Author Topic: Totem Chanter (Bard/Totemist PrC) PEACH  (Read 3986 times)

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gabrion

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Totem Chanter (Bard/Totemist PrC) PEACH
« on: October 20, 2011, 03:43:32 AM »
Totem Chanter


"We are music, I've just figure out what that means." ~Glara, Totem Chanter

The totem chanter embodies the primal music of nature. Like the bard, she can inspire through performance, and like the totemist, she can shape natural forces into soulmelds granting her bestial powers. For the totem chanter these abilities feed upon each other, incarnum lending itself not only to enhancing the totem chanter, but also inspiring those around her. While the totem chanter forsakes further bardic spellcasting, her soulmelding offers a powerful alternative.

Becoming a Totem Chanter
Characters who have gained experience as bards and totemists are the most likely candidates to become Totem Chanters.  Characters wish to become totem chanters sometimes spend time in a naturalistic class such as the druid or ranger before becoming a totem chanter, but such occurrences are rare.

 ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
   Base Attack Bonus: +3
   Skills:  Perform 8 ranks, Survival 8 ranks
   Feats:  Cobalt Inspiration* (see new feat below)
   Special:  Ability to bind soulmelds to totem chakra, bardic music class feature

Hit Dice: d6
LevelBABFortRefWillSpecialMeldshaping
1st+0+0+2+2Totem chant, bardic knowledge-
2nd+1+0+3+3Primal Inspiration, Adrenal Inspiration+1 level of existing meldshaping class
3rd+2+1+3+3Lyrical Meldshaping+1 level of existing meldshaping class
4th+3+1+4+4Primal Inspiration+1 level of existing meldshaping class
5th+3+1+4+4Modulation+1 level of existing meldshaping class
6th+4+2+5+5Primal Inspiration+1 level of existing meldshaping class
7th+5+2+5+5Lyrical Meldshaping (swift)+1 level of existing meldshaping class
8th+6+2+6+6Primal Inspiration+1 level of existing meldshaping class
9th+6+3+6+6+1 level of existing meldshaping class
10th+7+3+7+7Soul Chord+1 level of existing meldshaping class
Class skills (6+Int Modifier per level): Balance, Bluff, Climb, Concentration, Diplomacy, Gather Information, Handle Animal, Intimidate, Jump, Knowledge (all skills, taken individually), Listen, Perform, Profession, Sense Motive, Spellcraft, Spot, Survival, Swim, Use Magic Device

Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: You gain no new proficiencies with weapons, armor, or shields.

Meldshaping: At each totem chanter level except 1st you increase your meldshaper level, the number of soulmelds you can shape, the number of chakra binds you can create, and your essentia pool as if you had gained a level in the meldshaping class to which you belonged prior to gaining the totem chanter level. If you had more than one meldshaping class before becoming a totem chanter, you must decide to which class to add each level for the purpose of determining your essentia pool, meldshaper level, and the number of soulmelds and chakra binds available.

Each level that advances your meldshaping also progresses the chakras you have open to binding at the same rate as the meldshaping class to which you add it. If you later take levels in that class this benefit is retained and you progress by adding your total levels in that class + meldshaper levels from totem chanter that were applied to it for purposes of opening new chakras. For instance, a Bard 2/Totemist 4 is able to bind to the crown, feet, and hands chakras at Totem Chanter level 2. If she continues as a totem chanter, the arms, brow, and shoulders chakras will be open to her at totem chanter level 7. If at that point she returns to the totemist class, the throat and waist chakras will be open to her after five levels of totemist.

Totem Chant (Su): You can enhance the power of your inspire courage by channeling the rhythm of life that runs through all creatures. The essentia capacity of your Cobalt Inspiration feat increases by 1.

Furthermore, as long as a soulmeld occupies your totem chakra, you gain a number of extra essentia points equal to one-half your totem chanter level (minimum 1) while your inspire courage is active. At your option, you can invest some or all of this extra essentia into your Cobalt Inspiration feat as a free action. (This option is an exception to the normal rule that essentia can be invested in an incarnum feat only once every 24 hours.) You must make this decision when you begin your inspire courage, and you cannot shift any essentia away from Cobalt Inspiration while your inspire courage is active. You can invest any remaining extra essentia in other feats, soulmelds, or class abilities as normal. When your inspire courage ends, you lose this extra essentia, and all your essentia investments return to what they were initially.

Bardic Knowledge (Ex): At 1st level, you add your totem chanter levels to your bardic knowledge checks, so your bardic knowledge checks have a bonus equal to your bard level + your totem chanter level + your Int modifier.

Primal Inspiration (Ex): The incarnum infusing your inspire courage can create additional effects. At 2nd level, you learn your first primal inspiration, chosen from the list below. At 4th, 6th, and 8th level you learn another primal inspiration from the list.

While your inspire courage effect is active it can be modified by any one primal inspiration you know. This choice must be made when you start the effect and continues as long as your inspire courage does.

Each primal inspiration has a corresponding soul chord boost that is active only if your inspire courage has been modified by that primal inspiration and only while soul chord is active.

Primal Inspirations:
[spoiler]
  • Nature’s Cure
    Your inspire courage channels incarnum to slowly mend the wounds of those it effects. While your inspire courage is active, it provides fast healing to allies equal to the essentia invested in your Cobalt Inspiration feat. Soul Chord Boost: Any healing effect on your allies (including fast healing from primal healing) has twice the effect it normally would.
  • Uncertainty of the Wild
    Wisps of incarnum swirl around your enemies, distracting them. While your inspire courage is active, all enemies within 60 feet of you take a penalty to ranged and melee attacks equal to the essentia invested in your Cobalt Inspiration feat. Soul Chord Boost: Enemies affected can only make one melee or ranged attack per round (including attacks of opportunity).
  • Borrowed Genius
    Incarnum is channeled into the minds of your allies, increasing their focus when casting spells. While your inspire courage is active, it provides allies a bonus to concentration checks to cast spells equal to the essentia invested in your Cobalt Inspiration feat and a bonus to the difficulty class of any spell they cast equal to ½ that amount (minimum 1). Soul Chord Boost: Allies have a chance to retain any spell they cast (as though they hadn’t cast it at all) equal to 10% x essentia invested in your Cobalt Inspiration feat.
  • Incarnum Shield
    A thin veil of incarnum swirls around your allies, deflecting some of the damage they would normally suffer. While your inspire courage is active, it provides allies DR X/-, where X is equal to the essentia invested in your Cobalt Inspiration feat. Soul Chord Boost: A protective shield of incarnum around each of your allies prevents the next 10 x essentia invested in your Cobalt Inspiration feat points of damage they would receive from any source.
  • Fog of Souls
    Incarnum clouds the minds of enemy spellcasters, disrupting their focus. While your inspire courage is active, any enemies within 60 feet of you have a chance to fail when casting spells. The failure chance is 5% x the essentia invested in your Cobalt Inspiration feat. Soul Chord Boost: the failure chance is 10% x the essentia invested in your Cobalt Inspiration feat and any caster disrupted by this effect is dazed for one round.
  • Primal Boost
    The raw incarnum channeled by your performance is enough to infuse your allies with boosted essentia. While your inspire courage is active, it provides bonus essentia points to your allies equal to the essentia invested in your Cobalt Inspiration feat. Unlike other primal inspirations, you gain no benefit from primal boost, or its soul chord boost. Soul Chord Boost: The essentia capacity of all your allies’ essentia receptacles is increase by 2.
  • Primal Sprint
    Incarnum infuses your allies’ bodies, pushing them to new levels of speed. While your inspire courage is active, it provides a speed bonus to all types of movement for allies equal to 5 feet x the essentia invested in your Cobalt Inspiration and grants allies use of the spring attack feat (even if they don't qualify for it). Soul Chord Boost: Allies affected gain the effect of a Freedom of Movement spell.
  • Elemental Havoc
    Incarnum manifested as elemental spirits makes your enemies more vulnerable to attacks. While your inspire courage is active, enemies within 60 feet of you take extra damage from elemental attacks. This extra damage is equal to 10% x essentia invested in your Cobalt Inspiration feat. Soul Chord Boost: Elemental damage taken by enemies is repeated the next round (including the extra damage from this effect). Repeated elemental damage takes place even if the enemies moves out of range of this effect.
[/spoiler]

Adrenal Inspiration (Ex): At 2nd level, the rush of battle fuels your performance and reduces the time it takes.  If you move and attack in the same round, you can activate your inspire courage ability during the movement as a free action.  If the movement takes place before your attack you gain the corresponding benefits.

Lyrical Meldshaping (Ex):  At 3rd level, if you have at least 11 ranks in a perform skill, you can spend 1 minute to reshape a soulmeld.  To do this you must unshape an active soulmeld, thus losing any benefits related to it.  By doing so, you can shape any new soulmeld to which you have access.  If you have a chakra bind available (either because the soulmeld you unshaped was bound to a chakra or because not all of your available chakra binds are being used), the new soulmeld can be bound to any chakra to which you could normally bind it.  This effect lasts for 10 minutes.

At 7th level, if you have at least 15 ranks in a perform skill, the time required when using lyrical meldshaping to reshape a soulmeld is reduced to a full-round action.  Each lyrical meldshaping uses one of your bardic music uses for the day.

Modulation:You haven't forgotten that variation can be the key to an inspiring performance.  At 5th level, if you have at least 13 ranks in a perform skill, you can modulate during your inspire courage, allowing you to change which of your known primal inspirations is affecting it. Modifying your inspire courage in this way is a free action, but the decision to do so must be made at the beginning of your turn.  Each modulation uses one of your bardic music uses for the day.

Soul Chord (Su): You see clearly now how music can channel the power of souls. At 10th level you can expend a use of bardic music once per day as a free action to play a resonating chord that pushes your allies (and yourself) to new levels. For 5 rounds you and your allies treat all essentia receptacles as full (this is an exception to the normal rule that essentia can be invested in an incarnum feat only once every 24 hours). The duration of Soul Chord cannot be extended in any way. Soul Chord must be activated while you are already using inspire courage and in confers extra benefits based on the primal inspiration used with that performance. Requires 18 ranks in a perform skill.
____________

*New Feat
Cobalt Inspiration
You can channel incarnum to enhance your inspire courage ability. When you do so, any instrument used during the performance (or your mouth if singing) gives off a blue glow.
Prerequisites: Con 13, inspire courage class feature
Benefit: Once per day you can invest essentia into this feat. While your inspire courage is active, the bonus it confers is increase by 1 for each point of essentia invested. Once the amount of essentia is chosen, it cannot be altered and remains invested for 24 hours. If an exception modifies the essentia invested in this feat, the benefit of inspire courage is adjusted appropriately, even if it is already active. Each meldshaper level you gain grants you an additional use of inspire courage each day. You gain 1 point of essentia.
Special: This feat replaces the class-based progression inspire courage would normally gain past its initial +1 bonus. Inspire courage may still benefit from other sources that increase its effectiveness.

____________

Changelog
[spoiler]
  • Removed Animal Companion, Share Soulmeld, and Improved Share Soulmeld.  Added Lyrical Meldshaping and moved Modulation from 7th to 5th level.
  • Added "Adrenal Inspiration, making it possible for the Totem Chanter to activate his inspire courage during a movement.
[/spoiler]
« Last Edit: October 22, 2011, 01:29:20 AM by gabrion »

gabrion

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Re: Totem Chanter (Bard/Totemist PrC) PEACH
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2011, 03:45:11 AM »
Originally posted over at GitPG, but significant modifications have taken place since the original, so I'm posting the updated version for the community here to evaluate.

Thanks for any feedback!
« Last Edit: October 20, 2011, 03:58:10 AM by gabrion »

kremti

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Re: Totem Chanter (Bard/Totemist PrC) PEACH
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2011, 05:58:20 PM »
I'm not sure if I'm in love with the Animal Companion idea.  I know what you are trying to do, and Totemist is the "natural/druidic" part of the Meldshapers, but it feels like a little bit of "the idea came from other classes"...it also doesn't really have anything to do with Bardic side (other than it's really strong compliment...)

IF I'm doing this, I think I'd end up pushing them into more of the "Magical Beast" side, maybe tie into the Soulmeld that's on the Totem Bind.  But I'm shooting off the top of the head at the moment.  Might need to play around with that concept a bit.

Along the line of "since this is Bardic Music/Totemist Meldshaping dual progression class", more things to have them play off of each other, and maybe help the weakness of each mechanics might be nicer.  For example, one of the mechanical weakness of the Bardic Music is that it's standard action to activate.  It's really annoying to have the Bardic Music start, and that's pretty much all you are doing on the turn 1.  How about rolling it together with the re-allocation of essentia, so it becomes swift action, and be able to re-allocate essentia+start/change Bardic music?

On the Soulmeld side, one of the weakness is that once you choose your soulmelds for the day, you can't change them around.  It really makes some of the utility soulmelds hard to use.  How about something along the line of "Spending 1 Bardic Music Attempt, singing 1 minute, and for the next 10 minutes, you can suppress one soulmeld, and replace it with another soulmeld that occupies same slot"?  This way, we can have out-of-combat utility soulmelds available.
-K

gabrion

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Re: Totem Chanter (Bard/Totemist PrC) PEACH
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2011, 10:17:39 PM »
I'm not sure if I'm in love with the Animal Companion idea.  I know what you are trying to do, and Totemist is the "natural/druidic" part of the Meldshapers, but it feels like a little bit of "the idea came from other classes"...it also doesn't really have anything to do with Bardic side (other than it's really strong compliment...)

I know what you mean.  In the interest of full disclosure, the original write-up did not contain an animal companion and I can see how it doesn't 100% make sense, but I created this PrC to play it and I had a hard time finding another effective way to get some sort of pet for my character, which is something I really want him to have.  Maybe it's cheating to just include a feature as part of a homebrew because it's something I want though.  I'll revisit it.

Quote
IF I'm doing this, I think I'd end up pushing them into more of the "Magical Beast" side, maybe tie into the Soulmeld that's on the Totem Bind.  But I'm shooting off the top of the head at the moment.  Might need to play around with that concept a bit.

This also makes sense to me...totemists drawn on the power of magical creatures, so if the connection to nature on their side is what's opening the door to a companion, it might make more sense to make it a magical creature.  Of course this is tricky as well, but I think at the very least I could cook up a list of very low CR magical creatures that might make sense to be their companions.

Quote
Along the line of "since this is Bardic Music/Totemist Meldshaping dual progression class", more things to have them play off of each other, and maybe help the weakness of each mechanics might be nicer.  For example, one of the mechanical weakness of the Bardic Music is that it's standard action to activate.  It's really annoying to have the Bardic Music start, and that's pretty much all you are doing on the turn 1.  How about rolling it together with the re-allocation of essentia, so it becomes swift action, and be able to re-allocate essentia+start/change Bardic music?

I like this idea and I will certainly look at some way to make activating music more fluid.  Originally I didn't think about this much because for any totem chanter with at least 2 bard levels, casting Inspirational Boost will be a common use of their swift action the turn they start inspire courage.  Still, maybe there is a way to work it out.

Quote
On the Soulmeld side, one of the weakness is that once you choose your soulmelds for the day, you can't change them around.  It really makes some of the utility soulmelds hard to use.  How about something along the line of "Spending 1 Bardic Music Attempt, singing 1 minute, and for the next 10 minutes, you can suppress one soulmeld, and replace it with another soulmeld that occupies same slot"?  This way, we can have out-of-combat utility soulmelds available.
-K


I absolutely love this idea and will definitely add it.  Meldshaping often seems far more versatile than it actually is because of what the individual soulmelds are capable of, but without some way to reshape them, in practice you just get a standard set of benefits for the day.  I may even make it a two tier ability - first taking a minute so that it's only useable out of combat, then later making it a full round action that makes them capable of adjusting tactics based on enemies they face.

Thanks for the feedback.

gabrion

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Re: Totem Chanter (Bard/Totemist PrC) PEACH
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2011, 12:16:52 AM »
  • Got rid of Animal Companion as I realized that wasn't so much in the flavor of the class as it was something I just really wanted.  :)
  • At Kremti's suggestion, added "Lyrical Meldshaping," which allows the totem chanter to use their bardic music to fuel limited reshaping of soulmelds.  At third level this takes a full minute to do, meant as an out of combat thing.  At 7th they can do it with a full round action, adding some versatility if they really really need it in combat.

kremti

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Re: Totem Chanter (Bard/Totemist PrC) PEACH
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2011, 05:16:55 PM »
Quote
Along the line of "since this is Bardic Music/Totemist Meldshaping dual progression class", more things to have them play off of each other, and maybe help the weakness of each mechanics might be nicer.  For example, one of the mechanical weakness of the Bardic Music is that it's standard action to activate.  It's really annoying to have the Bardic Music start, and that's pretty much all you are doing on the turn 1.  How about rolling it together with the re-allocation of essentia, so it becomes swift action, and be able to re-allocate essentia+start/change Bardic music?

I like this idea and I will certainly look at some way to make activating music more fluid.  Originally I didn't think about this much because for any totem chanter with at least 2 bard levels, casting Inspirational Boost will be a common use of their swift action the turn they start inspire courage.  Still, maybe there is a way to work it out.

Well, one of the thing that aggrevated me when I played bards in 3.0 (Yes, 3.0), and 3.5, was that buffing was SLOW.  In 3.0, starting Inspire Courage was full-round action...it was horrible.  Turn 1, "I start inspire courage, and nothing else.  No, you guys don't get bonus yet."  Turn 2, "You guys finally get bonus now.  OMG THAT MONSTER IS EATING MY FACE HALP."

In 3.5, it was slightly better.  It was standard action.  And especially in the earlier days when there wasn't any swift action to be done for bards, it was Turn 1 "Hey, I start the Inspire Courage.  And I'm done.  I wish I could like, shoot an arrow or something because I'm getting phat +6 to hit and damage at level 7.  Or, like, you know, cast Haste or something.  Cos I just got the spell."

I noticed there are some effort into changing this speed of starting a bardic music.  There are a couple of spells in Races of Stones that changes the activation of the bardic music into Move action.  Then the Tome of Battle had feat that turned the activation into Swift action.  I'm thinking this class can do something similar.  To help the awkward mechanics at the beginning of combat.  As you probably noticed yourself, combat option for this PrC boils down to 2 types...one is ranged, standard action based attacks.  The other is melee-mobile.  For melee-mobile option, I think it's nice if the activation doesn't take up the Move Action, because I'm imagining people want the Charge-Pounce option for that turn.  Which leaves us to the swift action...

I know that nowadays there are many swift actions to be done.  In fact, so many that we are somewhat starved at the beginning of the combat.  Inspirational Boost.  Badge of Courage.  But I also see, from the experience from my low level meldshapers, that first thing I do with them in the combat is to re-allocate the essentia, because I end up have them walk around in "Allocation that makes sense out of combat".  I can definitely see this might end up frustrating choices.  That's why I'm sort of thinking "When you re-allocate essentia, you are allowed to start the Inspire Courage at the same time." might be a nice compromise.  Sort of the point of the PrC...Inspire Courage and Meldshaping working in tandem.

But this might be one of those thing you might get a feel for it after play-testing the class for a little while...

-K

gabrion

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Re: Totem Chanter (Bard/Totemist PrC) PEACH
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2011, 10:28:06 PM »
I see what you're saying about the "clunkiness" of starting an inspire courage.  Originally I mostly overlooked this as I thought I would have to change it to a swift action if I did anything, which would have been moot as you usually want to use your swift action to cast Inspirational Boost (which is why the ToB feat was a nice idea, but rarely had an appreciable effect other than the dual progression).

I've added a new ability called "Adrenal Inspiration" that allows the totem chanter to start their inspire courage during a move (but as a free action) if they move an attack in the same round.  This is conducive to both the obvious play styles - either moving into melee combat or moving and firing with manticore belt.

kremti

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Re: Totem Chanter (Bard/Totemist PrC) PEACH
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2011, 11:11:15 PM »
Let me know how it works in practice!  Bards have always been my favorite class to play, and I've been in Incarnum mood lately so this was good to see.

-K

P.S. I think Hide+Move Silent should be class skills...it's aggrevating that there are some Soulmelds that gives bonus to those, but they aren't class skills.  Kind of "Predator Magic Beast" thing...plus they are class skills for Bards.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2011, 10:41:15 PM by kremti »