Saturday, January 1, 2011

Expanded Class Feature 12: Soulborn

Class: Soulborn
Source: Magic of Incarnum

How it Works:
I’ve worked up an all-purpose ‘How it Works’ article for incarnum classes as a whole, which can be found here.

Okay, it’s been a while, so I’m coming back with a double feature. A short double feature, but hey, not every class has all that much to be said about it.

Back to Magic of Incarnum for the turkey of the incarnum world, the Soulborn. Prepare to be underwhelmed. This one’s going to be brief. And, other than the Exorcist from Villains of Pact Magic, this is the last real turkey of a class. Everything from here (again, except the Exorcist) is actually fairly decent.

Fluffy Bits:
You fight. You have meldshaping (eventually). You’re a zealot. That’s about it. Really, beyond being an incarnum paladin (of any of the four extreme alignments), there’s not much to it.

Crunchy Bits:
Not much here, either. Full BAB, d10 hit die, strong fortitude, 2+ skill points from a skill list on par with the Paladin. You gain one social skill depending on your alignment. They get martial weapons, heavy armor, and shields.

Moving on to the secondary class features, at first level, you have an aura of your alignment as a Cleric of your class level. At second level, you gain an immunity dependent on your alignment; fear, paralysis, exhaustion, or strength drain. At levels 3, 7, and 11, you gain a bonus incarnum feat. At level 9, you can share whichever immunity you got at level two with the rest of the party once per day (and a few more times as you level up). At level 19, you gain Timeless Body like a Monk or Druid.

Now that all that meh is out of the way, the main features.

First, you gain smiting as a Paladin, save that it works against both opposed alignments, so if you’re Lawful/Good, it works against both evil and chaos. It still only works once per day at level one, and up to five times per day at level twenty, and you don’t even get any of the other charisma-related boons Paladins get.

Then, there’s the main course. Meldshaping. They gain the ability to shape soulmelds starting at level four (and before that, they’re not meldshapers), can only shape one soulmeld per four levels, and you gain your first point of essentia at level six, only going up to ten points by level twenty. A joke. Especially compared to an Incarnate’s twenty-six and a Totemist’s twenty. They gain their first chakra bind at level eight, only getting three of them by the end. When both Incarnate and Totemist start on chakra binds at level two. They also only go up to the middling throat and waist chakras, and even then only at level eighteen. In fact, you could gain the chakra binds as soon or sooner by taking feats.

And they have absolutely no class features that tie into their meldshaping.

It’d be easiest to just say not to use the thing. It’s a crappy class with hardly anything going for it.

That said, if you really want to go Soulborn, multiclass. The first four levels don’t suck. You get your smiting, an immunity, a bonus feat, and you open up a soulmeld. It’s not much, but it would take way too many levels to get much. You could do worse than going from Soulborn to some prestige class or another.

The Soulborn is basically a Paladin that trades away far, far too much just for meldshaping. It would be an improvement to just make this a Paladin variant, swapping out spellcasting for Soulborn melds, essentia, and chakra binds.

They get meldshaping
Ye olde melee skeleton

The meldshpaing sucks
It really doesn’t get much

Remaining classes: Ardent, Artificer, Crusader, Dread Necromancer, Empyrean Monk, Erudite, Exorcist, Lurk, Muse, Occult Priest, Pact Warrior, Psychic Rogue, Psychic Warrior, Ravaged Soul, Rookblade, Swordsage, Soul Weaver, Spirit Binder, Templar, Totemist, Warbinder.

Next Time: Spirit Binder

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