incarnate territory than Totemist. Granted, overhauling Lammasu Mantle to reference the actual Domains it has instead of being an entire page of Protection from Evil variants would be good, as Healing and Knowledge are some wonderful design space. Pounce or Rake instead of the Half Gold Dragon breath weapon would also be nice. Least Bind healing matches up with HP recovery being pretty trivial by 5th level, and IIRC the Brow Chakra's the one with the nearest thematic ties to Divinations.
    Last edited by Morphic tide; 2021-08-19 at 01:05 PM.

  19. - Top - End - #49
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Emperor Tippy's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Earth

    Default Re: What would t1 Incarnum look like?

    Before you try and make a t1 Incarnum, try and make a t2 one.

    What really separates t1 and t2 from everything else is power. And not so much tactical, in combat, power but strategic, campaign effecting, power.

    Planar Binding is a good, if extreme, example. A character with that can spend a few days/weeks/months of down time and then suddenly they have a whole army of Hound Archons teleporting in to do their bidding at all times. Suddenly you are no longer DMing for a party, you are DMing for an army with at will greater teleport. Even lesser Planar Binding gets you an army of Lantern Archons, and in enough numbers those can be a major threat.

    Teleport is another, lesser, example. Especially when you hit Greater Teleport and include Plane Shift. A character with those abilities either needs to be actively blocked or they just return home every night, they get to ignore all of those pesky challenges in the way, and they can easily escape any encounter that goes bad.

    Once a character has the power, the difference between t1 and t2 is largely down to their versatility.

    ---
    To make a t1/t2 Incarnum class, you need to change the soulmelds.

    Give them a Wolverine soulmeld that gives fast healing +1 per point of essentia invested while it is bound. If they can get even a bit of a breather, they are suddenly back to full health and ready to fight again.

    Blinkshirt? Remove the your turn ends once you use it clause. Suddenly, you get to be Nightcrawler.

    Give them a Telepathy soulmeld that includes a Mindsight feature when bound. Maybe the range is 10 ft. per point invested.

    Give them a Soulknife meld. Every point of essentia gets +1 to the weapons abilities, if bound then you get to pick weapon enhancements. And you can change them every round or two simply by removing and then returning the essentia.

    Give them a Xorn movement meld. Shape it and you get to ignore terrain issues and maybe get some bonus to being tripped based on how much you invest. Bind it and suddenly you get an Earth Elementals Earth Glide ability with a speed of 10 ft. per point invested.

    Hmm, the Feat meld. Shape it and maybe all numeric effects of feats increase by +1 per x points of essentia invested. Bind it and you gain the benefits of one feat of your choice per point invested (benefits, not the feats themselves to avoid shenanigan's). A swift action and suddenly you are rocking an entirely new feat chain to suit your circumstances.

    Give them a Scholar meld. Shape it and you get +1 to a skill per point invested. Bind it and you get to take 10 on one skill per point invested.
    People who think Tippy equals win.
    Spoiler
    Show

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    Clearly, this is because Tippy equals Win.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sunken Valley View Post
    Tippy=Win
    Quote Originally Posted by Gavinfoxx View Post
    Wow... Tippy, you equal win.
    Quote Originally Posted by Immabozo View Post
    Tippy, I knew, in the back of my mind, that you would have the answer. Why? Cause you win. That's why.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mithril Leaf View Post
    Alright. I finally surrender. Tippy, you do in fact equal win. You have claimed the position of being my idol.

    Quote Originally Posted by Someone who shall remain anonymous
    This post contains 100% Tippy thought. May contain dangerous amounts of ludicrousness and/or awesomeness.

  20. - Top - End - #50
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    May 2013

    Default Re: What would t1 Incarnum look like?

    Quote Originally Posted by Emperor Tippy View Post
    Before you try and make a t1 Incarnum, try and make a t2 one.

    What really separates t1 and t2 from everything else is power. And not so much tactical, in combat, power but strategic, campaign effecting, power.

    Planar Binding is a good, if extreme, example. A character with that can spend a few days/weeks/months of down time and then suddenly they have a whole army of Hound Archons teleporting in to do their bidding at all times. Suddenly you are no longer DMing for a party, you are DMing for an army with at will greater teleport. Even lesser Planar Binding gets you an army of Lantern Archons, and in enough numbers those can be a major threat.

    Teleport is another, lesser, example. Especially when you hit Greater Teleport and include Plane Shift. A character with those abilities either needs to be actively blocked or they just return home every night, they get to ignore all of those pesky challenges in the way, and they can easily escape any encounter that goes bad.

    Once a character has the power, the difference between t1 and t2 is largely down to their versatility.
    Eh, the omnipresence is pretty dramatic optimization rather than so much a tier determinant. For the most part, the top-tier classes mostly just bypass up-front problems and cut down on a lot of major time sinks. Not very many campaigns have Teleport actually screw with the setting at large, you have to go up to Teleportation Circle or some pretty dramatic cheese to get transporting campaign-shaking numbers. Unless, of course, you being able to skip a few week's travel is sufficient to do so because your personal intervention dramatically alters the state of the local area.

    Like, how well does a Druid do either of these? Druids are excellent take-all-comers steamrollers, but have very awkward strategic magic in nearly all regards compared to the rest of t1. Do they even have a teleport that isn't environment-dependent? Long-term minions of particular mobility like the Archon spam? They need some real work to deal with a lot of things, they're t1 because they can do this for seemingly everything with literally no exception. Except traps, because niche protection.

    To make a t1/t2 Incarnum class, you need to change the soulmelds.

    Give them a Wolverine soulmeld that gives fast healing +1 per point of essentia invested while it is bound. If they can get even a bit of a breather, they are suddenly back to full health and ready to fight again.
    ML-per-Essentia-spent health as a Shape effect can also exist, though NI healing like this or at-will Healing domain stuff is IIRC mainly for 5th level and up, matching to Least binds. Or was it 11th level? Can't remember the benchmark for HP damage being marginal for players...

    Blinkshirt? Remove the your turn ends once you use it clause. Suddenly, you get to be Nightcrawler.
    Actually that'd be more a thing for a better example creature, since the reason for that is that Blinkshirt is specifically keying to Dimension Door, which has this clause. Probably a better fit for Incarnate with how many Outsiders have Teleport abilities. It's not like the list it gets put on matters that much with the ability to go looting with feats.

    Give them a Telepathy soulmeld that includes a Mindsight feature when bound. Maybe the range is 10 ft. per point invested.
    Spending a bit looking, I can't seem to find sources of Mindsight outside the Lords of Madness feat. Why can't this just work like what seems to be virtually every other case of telepathy in existence where you take the feat to turn the large communication range into a rudimentary perception? Or just find a Magical Beast with a large Blindsight radius to chuck in at 10-20 ft./Essentia on the Totemist list. Also, Soulsight exists, for all 5 ft./Essentia is pathetic.

    Give them a Soulknife meld. Every point of essentia gets +1 to the weapons abilities, if bound then you get to pick weapon enhancements. And you can change them every round or two simply by removing and then returning the essentia.
    Just a buff on Incarnum Weapon divorced from its Alignment, really, make the quality access a Hand bind if getting the Soulknife's main feature as a Shape effect is too far. There's not much need for that to be a new Soulmeld when it's a very dramatic upgrade on The Point of an existing one.

    Give them a Xorn movement meld. Shape it and you get to ignore terrain issues and maybe get some bonus to being tripped based on how much you invest. Bind it and suddenly you get an Earth Elementals Earth Glide ability with a speed of 10 ft. per point invested.
    The extremely vast majority of the time you should be able to substitute with hover-compatible Fly speeds and the rest is handled by Etherealness of some stripe or another. Inner Plane stuff seems to be a flavor gap for Incarnum, anyways. Though using it as fodder for esoteric Totemist effects is as good an excuse as any for "pick an energy type" compacting.

    Hmm, the Feat meld. Shape it and maybe all numeric effects of feats increase by +1 per x points of essentia invested. Bind it and you gain the benefits of one feat of your choice per point invested (benefits, not the feats themselves to avoid shenanigan's). A swift action and suddenly you are rocking an entirely new feat chain to suit your circumstances.
    How many hoops does a Spells to Power Erudite or Artificer have to jump to pull this sort of thing? Because this is a really out-there ability that I can't think of anything but TO tricks like the Dark Chaos Feat Shuffle or utterly cheating Psychic Chirurgery that compares.

    Though feat chain swapping is my main idea on handling Soulborn's combat functions so their limited Soulmelds have minimal concern with combat math, which can go a lot further with making more [Incarnum] feats be substitutes instead of follow-ups so they can pass up feat-taxes, like they already get to laugh at ever using Dodge on their way to Spring Attack. Azure Toughness on an Azurin is already a no-joke simply good feat, since it makes you dramatically more durable at the start of a campaign while being another point of Essentia once you stop caring about its HP.

    Give them a Scholar meld. Shape it and you get +1 to a skill per point invested. Bind it and you get to take 10 on one skill per point invested.
    What's the issue with the current standard of skills being scattered about the Soulmelds as the way to go about this? Could chuck it on a +2/Essentia [Incarnum] feat that lets you repick each day, but... We already have Incarnum skillmonkey support.

  21. - Top - End - #51
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Emperor Tippy's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Earth

    Default Re: What would t1 Incarnum look like?

    Quote Originally Posted by Morphic tide View Post
    Eh, the omnipresence is pretty dramatic optimization rather than so much a tier determinant. For the most part, the top-tier classes mostly just bypass up-front problems and cut down on a lot of major time sinks. Not very many campaigns have Teleport actually screw with the setting at large, you have to go up to Teleportation Circle or some pretty dramatic cheese to get transporting campaign-shaking numbers. Unless, of course, you being able to skip a few week's travel is sufficient to do so because your personal intervention dramatically alters the state of the local area.
    Using a spell as it is intended to be used is not "dramatic optimization". Planar Binding to call up an army of SRD outsiders to fight for you is pretty much entirely what that spell is for, it also has strong fluff and thematic support. The "problem" is that using the Planar Binding line how anyone with even a smidgen of a brain would use it breaks the design conceits of basically everything save t1/t2 in D&D. And thus it is one of those things that pretty much makes something t2 on its own.

    Even basic Teleport dramatically alters how the individual and the party functions and interacts with the rest of the world. If a party with access to Teleport is sleeping anywhere except their highly secured base, then they are being idiots. Scry-n-Die and the one fight adventuring day are both direct consequences of Teleport existing.

    Flight is a similar ability in that it changes the fundamental premises that the game is built around and that most classes are designed around. Although at least in the case of flight, it is relatively easy to get anyone flight at a reasonable resource cost.

    Like, how well does a Druid do either of these? Druids are excellent take-all-comers steamrollers, but have very awkward strategic magic in nearly all regards compared to the rest of t1. Do they even have a teleport that isn't environment-dependent? Long-term minions of particular mobility like the Archon spam? They need some real work to deal with a lot of things, they're t1 because they can do this for seemingly everything with literally no exception. Except traps, because niche protection.
    Druids still have strategic magic; Fimbulwinter for example. The Druid has less raw power and less versatility than most of the other t1 and t2 classes (not a ton less, but still less) but it combines it with cheap, consistent, tactical flexibility and power.

    ML-per-Essentia-spent health as a Shape effect can also exist, though NI healing like this or at-will Healing domain stuff is IIRC mainly for 5th level and up, matching to Least binds. Or was it 11th level? Can't remember the benchmark for HP damage being marginal for players...
    There is a substantial difference between limited daily healing (i.e. Lay on Hands), limited burst healing (i.e. Cleric spells), unlimited but minor/slow healing (i.e. using a Skin of Proteus to keep changing forms once combat is over to heal back to full), and decent healing that you don't need to spend resources or actions on. Fast Healing 1 means that the character is back to full health with as little as a few minutes down time. Fast Healing 5+ is tactically relevant healing. And used appropriately, it has strategic uses as well.

    Actually that'd be more a thing for a better example creature, since the reason for that is that Blinkshirt is specifically keying to Dimension Door, which has this clause. Probably a better fit for Incarnate with how many Outsiders have Teleport abilities. It's not like the list it gets put on matters that much with the ability to go looting with feats.
    The point is to make an Incarnum character that breaks into t1/t2. Giving them actually useful tactical teleportation is a huge step towards that. As it is, the 3.5 change to DD that forcibly ended your turn after using it made the spell a resounding 'meh' in most cases.

    Spending a bit looking, I can't seem to find sources of Mindsight outside the Lords of Madness feat. Why can't this just work like what seems to be virtually every other case of telepathy in existence where you take the feat to turn the large communication range into a rudimentary perception? Or just find a Magical Beast with a large Blindsight radius to chuck in at 10-20 ft./Essentia on the Totemist list. Also, Soulsight exists, for all 5 ft./Essentia is pathetic.

    Just a buff on Incarnum Weapon divorced from its Alignment, really, make the quality access a Hand bind if getting the Soulknife's main feature as a Shape effect is too far. There's not much need for that to be a new Soulmeld when it's a very dramatic upgrade on The Point of an existing one.


    The extremely vast majority of the time you should be able to substitute with hover-compatible Fly speeds and the rest is handled by Etherealness of some stripe or another. Inner Plane stuff seems to be a flavor gap for Incarnum, anyways. Though using it as fodder for esoteric Totemist effects is as good an excuse as any for "pick an energy type" compacting.


    How many hoops does a Spells to Power Erudite or Artificer have to jump to pull this sort of thing? Because this is a really out-there ability that I can't think of anything but TO tricks like the Dark Chaos Feat Shuffle or utterly cheating Psychic Chirurgery that compares.

    Though feat chain swapping is my main idea on handling Soulborn's combat functions so their limited Soulmelds have minimal concern with combat math, which can go a lot further with making more [Incarnum] feats be substitutes instead of follow-ups so they can pass up feat-taxes, like they already get to laugh at ever using Dodge on their way to Spring Attack. Azure Toughness on an Azurin is already a no-joke simply good feat, since it makes you dramatically more durable at the start of a campaign while being another point of Essentia once you stop caring about its HP.


    What's the issue with the current standard of skills being scattered about the Soulmelds as the way to go about this? Could chuck it on a +2/Essentia [Incarnum] feat that lets you repick each day, but... We already have Incarnum skillmonkey support.
    You do realize that the entire purpose of this thread is to increase the power and versatility of Incarnum so that it his t1/t2, right? There are two real ways to do that. 1) Grab the good spells and basically staple them onto melds in one manner or another, or 2) create new abilities that nothing else does well and that have great tactical or strategic value.

    "Oh, I took this one meld/spell/power/etc. and now I can out skill monkey the Rogue" is what t1 means.
    "Oh, I did X and now I am a better Fighter than the Fighter."
    "Oh, I do X. Do you have one of the rare solutions to that? No? Then I win."
    "I do Y, your entire build and character premise is now meaningless."

    An Incarnum class whose premise is "Anything a T3 class can do, I can do better tomorrow." would probably hit the t1/t2 level much like the Druid did. Need a Scout? Well then I shape/bind soulmelds to gain Mindsight, True Seeing, Earth Glide, tactical teleportation, etc. and suddenly I can go toe to toe with a decently built scout build. Need front line melee the next day? Well I shaped/bound melds that give me Fast Healing, tactical teleportation, +1 Attack/Damage per point of Essentia invested, and effectively two hundred thousand gold worth of ideal melee weapon. The next day I can be the party face. The Next I can at least hum the tune of being anti-caster. And so on.

    You don't get that with one small change, you get that by jacking up the ability of soulmelds across the board so that any individual meld on its own might not be must have but so that a character can stack several of them to become brutally capable and then switch them all to be just as capable at something else the next day.

    Hell, give them a meld that when bound gives you +1 to every attribute per point of Essentia invested.
    People who think Tippy equals win.
    Spoiler
    Show

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    Clearly, this is because Tippy equals Win.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sunken Valley View Post
    Tippy=Win
    Quote Originally Posted by Gavinfoxx View Post
    Wow... Tippy, you equal win.
    Quote Originally Posted by Immabozo View Post
    Tippy, I knew, in the back of my mind, that you would have the answer. Why? Cause you win. That's why.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mithril Leaf View Post
    Alright. I finally surrender. Tippy, you do in fact equal win. You have claimed the position of being my idol.

    Quote Originally Posted by Someone who shall remain anonymous
    This post contains 100% Tippy thought. May contain dangerous amounts of ludicrousness and/or awesomeness.

  22. - Top - End - #52
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2014

    Default Re: What would t1 Incarnum look like?

    You cannot just crank skulls to epic, barring diplomacy, and be t1/2. Same with damage. NI damage doesn't matter if you remove an enemy from the fight to chain coup de grace to ensure death after the rest is done.

    Detect thoughts is a low level spell, or an epic sense motive. It should solve most mysteries by the " do not think of the pink elephant" trick. You can charm person to get every npc you meet on good terms. You don't need teleport, rope trick, especially if the party all chips in for a lesser extend rod means even at lower levels you are always at full resources.

    Abilities that can significantly alter the narrative is what you need. Spells do that. Not much else.

  23. - Top - End - #53
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGirl

    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Michigan
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: What would t1 Incarnum look like?

    Different abilities based on invested essentia let's you keep each melds power at the appropriate level it maybe wordy, but no more than making dozens of new melds
    Last edited by Lans; 2021-08-20 at 12:54 PM.

  24. - Top - End - #54
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    May 2013

    Default Re: What would t1 Incarnum look like?

    Quote Originally Posted by Emperor Tippy View Post
    Using a spell as it is intended to be used is not "dramatic optimization". Planar Binding to call up an army of SRD outsiders to fight for you is pretty much entirely what that spell is for, it also has strong fluff and thematic support. The "problem" is that using the Planar Binding line how anyone with even a smidgen of a brain would use it breaks the design conceits of basically everything save t1/t2 in D&D. And thus it is one of those things that pretty much makes something t2 on its own.
    No, armies of Outsiders for varied applications is not intended. Planar Binding explicitly says you get one service, and it takes 5th level slots at the least so it's not something you're going to mass-spam without deep cheese. You have to make a Charisma check to get it to listen, and you get one chance at the check each day, with a maximum bonus of +6 from the offer. Sure, you can chuck more spells at it, but the slot expenses, the limitation of one task, the Will save to catch the Outsider, and the Natural 1 failure clause all still make for some boundaries on how far you can force it with a DM who has any semblance of care for setting integrity, entirely inside the bounds of RAW.

    To say nothing of how much can be shut down with "Impossible demands or unreasonable commands are never agreed to" and "Note that a clever recipient can subvert some instructions." Going full-bore Sadistic Djinn is not merely allowed, it's one of the most iconic ways to reign it in. A lot of these TO patterns actually have limitations to them lurking in the rules that cause dramatically heightened complexity of execution. Sure, you can work around them, but those things add up to limit an actual character in an actual campaign.

    Even basic Teleport dramatically alters how the individual and the party functions and interacts with the rest of the world. If a party with access to Teleport is sleeping anywhere except their highly secured base, then they are being idiots. Scry-n-Die and the one fight adventuring day are both direct consequences of Teleport existing.
    Rope Trick and the like are the more relevant causes of the five-minute adventuring day, and there are plenty of ways to screw with Scry-and-Die that aren't actually much in the way of game-concerns paranoia, particularly with regard to the Divination side of it since there's lots of other reasons to want to dissuade such and a pretty ridiculous breadth of ways to go about it, down to bog-standard Disguise checks in a crowd of followers to throw people off. Holding up the slots for Teleporting back and forth is in fact a pretty significant sink, and unless you go all the way to Greater Teleport you have no less than a 3% chance each way to end up off target.

    "Oh, I took this one meld/spell/power/etc. and now I can out skill monkey the Rogue" is what t1 means.
    "Oh, I did X and now I am a better Fighter than the Fighter."
    "Oh, I do X. Do you have one of the rare solutions to that? No? Then I win."
    "I do Y, your entire build and character premise is now meaningless."
    ...The vast majority of the time, it takes two or three things to even try to outdo the t4 specialists in their niche. Most of the time, it's bypassing their thing or doing perfectly well enough instead of grossly distending like an Ubercharger into just one thing done way better than ever needed, while having plenty to deal with everything else. The bulk of what this bit is quoting is suggesting direct alternatives that are largely mechanically better implementations or pointing out that even the t1 classes typically only do that sort of thing in TO exercises.

    Hell, I literally said I was thinking of doing Soulborn as daily feat swaps for the main "bulk" going on. Because in-the-moment tactical feat overhauls like you suggested are, again, the domain of deep TO shenanigans at the doorstep of PunPun. Also, with regard to stapling spells to Soulmelds: Have you read the example piece? I typed out the sort of implementation I'm thinking of. Categories narrowly defined enough to not be blank checks, but still solving groups of problems instead of only one exact thing. Although I mixed up Figments and Glamours...

    An Incarnum class whose premise is "Anything a T3 class can do, I can do better tomorrow." would probably hit the t1/t2 level much like the Druid did. Need a Scout? Well then I shape/bind soulmelds to gain Mindsight, True Seeing, Earth Glide, tactical teleportation, etc. and suddenly I can go toe to toe with a decently built scout build. Need front line melee the next day? Well I shaped/bound melds that give me Fast Healing, tactical teleportation, +1 Attack/Damage per point of Essentia invested, and effectively two hundred thousand gold worth of ideal melee weapon. The next day I can be the party face. The Next I can at least hum the tune of being anti-caster. And so on.
    The thing is that you have more than one Soulmeld, so you don't need to have them be broad-spectrum +numbers effects because you can cover the same breadth with varied Soulmelds. An Incarnate going CoDzilla would, much like the actual CoDzilla, be a few different melee boosting effects to take a second-rate chassis and wreck face with it. The Wizard, Artificer, and Psion go to show that simultaneity isn't that big a deal for tier determination, it's the technical availability that matters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lans View Post
    Different abilities based on invested essentia let's you keep each melds power at the appropriate level it maybe wordy, but no more than making dozens of new melds
    I mean, you can also go with the Bind ranks. Like I did with the Aranea example piece that somehow has seen zero discussion. And when you're talking damage or shapeshifting or summoning or transportation, the vast majority of the time there's flat numeric values you can have scale per point of Essentia or by Meldshaper level, so you can just chuck it in the Bind closest to the level it's supposed to start being available and have that scale.

  25. - Top - End - #55
    Orc in the Playground
     
    EvilClericGuy

    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    Default Re: What would t1 Incarnum look like?

    I love Incarnum. So much so that I designed a whole FR campaign to introduce it to my players. I played a Soulborn up to lvl 15 (biggest grind of my life). I was really disappointed that we never got a Complete Incarnum follow up book.

    In my experience the biggest problem I had with the Soulborn was their inability to swap out melds during the day pre epic. They already have a very limited number of melds, and not being able to swap out melds means that your pretty much stuck with your daily routine melds. Your utility melds go to waste, unless you have pre knowledge of what you are going against.

    A feat that takes 10 minutes to reshape a meld once or twice a day would have helped a lot.

    Really, more anything period would have gone a long way. Feats, melds, items, classes, etc... the more options, the more potential synergies they would have to propel them further.

    That being said, Incarnum is at it's strongest when it is dipped into and combined with other things.

  26. - Top - End - #56
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    May 2021

    Default Re: What would t1 Incarnum look like?

    planar binding is a really weird spell, in that it's game-breakingly absurd for exactly one use (getting outsiders to fight with you in combat) and merely okay with every other usage. If you bind up some Earth Elementals to use as specialized labor to build a fortress, that's fine. Totally reasonable thing to get out of a 6th level spell. The issue is what happens when you start popping out combat outsiders that are as strong as other members of the party (or even the party as a whole) and outnumber the party four-to-one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Efrate View Post
    You cannot just crank skulls to epic, barring diplomacy, and be t1/2. Same with damage. NI damage doesn't matter if you remove an enemy from the fight to chain coup de grace to ensure death after the rest is done.
    Pretty much. Most skills just don't do anything all that impressive, even if you cheese them up even to arbitrarily levels. In a world where you can just be a Raptoran or cast overland flight, there's basically no number you can put on Climb that makes it something people will care about. You could be good enough at climbing to climb a horizontal frictionless surface upside-down while fighting, and that would be slightly worse than an ability 10th level characters can just have. Damage is actually kind of interesting, because there's sharp diminishing returns. At 10th level, the only real difference between dealing 150 damage and 200 damage is whether you one-shot enemies at your level or somewhat above your level. There's never really any difference between 2,000 and 2,000,000 damage, because they're both big enough piles of damage to simply kill whatever it is you're fighting. To break through to the level of the Wizard, you need to actually do new things, not merely do old things with bigger numbers

    Abilities that can significantly alter the narrative is what you need. Spells do that. Not much else.
    Well, that's just because the designers didn't write any non-spell abilities that did that kind of stuff. I don't think it's really accurate to say that you "need to give people spells" to keep up with the Wizard, because you can just give them soulmelds (or vestiges or invocations or maneuvers) that have spell-like effects. They can even be novel effects in those areas if that's what you want. If you felt it was for some reason important not to simply give people planar binding, you could declare that the Incarnate gets an army of Aberrations or Constructs or something.

  27. - Top - End - #57
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGirl

    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Michigan
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: What would t1 Incarnum look like?

    @Morphic Tide, bind ranks seem to be differently limited in what you can do with them for a lot of the incarnates soulmelds. If I make the soulmelds Sun Glasses of Night I have very few binds that would work for, crown, brow and soul. Then there is the limited number of binds that limit your available level aappropriate effects.

  28. - Top - End - #58
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    May 2013

    Default Re: What would t1 Incarnum look like?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lans View Post
    @Morphic Tide, bind ranks seem to be differently limited in what you can do with them for a lot of the incarnates soulmelds. If I make the soulmelds Sun Glasses of Night I have very few binds that would work for, crown, brow and soul. Then there is the limited number of binds that limit your available level aappropriate effects.
    How many distinct level-appropriate effects do you actually need to have? How many effects need to "tier up" in a way appropriate to Binds, as opposed to being perfectly well handled by purely numeric scaling from Meldshaper Level, Essentia investment, or a combination of the two?

    SRD Psionics has all of twelve (teleportation) effects, and of the (teleportation) effects there are eight that actually teleport people, except one is literally just Contingent Teleport, it keeps the Greater split for removing inaccuracy, one lets you swap two people's locations, and one is a Close-range self-only tactical teleport on Psychic Warrior. For the extremely vast majority of conditions, you just need Dimension Door and Teleport.

    Psionics is also deliberately second-rate at healing, with the SRD giving 5 (healing) subschool effects. Consisting very specifically of a self-heal, self-only ability damage recovery, Raise Dead (but with an XP cost instead of GP and the downsides to the target gone), Restoration, and Regenerate (in the extremity-restoring capacity). To heal others, an Egoist has to pick up a Telepathy power to take the damage off a party member, then self-heal. So six Powers encompasses the Psion's offering for the Cleric's niche.

    With regard to shapeshifting, the Egoist gets it to t1 off a single 4th-level Power and a feat. Possibly taken two or three times to boost from 3/day, but still one feat.

    I mention these because that's how several major task groups are handled by a t1 class, that gets there out of one book. The actual Psion class runs perfectly fine as t1 on its base allotment of Powers, taking Expanded Knowledge for the off-list access rather than just an extra Power in the vast majority of conditions. And you have the Shape effects tied to whatever else, you don't need a giant Wizard-like pile of "level appropriate" effects because the vast majority of the time the answer is a lower level effect that answers something with no real need for a higher-level version.

    There are many, many things you can handle in the "power budget" of a Shape effect, including everything to do with Martial-style combat (which can itself be mostly handled by feats as normal, even if with some choice Incarnum substitutions). And with that, you can focus the Binds entirely on things with some utility if wanted, with nothing that is solely a Fight Better effect. Of course, Incarnate probably "should" retain such things as the "caster" of the lot, but then there is a lot of extra book space after tackling t1 must-haves, going by how little of XPH is needed for a t1 character.

    Erudite puts the problems-per-day paradigm of this much more bluntly, with a total of eleven options allowed to be used each day. And unlike Erudite, a Meldshaping class is inherently getting anything desired from its list.
    Last edited by Morphic tide; 2021-08-26 at 09:31 AM.

  29. - Top - End - #59
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2014

    Default Re: What would t1 Incarnum look like?

    Pretty sure only stp erudite is t1, psion I thought was t2. Regardless it's works out to a similar thing. You need spells or spell equivalents in line with 9th level spells to Ccrack Into that territory. Call them powers, invocations, whatever, but their effects need to be in line at the top with 9th level spells and decent at lower levels as well.

    And augmentable/scaling teleport based on essentia that functions at the same level effacy or very close to it as wizard teleports at the same level is good. 1x/week locking Y essentia out for a day is not. Also not worth if you cannot access the basic teleport effect until 17th level, or gate at a similar level that only functions as better plane shift for your party traveling.

    Take 10 or 20 awesome spell effects line as above with teleport, rename them, scale them so they do the same/very similar thing at the same level as a wizard can with increased binds/essentia and remove any limitations to them beyond that and you can be tier 1. That means no unshaping a veil for an effect, no locking essentia for a day (unless you rework the entire amount of each class has so you can substitute essentia for spell levels or some such), no limitations on use beyond maybe 3x a day for your highest level effect, nothing on lower stuff, and you do it.

    It does break down to spells, but different, as well as modal, but that's the bar you need to reach.

  30. - Top - End - #60
    Troll in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    The Great White North

    Default Re: What would t1 Incarnum look like?

    StP Erudite is T0, actually, given that they have all of psionic's neat tricks in addition to the hilarious amounts of magical abuse.

    Psion is T2, though.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •