Incarnum

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I mentioned Incarnum to a friend of mine and he immediately cut in that it was "one of the most broken elements" of D&D.

I've skimmed through it and, aside from Psycarnum Infusion (which he doesn't even know about), I don't know where he gets that idea? Am I missing something with it?

I am just tempted to chalk it up his weird interpretation of what is OP/broken... he thinks that the Monk is OP after all!
Yeah ... your friend has no idea what he's talking about.
I mentioned Incarnum to a friend of mine and he immediately cut in that it was "one of the most broken elements" of D&D.

I've skimmed through it and, aside from Psycarnum Infusion (which he doesn't even know about), I don't know where he gets that idea? Am I missing something with it?

I am just tempted to chalk it up his weird interpretation of what is OP/broken... he thinks that the Monk is OP after all!


There's no help for your friend if he thinks the monk is broken. Any basic arithmetic skill or gameplay experience will point out how bad they are.

Anyway. Incarnum.

Largely, it's a creative system that attempted to clear new ground in D&D. It clearly shows it was designed within 3.5, with ideas such as daily reconfiguring and swift-action management showing throughout the system. It's also the first "real" attempt to break the stranglehold "class level" had on progression ideas (while incarnum classes grant a lot more essentia and support features, the analogue to "caster level" - your essentia investment cap - is keyed to your character level first and foremost, so an incarnum dip or an incarnum-user splashing other classes can still be made to work. Compare to the earlier spellcasters (Thou Shalt Not Give Up Caster Levels) or to later martial adepts (who use a simpler system to scale their initiator levels)). Because of this design, it's very hard to break the game as an incarnum user at pretty much any level (although they do shine a bit when their earliest binds come online, which are often before other classes get their cool toys). At the higher levels, though, they also have an interesting take on opportunity cost scaling: you can't make use of a chakra bind and a magic item in the same body slot (without a separate feat for each slot). This got easier to manage with the Magic Item Compendium's cheaper multiple-common-effects-in-one-item rule, but it's still an issue, particularly for competitive body slots.

In terms of what it can do, it depends on the class you're working with. I'm in the process of re-reading and working with incarnates (as I'd previously given them too little credit, it seems), so I can't speak too much on them yet. I've got more experience with totemists, which are playable single-classed or work well in differing doses of smaller levels (a 2 level totemist dip is frequently used to grab natural weapons or specific melds; if you're taking more than that you're probably working for the Split Chakra (Totem) feat). Totemists are absolute beasts on the natural weapon front, but without true magic their strength is limited. This might explain why your friend thinks they're broken - a totemist can outperform a monk at the walk-up-and-flurry game on its own terms, without any serious optimization.  As for soulborns, just... don't. They're basically paladins, with all the connotations that usually carries - I don't know of anyone who's made potent soulborns.

The only way I know of that they could be considered "overpowering" in general is if you're playing a low-magic game and no one gets appropriate levels of magic gear, or no one brings spellcasting to the table. Even then, they're usually gravitating around Tier Four on most evaluations I've seen (totemist is usually highest, soulborn usually at least one full tier lower). There are specific stunts within incarnum (mostly based around Psycarnum Infusion, Midnight Metamagic, and perhaps specific totem binds) that might cause you to gape, but largely these are a product of incarnum providing leverage on a much more powerful class or ability.

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

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These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

[RT] Captain Charisma: All she wants to do is dance (Hybrid (melee/support), SAD, Theme (criticals), Theme (flex-style)

[TS] Assassin's Bleed: A blade in the crowd (Melee (technical), iaijutsu, SAD, theme (Assassin's Creed), tutorial)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
[All] Party Optimization Showcase: Dead for Nothing
[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

As usual, I can really only say "What Tempest said."
I made a couple of builds using an Incarnate dip, but I haven't really played with the class too much recently. From what I remember, level 4 is one of the natural exit points, and it seems that NE incarnates get more and cooler toys than those of other alignments.
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I do, however, have one last lesson on this subject. That last one? The only build in this post that can one-shot average opponents[by dealing twice as much damage as they have HP? I would argue that it is not optimized. Why isn't it optimized? Because it's overkill. Overkill is NOT optimizing. This means that there are portions of this build dedicated to damage which can safely be removed and thrown elsewhere. For example, you probably don't need both Leap Attack AND Headlong Rush at the same time. You could pick up Extra Rage feats for stamina, feats to support AoO effects, feats that work towards potential prestige classes, and so on. However, you could also shift our ability scores around somewhat. I mean, if you're getting results like that with 16 starting Strength, maybe you can lower it to 14, and free up four points to spend somewhere else - perhaps back into Charisma, giving you some oomph for Intimidating Rage or Imperious Command if you want. You can continue to tune this until it deals "enough" damage - and that "enough" does not need to be "100%". It could easily be, say, 80% (leaving the rest to the team), if your DM is the sort who would ban one-hit killers.
Tempest_Stormwind on Character Optimization
So when do you think Bachmann will be saying she met a mother the previous night that had a son who got a blood transfusion using a gay guy's blood, and now the son is retardedly gay?
When she meets CJ's mom?
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As usual, I can really only say "What Tempest said." I made a couple of builds using an Incarnate dip, but I haven't really played with the class too much recently. From what I remember, level 4 is one of the natural exit points, and it seems that NE incarnates get more and cooler toys than those of other alignments.


Depends what you're working with. I actually find Law the better choice in terms of raw numbers (accuracy is always appreciated), and I can probably find a way to make Chaos work. Evil has some fun stuff though (necrocarnum isn't terribly powerful but it does get some unique mechanics).

...THAT was something else that can be exploited, although it's obviously a loophole, with shades of the Bag O'Rats Fighter.  One level of necrocarnate plus some sacrificial animals (under some interpretations, even pouring your coffee down an anthill will work; in theoretical circumstances I've even seen people include commoners in the party strictly for Chicken Infested*) can give you basically unlimited essentia at the cost of the prerequisites for the class. This only takes a few minutes too (one minute per point of essentia). Even though the effects of most melds aren't all that powerful, this is poor balance, since it's available at level 8 and entirely better than the incarnate's 20th level capstone ability (once per day, 3+Wis round duration, and only affects soulmelds).

I also seem to recall some creative work involving tables 5-1 and 5-2, but most of this involved, again, using incarnum to leverage up something stronger - i.e. if you have a hands bind available (easy to get, as it's a Least chakra) and a metamagic rod, you can eke out one more caster level whenever you use the rod, which sometimes is all a caster build needs to hit a breakpoint.


*
If you're reading this and you don't know Chicken Infested, it was a silly Dragon Magazine flaw (an obvious joke article, in fact) that can only be taken by commoners. Whenever you pull an item out of a container, you have a chance to actually pull out a chicken instead. Where the chickens come from remains a mystery.

Naturally, CO broke this wide open, as it gives you an unlimited supply of sacrificial animals to trigger death effects, particularly if you've Divine Metamagic: Persisted a Greater Consumptive Field spell - and boom goes your caster level. The necrocarnate stunt is just Incarnum's flavor of that trick.

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

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These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

[RT] Captain Charisma: All she wants to do is dance (Hybrid (melee/support), SAD, Theme (criticals), Theme (flex-style)

[TS] Assassin's Bleed: A blade in the crowd (Melee (technical), iaijutsu, SAD, theme (Assassin's Creed), tutorial)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
[All] Party Optimization Showcase: Dead for Nothing
[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

The monk is a broken class. It doesn't do anything and has abilities that have zero or negative synergy.


Unless he means overpowered, in which case he must hate wizards.  
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The monk is a broken class. It doesn't do anything and has abilities that have zero or negative synergy.


Unless he means overpowered, in which case he must hate wizards.  



Heh.  Dude probably thinks druids, clerics and wizards are a little on the weak side.  Maybe he's from Bizarro world.
Thank you, Tempest, for the excellent explanation.

I didn't take him seriously, both because I had read enough Incarnum and because of his skewed view of power levels in 3.5. I don't know why he thinks these things because he is a pretty intelligent person most of the time... I hate to argue too vehemently against monks with him because we have one in our group and I don't want to offend her.
Thank you, Tempest, for the excellent explanation. I didn't take him seriously, both because I had read enough Incarnum and because of his skewed view of power levels in 3.5. I don't know why he thinks these things because he is a pretty intelligent person most of the time...


Hey, sometimes even intelligent folk make mistakes or hold incorrect opinions. In fact, there's a line of research in social psychology that suggests intelligent people who hold such beliefs are often more fixed in their beliefs, simply because they can come up with more or better rationalizations for such beliefs. (In most of these studies, they're ideologically challenging but empirically verifiable ideas; it doesn't usually matter which ideology, though. There does seem to be a slight "exception" among scientifically literate individuals, perhaps because these people tend to be more open to new information or to the possibility of being wrong - however, this isn't always the case.)

I hate to argue too vehemently against monks with him because we have one in our group and I don't want to offend her.


That's actually what the CO boards are here to help with, believe it or not. I could (easily, I wager) provide ways to improve this character were I to see the build. You can usually get everything you want on a monk-type character from a swordsage (Tome of Battle, not necessarily single-classed but nothing's wrong with that) or, occasionally, a Tashalatora build (that's the feat that hybridizes the best monk features onto a psionic class of your choice, typically psychic warrior or ardent). Rarely, you can even do things close to this using other classes in the spirit of the monk, but competely divorced from monk classes (see, for instance, the Edge of the Light build in my signature; all he needs is a two-hander, and the quarterstaff will work here even though it isn't the best choice).

And I wouldn't feel too bad about bringing it up - if it helps, my first long-term 3e character was a monk (and I managed to survive on the frontlines until level 6, when our cleric started to steamroll and the game broke up). I've improved a lot since then (and, in fact, I could easily redo him as a Tiger Claw / Diamond Mind swordsage and fit the feel perfectly), but I don't hide the fact that I made mistakes early on.  It's largely because of those mistakes that I learned what I could.

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

Show
These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

[RT] Captain Charisma: All she wants to do is dance (Hybrid (melee/support), SAD, Theme (criticals), Theme (flex-style)

[TS] Assassin's Bleed: A blade in the crowd (Melee (technical), iaijutsu, SAD, theme (Assassin's Creed), tutorial)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
[All] Party Optimization Showcase: Dead for Nothing
[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

I've tried to help the Monk as much as possible. It's actually my fault that she picked monk in the first place. She started when I still believed monks weren't bad and had never seen the inside of the ToB despite their being a swordsage in the group... She wanted to play a stealthy melee type and we already had a rogue. I suggested that she play a monk or ranger and she picked monk. I knew nothing about Tash or Psychic Warriors. She pick Half-Celestial because we have houserule that allows us to essentially buy off LA up front and level up at the lower level. She couldn't be a swordsage because we already had one. Since then, the rogue and swordsage have been switched out but it is too late to change.

She is a monk 9/ rogue 1/ Ninja of the Crescent Moon 2. She had the Ascetic Rogue feat. She still struggles to hit regularly do significant damage when she does. Short of having her roll up a new character, which she doesn't want to do, I don't know how to help her further.

Isn't there a vest that adds your charisma mod to damage?
...wow. Oddly, that's the PRC that tickled me when I worked with when I did monk. This was early enough that the Sword and Fist errata weren't out, so the class was full base attack with monk saves (and there weren't better options). A pure swordsage or shadow sun ninja can do it better, but that's out of the question here.

What are her ability scores? You can do halfway good Dexterity focus with that layout and Finesse/Shadow Blade. If you need Charisma to damage, Google X Stat to Y Bonus (I'm mobile or I'd link it myself); the equipment options will be expensive but they're available.

I'll see what else I can find with some reading (as I forget the Crescent Moon ninja features). Show her the Tome though. Shadow Hand/Setting Sun/Diamond Mind swordsage with the Shadow Sun Ninja is basically the same idea but much more dynamic. See if that expresses her concept better.

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

Show
These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

[RT] Captain Charisma: All she wants to do is dance (Hybrid (melee/support), SAD, Theme (criticals), Theme (flex-style)

[TS] Assassin's Bleed: A blade in the crowd (Melee (technical), iaijutsu, SAD, theme (Assassin's Creed), tutorial)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
[All] Party Optimization Showcase: Dead for Nothing
[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

We are well versed in the Tomb now, as I am playing a Warblade. Sadly she wants to go her own way since we've already had a Swordsage. Our DM allowed the PrC Ninja to be at full base.

Her stats are:
STR: 20
DEX: 20
CON: 20
INT: 17
WIS:28
CHA: 22

That's including items and racial bumps. Right now I'm hoping she dies and rolls up another. It's unlikely, however, as she is never the one to draw the bad guys attention...
We are well versed in the Tomb now, as I am playing a Warblade. Sadly she wants to go her own way since we've already had a Swordsage. Our DM allowed the PrC Ninja to be at full base. Her stats are: STR: 20 DEX: 20 CON: 20 INT: 17 WIS:28 CHA: 22 That's including items and racial bumps. Right now I'm hoping she dies and rolls up another. It's unlikely, however, as she is never the one to draw the bad guys attention...


Well, that's still plenty to work with (amazing ability scores in your groups...). And I've reread the ninja of the crescent moon now - assuming it uses its original full base attack* and three good saves, it does give you plenty to work with, although all of the components are old.

I'd take Intuitive Attack (use Wisdom for attack rolls with light weapons, including unarmed strikes) and focus on Wisdom-based abilities, rather than trying to get Charisma up there (Kuji-Kiri is one of those trap abilities; the DC will never scale all that high and it's the only thing in that class based on Charisma). There are several such feats in Complete Warrior, usually based around Stunning Fist augmentations (examples: Pain Touch, Freezing the Lifeblood, and possibly even Pharaoh's Fist from Sandstorm), and they fit thematically with some of the ninja's surprise takedown abilities such as Silencing Attack.

The ninja gets you into position, the crippling attack prevents the target from fighting back, you slit throats and move along. No real change to the character, just a bit of consolidation around Wisdom.

*
This is one of those weird quirks with 3e monks - technically, you had two sets of base attack, whether or not you were attacking unarmed. One of them was your base attack as 3.5 would consider it. Another is just the base attack from Monk and from other classes that say they make unarmed attacks like a monk. You could have a +16 base attack but a +10 monk base attack this way, for instance. The first one gave you four attacks (one every 5 points), while the latter would also give you four attacks with monk weapons (at 10/7/4/1); Flurry only worked with the second. So technically the full base attack on the Ninja of the Crescent Moon wouldn't help the monk flurry.

But I digress.
 

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

Show
These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

[RT] Captain Charisma: All she wants to do is dance (Hybrid (melee/support), SAD, Theme (criticals), Theme (flex-style)

[TS] Assassin's Bleed: A blade in the crowd (Melee (technical), iaijutsu, SAD, theme (Assassin's Creed), tutorial)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
[All] Party Optimization Showcase: Dead for Nothing
[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

Already took intuitive attack. She took improved grapple, because nobody told her otherwise. She has flight based feats like diving charge and flyby attack...
I have seen my book of "Magic of Incarnum" (buying it in Spain wasn´t easy) and..

Soulborn is like a paladin subclass with incarnum powers. The background of incarnate is too closer to paladin (they can´t be neutral). Totemist was interesting concept, maybe other name. Incarnums powers could be linked to other mystic forces, the elements (air, fire, earth, water, wood and metal). I advice "neutral" meldshaper classes.

I had liked other variants for example primal (nature) vs necrotic/shadow. Incarnum powers linked/bond about aligment were almost boring.

Monsters with incarnum powers are boring (monsters using essence to get bonus and changing them for combat is complicated)..

I would like a incarnum artificier (like the prestige class ironsoul forgemaster, creater of magic weapons with a exclusive extra chakras bind), a creater of living constructs (like the prestige class effigy master from the Complete Arcane), and a "incarnum warforged" PC race (psiforged was a canon PC race, a psionic warforged)...

And wu jen with extra free incarnum feat midnight metamagic (ussing essence to ge a metamagic effect).

"Say me what you're showing off for, and I'll say you what you lack!" (Spanish saying)

 

Book 13 Anaclet 23 Confucius said: "The Superior Man is in harmony but does not follow the crowd. The inferior man follows the crowd, but is not in harmony"

 

"In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of." - Confucius