That's the Spirit: Incarnum In Ghostwalk

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That's the Spirit: Incarnum In Ghostwalk

Post by willpell » Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:56 pm

There's something conceptually irresistable to me about the idea of a disembodied phantasm being a Meldshaper; incarnum is the power of the soul made manifest, so who better to wield it than a manifested soul? In a normal D&D setting this runs into a problem: as Undead (or possibly Deathless) creatures, the deceased have no Constitution score, and thus they have to take a special Feat to allow them to use Incarnum despite "having no soul of their own" (which is a really stupid way of describing a ghost, even if that ghost is in fact undead). But Ghostwalk gives us an alternate take on ghosts, where they are not Undead, and IIRC they still have their Constitution score, representing how tough their etheric form is. Thusly, this seems like a great environment in which to explore the possibilities of the Incarnate and Totemist classes (which are the TWO classes that were included in the Magic of Incarnum book; it's a pity they didn't think to provide a third).

Yes, that last bit is sarcastic. But otherwise, I think this is a neat idea. Anyone have any thoughts?

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Re: That's the Spirit: Incarnum In Ghostwalk

Post by thorr-kan » Wed Jan 20, 2016 4:34 pm

Thematically, it's a really good mix. You might want to consider an ghost incarnum wielder class as well.

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Re: That's the Spirit: Incarnum In Ghostwalk

Post by Big Mac » Mon Jan 25, 2016 12:38 pm

I did buy Magic of Incarnum, shortly after buying Ghostwalk, to see if there was any implied campaign setting in Magic of Incarnum (there isn't).

Magic of Incarnum doesn't really fit in with most campaign settings. It includes disruptive concepts. But it could probably fit in fairly well with Ghostwalk, because there are similar themes there.

I think I would probably be inclined to try to shunt the Magic of Incarnum stuff of of the edge of the Ghostwalk map, so that it was on the same world, but you had Manifest with exclusive Ghostwalk rules, an area to the West with exclusive Incarnum rules and an area in the middle where the two meet.
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Re: That's the Spirit: Incarnum In Ghostwalk

Post by willpell » Mon Jan 25, 2016 1:27 pm

Big Mac wrote:Magic of Incarnum doesn't really fit in with most campaign settings. It includes disruptive concepts.
How d'ye mean?

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Re: That's the Spirit: Incarnum In Ghostwalk

Post by Big Mac » Tue Jan 26, 2016 1:01 am

willpell wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Magic of Incarnum doesn't really fit in with most campaign settings. It includes disruptive concepts.
How d'ye mean?
It's a "your mileage may vary thing" but I tend to like campaign settings to have a collection of themes that go across most of the supplements.

Magic of Incarnum is branded as a core-3e book (rather than as a campaign setting) and it namechecks several of the Iconics, so it should really be part of the Greyhawk-lite thing. But it introduces many themes (connected to the Incarnum concept) that just don't seem to have a tie-in to previous Greyhawk canon. So it feels more like a reboot, than a supplement to me.

Eberron apparently has a place for some of the elements of Magic of Incarnum (and they get an Eberron makeover) but you can't drop the entire book into something like a Forgotten Realms or Dragonlance campaign without it creating a different feel to a campaign that does not have Magic of Incarnum added to it.

If someone wants a rebooted Realms or a rebooted Ansalon, this book could be a lot of fun to them, but I'm someone who is looking for a mainstream feel to campaign worlds, so that a Greyhawk game and a Forgotten Realms game feel different.

I thought about using Magic of Incarnum as the main theme in a Spelljammer crystal sphere. Something like that would work for me, because the Incarnum concept would then be localised to that specific crystal sphere (and any spheres that it "spread" to).

I think you are also right in thinking that it could fit onto the same world as Ghostwalk. They are not exactly the same thing, but both campaign settings don't have fully detailed worlds behind them. There is a lot of worldbuilding stuff in Magic of Incarnum, but there is no map and no listing of countries. It is all scattered elements.

I think that Ghostwalk would need to reboot Magic of Incarnum but with an entire empty world and a big lack of detail, I think the main thrust of the reboot would be to remove any Greyhawk-lite elements and replace them with Ghostwalk elements.
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Re: That's the Spirit: Incarnum In Ghostwalk

Post by willpell » Tue Jan 26, 2016 2:05 pm

Big Mac wrote:Magic of Incarnum is branded as a core-3e book (rather than as a campaign setting) and it namechecks several of the Iconics, so it should really be part of the Greyhawk-lite thing. But it introduces many themes (connected to the Incarnum concept) that just don't seem to have a tie-in to previous Greyhawk canon. So it feels more like a reboot, than a supplement to me.
Afraid I still don't get it...can you name those concepts, or is this like a vague intuitive thing you can't put into words?
Eberron apparently has a place for some of the elements of Magic of Incarnum (and they get an Eberron makeover) but you can't drop the entire book into something like a Forgotten Realms or Dragonlance campaign without it creating a different feel to a campaign that does not have Magic of Incarnum added to it.
Well yeah, it changes a few things, and it's definitely a departure from traditional fantasy, but I think that's kind of the point. The Forgotten Realms in particular feel like a great place to drop in the Rilkan and Skarns in some distant corner of Toril, since it's so obvious that the Mishtai parallel the Sarrukh. Dragonlance might be harder to pull off, since it cleaves so much to Tolkienesque traditional fantasy (apart from its minotaurs). But even then, I feel as if adding Psionics instead would be harder to justify; Incarnates buy into the same alignment systems that power Clerics and such, while the Totemist is a weird variation on Druid, while none of the psionic classes overlap at all really with anything other than Monk (and I have a hard time picturing monks in Dragonlance either). I'd imagine Incarnates on Krynn would have a somewhat stilted relationship to Law and Chaos, but that doesn't affect mechanics in the slighest, given that they never printed any specific soulmelds for those alignments.
I thought about using Magic of Incarnum as the main theme in a Spelljammer crystal sphere. Something like that would work for me, because the Incarnum concept would then be localised to that specific crystal sphere (and any spheres that it "spread" to).
I guess the difference between you and me involves an estimation of spread rates....
I think you are also right in thinking that it could fit onto the same world as Ghostwalk. They are not exactly the same thing, but both campaign settings don't have fully detailed worlds behind them. There is a lot of worldbuilding stuff in Magic of Incarnum, but there is no map and no listing of countries. It is all scattered elements.
Quite deliberate in that case, since it was intended to be drop-in-and-play compatible. If anything I think Ghostwalk could have done a better job of modularity there; as it is, having its own little regional setting, combined with a drastically different cosmology, makes it rather hard to plug in anywhere else.
I think that Ghostwalk would need to reboot Magic of Incarnum but with an entire empty world and a big lack of detail, I think the main thrust of the reboot would be to remove any Greyhawk-lite elements and replace them with Ghostwalk elements.
Well, Whiteleaf is in the process of deleting all its Greyhawk inspirations as much as can be managed, and while I can't overtly replace them with stuff from non-OGL books, I was refluffing Incarnum so heavily that I might as well completely rebrand it. And while I can't use the specific ghost mechanics in Ghostwalk, I can certainly borrow the overall notion of "ghosts aren't undead, and their stories aren't over", and build my own version from the ground up, specific to the particular story that my world is telling about both of these factors. The result is only part of what Whiteleaf is all about, but it very much ties in to the overall themes.

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Re: That's the Spirit: Incarnum In Ghostwalk

Post by Big Mac » Tue Feb 02, 2016 7:11 pm

willpell wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Magic of Incarnum is branded as a core-3e book (rather than as a campaign setting) and it namechecks several of the Iconics, so it should really be part of the Greyhawk-lite thing. But it introduces many themes (connected to the Incarnum concept) that just don't seem to have a tie-in to previous Greyhawk canon. So it feels more like a reboot, than a supplement to me.
Afraid I still don't get it...can you name those concepts, or is this like a vague intuitive thing you can't put into words?
The Iconics are a bunch of example characters mentioned in the core 3e books. They are nominally set in Greyhawk. They feature in the New Koratia novels, but those novels have so few Greyhawk details that someone (who I respect a lot as a Greyhawk expert) told me that New Koratia was not part of Greyhawk. (It turned out that was incorrect, but it is hard to locate New Koratia on the Greyhawk map.) Anyhoo, the main thing is that the mention of Iconics theoretically makes Magic of Incarnum a Greyhawk-lite book (if you are inclined to care about that thing - which I do, but I don't expect anyone else to do).

The Incarnum themes are the ways that the magic ties up several things throughout the book (which is great as it gives you stuff to play with) but those things have zero support in any Greyhawk products. So it does not "feel" like part of Greyhawk to me.

If they had done something like set Magic of Incarnum in Hepmonaland, and provided a map with incarnum stuff happening in the south of the continent and being rarer and rarer the further north people travelled, I might have been able to buy into that notion more easily.
willpell wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Eberron apparently has a place for some of the elements of Magic of Incarnum (and they get an Eberron makeover) but you can't drop the entire book into something like a Forgotten Realms or Dragonlance campaign without it creating a different feel to a campaign that does not have Magic of Incarnum added to it.
Well yeah, it changes a few things, and it's definitely a departure from traditional fantasy, but I think that's kind of the point. The Forgotten Realms in particular feel like a great place to drop in the Rilkan and Skarns in some distant corner of Toril, since it's so obvious that the Mishtai parallel the Sarrukh. Dragonlance might be harder to pull off, since it cleaves so much to Tolkienesque traditional fantasy (apart from its minotaurs). But even then, I feel as if adding Psionics instead would be harder to justify; Incarnates buy into the same alignment systems that power Clerics and such, while the Totemist is a weird variation on Druid, while none of the psionic classes overlap at all really with anything other than Monk (and I have a hard time picturing monks in Dragonlance either). I'd imagine Incarnates on Krynn would have a somewhat stilted relationship to Law and Chaos, but that doesn't affect mechanics in the slighest, given that they never printed any specific soulmelds for those alignments.
I kind of think all of those settings have too much detail that is specifically non-incarnum. That's why I thought your choice of Ghostwalk was interesting.
willpell wrote:
Big Mac wrote:I thought about using Magic of Incarnum as the main theme in a Spelljammer crystal sphere. Something like that would work for me, because the Incarnum concept would then be localised to that specific crystal sphere (and any spheres that it "spread" to).
I guess the difference between you and me involves an estimation of spread rates....
Possibly. But there is no wrong answer. :)
willpell wrote:
Big Mac wrote:I think you are also right in thinking that it could fit onto the same world as Ghostwalk. They are not exactly the same thing, but both campaign settings don't have fully detailed worlds behind them. There is a lot of worldbuilding stuff in Magic of Incarnum, but there is no map and no listing of countries. It is all scattered elements.
Quite deliberate in that case, since it was intended to be drop-in-and-play compatible. If anything I think Ghostwalk could have done a better job of modularity there; as it is, having its own little regional setting, combined with a drastically different cosmology, makes it rather hard to plug in anywhere else.
LOL I actually like Ghostwalk more for the same reason that you like Magic of Incarnum more. Each to his own!
willpell wrote:
Big Mac wrote:I think that Ghostwalk would need to reboot Magic of Incarnum but with an entire empty world and a big lack of detail, I think the main thrust of the reboot would be to remove any Greyhawk-lite elements and replace them with Ghostwalk elements.
Well, Whiteleaf is in the process of deleting all its Greyhawk inspirations as much as can be managed, and while I can't overtly replace them with stuff from non-OGL books, I was refluffing Incarnum so heavily that I might as well completely rebrand it. And while I can't use the specific ghost mechanics in Ghostwalk, I can certainly borrow the overall notion of "ghosts aren't undead, and their stories aren't over", and build my own version from the ground up, specific to the particular story that my world is telling about both of these factors. The result is only part of what Whiteleaf is all about, but it very much ties in to the overall themes.
Ah OK.

Well I was looking at this from a Ghostwalk campaign setting point of view (as we are in the Ghostwalk forum). :)
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Re: That's the Spirit: Incarnum In Ghostwalk

Post by willpell » Wed Feb 03, 2016 2:09 pm

Big Mac wrote:The Iconics are a bunch of example characters mentioned in the core 3e books. They are nominally set in Greyhawk. They feature in the New Koratia novels, but those novels have so few Greyhawk details that someone (who I respect a lot as a Greyhawk expert) told me that New Koratia was not part of Greyhawk. (It turned out that was incorrect, but it is hard to locate New Koratia on the Greyhawk map.) Anyhoo, the main thing is that the mention of Iconics theoretically makes Magic of Incarnum a Greyhawk-lite book (if you are inclined to care about that thing - which I do, but I don't expect anyone else to do).

The Incarnum themes are the ways that the magic ties up several things throughout the book (which is great as it gives you stuff to play with) but those things have zero support in any Greyhawk products. So it does not "feel" like part of Greyhawk to me.
Still a bit vague. I don't know what you mean by phrases like " the magic ties up several things throughout the book (which is great as it gives you stuff to play with)". Can you give concrete examples of what you're talking about?

I feel like the only thing MoI needs to be Greyhawky is to have Totemist melds that are explicitly named after such ridiculous Gygaxian beasties as the Displacer Beast (Displacer Mantle) and the Bulette (Landshark Boots). Which is exactly why I am in the process of renaming most of those for my campaign.
If they had done something like set Magic of Incarnum in Hepmonaland, and provided a map with incarnum stuff happening in the south of the continent and being rarer and rarer the further north people travelled, I might have been able to buy into that notion more easily.
Sure, you can cloister it off in a distant land - or you can just revise the history of Greyhawk so a number of iconic Fighters and Paladins are replaced with Soulborn, various Clerics and Rogues with Incarnates, and a few Druids or Barbarians with Totemists (the latter being the most drastic change, but still not unreasonable). Then you drop in incarnum monsters here and there, and you're good to go. Most of the people who shaped the history of Greyhawk have been wizards, so it won't change an awful lot, really.
willpell wrote:I kind of think all of those settings have too much detail that is specifically non-incarnum. That's why I thought your choice of Ghostwalk was interesting.
I guess the difference in our approach is that I consider the details eminently subject to fudging, revising or outright replacing. I don't think what defines, say, Krynn as a world are specifically the exploits of Raistlin Majere and Tasselhoff Burrfoot; you can replace those with other heroes and still get "a" Dragonlance setting, not quite the same one but still essentially the same CS. But if you keep those particular heroes and all their canonical exploits, while changing all the background concepts so that Dragons are no longer a force in world politics, and the world no longer has a quasi-Tolkenian feel, then I think it stops being Dragonlance even if all the same people are doing all the same things in particular canonical events within it.
Well I was looking at this from a Ghostwalk campaign setting point of view (as we are in the Ghostwalk forum). :)
I don't think of Ghostwalk as existing primarily as a campaign setting, but rather as a set of rules allowing for ghosts as player characters, which can be dropped into any setting without changing all that much. The worldbuilding provided for the nations of Bazzarene and Tepperek and such is so minimal as to hardly qualify as a CS to me.

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Re: That's the Spirit: Incarnum In Ghostwalk

Post by willpell » Thu Apr 05, 2018 9:18 pm

willpell wrote:
Wed Feb 03, 2016 2:09 pm
Big Mac wrote:The Iconics are a bunch of example characters mentioned in the core 3e books. They are nominally set in Greyhawk. They feature in the New Koratia novels, but those novels have so few Greyhawk details that someone (who I respect a lot as a Greyhawk expert) told me that New Koratia was not part of Greyhawk. (It turned out that was incorrect, but it is hard to locate New Koratia on the Greyhawk map.) Anyhoo, the main thing is that the mention of Iconics theoretically makes Magic of Incarnum a Greyhawk-lite book (if you are inclined to care about that thing - which I do, but I don't expect anyone else to do).

The Incarnum themes are the ways that the magic ties up several things throughout the book (which is great as it gives you stuff to play with) but those things have zero support in any Greyhawk products. So it does not "feel" like part of Greyhawk to me.
Still a bit vague. I don't know what you mean by phrases like " the magic ties up several things throughout the book (which is great as it gives you stuff to play with)". Can you give concrete examples of what you're talking about?
I never got this answer...
I don't think of Ghostwalk as existing primarily as a campaign setting, but rather as a set of rules allowing for ghosts as player characters, which can be dropped into any setting without changing all that much. The worldbuilding provided for the nations of Bazzarene and Tepperek and such is so minimal as to hardly qualify as a CS to me.
But to fault the logic of my past self, the cosmological mechanics of Ghostwalk, where all ghosts have to travel to a physical location to enter the True Afterlife, makes very little sense if you're on a planet the size of Toril.

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Re: That's the Spirit: Incarnum In Ghostwalk

Post by Seethyr » Thu Apr 05, 2018 10:48 pm

Ghostwalk was a concept, a setting and a set of rules. I think the idea is really just that you take what you want out of it.

Personally, I like the idea of it being a very localized phenomena. Perhaps tied to a particular god or pantheon (like the ones in the book). Incarnum would be a great addition to add additional flavor.

The book is in my attic, but I remember there being some kind of giant crystal location of power related to incarnum - maybe it is somehow tied to Manifest?

Add binders to this and you’ve got one heck of a unique setting.
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Re: That's the Spirit: Incarnum In Ghostwalk

Post by willpell » Thu Apr 05, 2018 11:36 pm

Seethyr wrote: The book is in my attic, but I remember there being some kind of giant crystal location of power related to incarnum - maybe it is somehow tied to Manifest?
The campaign section of MoI describes the idea of having a Wellspring, a giant block of incarnum which controls the entry of preincarnate souls into the world, whose existence locally creates Incarnum creatures in the area which the PCs have never seen before, and which they must damage in order to make Incarnum exist elsewhere, including allowing them to take levels of incarnate and totemist. But all this is just an option, not the canonical truth. A nearly by-the-book interpretation of Ghostwalk would be about the only place I might consider using this Wellspring concept, which is a little silly for my taste otherwise. But I would be more likely to just have both Incarnum and Ghostwalk-style ghosts, like psionics and Affiliations and Legacy Weapons, as things that are totally integrated into the setting from the word go, which is what I've done in Whiteleaf (see below).
Add binders to this and you’ve got one heck of a unique setting.
In my Whiteleaf setting, I decided that both Incarnum and Binding are forms of "spiritualism", which is a separate powersource distinct from magic, just as with the "Psionics is different" campaign option in Expanded Psionics Handbook. However, I think I made all this up, I don't know that there's anything on the pages of MoI and ToM which suggest this.

Tangent: the best character I ever DMed for was a Drow Psion whose intro adventure I structured largely around investigating an outbreak of the Lost (or as I call them "the Overcome", although I never got around to using either term in-game). She had met maybe ten NPCs, if that, before I introduced one who had an Incarnum feat (albeit one so bad that I had to houserule it as being four times as effective...for some reason the writers of MoI were really range-phobic), as preparation for the Incarnum enemies she would be facing. I don't think I was familiar with Ghostwalk at that point, but I certainly wouldn't have hesitated to put a non-undead ghost into the mix, along with the rest of her equally bizarre party (all NPC bodyguards and exposition dumps, including a Factotum, a Blackscale Lizardfolk, and eventually a Genasi Warblade), and the freakish opponents they fought with her aid (of which my proudest accomplishment, though of course impossible to run, was a guy who had five different level-1 classes all built around the same theme...a Swordsage/Shadowcaster/Fighter/Rogue/Clostered-Cleric who worshipped darkness, dressed like an Egyptian Pharaoh, and attacked with his crook and flail while using Diamond Mind maneuvers to flatfoot his opponent so he got a Sneak Attack). I have never seen the point in running a setting where fully five percent of the population are single-class Fighters, if not Warriors or even Commoners.

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Re: That's the Spirit: Incarnum In Ghostwalk

Post by Big Mac » Thu Apr 12, 2018 6:26 pm

willpell wrote:
Thu Apr 05, 2018 9:18 pm
willpell wrote:
Wed Feb 03, 2016 2:09 pm
Big Mac wrote:The Iconics are a bunch of example characters mentioned in the core 3e books. They are nominally set in Greyhawk. They feature in the New Koratia novels, but those novels have so few Greyhawk details that someone (who I respect a lot as a Greyhawk expert) told me that New Koratia was not part of Greyhawk. (It turned out that was incorrect, but it is hard to locate New Koratia on the Greyhawk map.) Anyhoo, the main thing is that the mention of Iconics theoretically makes Magic of Incarnum a Greyhawk-lite book (if you are inclined to care about that thing - which I do, but I don't expect anyone else to do).

The Incarnum themes are the ways that the magic ties up several things throughout the book (which is great as it gives you stuff to play with) but those things have zero support in any Greyhawk products. So it does not "feel" like part of Greyhawk to me.
Still a bit vague. I don't know what you mean by phrases like " the magic ties up several things throughout the book (which is great as it gives you stuff to play with)". Can you give concrete examples of what you're talking about?
I never got this answer...
You're right.

I wrote that post back in 2016 though. I'll have to try to remember what I was talking about, as it isn't fresh in my mind.

But the main theme of the paragraph, was that Incarnum was a new thing, which doesn't have a connection to old Greyhawk products. So any sort of "Greyhawk-lite link doesn't feel very strong.
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