Character Classes


A mask representing a basilisk, a mantle of the displacer beast, boots of the landshark - these are the hallmarks of the totemist. You channel the soul energy of magical beasts to make your soulmelds and claim them as your totems to acquire a share in their power.

Like the incarnate, your primary class ability is meldshaping. You have your own distinct soulmeld list, however, and the ability to bind soulmelds to a unique chakra - your totem chakra. You gain special abilities related to your totem chakra, particularly the ability to quickly switch which soulmeld is bound to it.


As a totemist, you have close ties to nature similar to those of a druid or ranger, but your power is drawn from incarnum rather than divine magic. Your soulmelds primarily serve to give you new capabilities in combat, mostly new melee attack forms. Several soulmelds increase your defenses and a few improve your ranged attacks, but in general you belong in the front lines of combat, slashing your opponents with displacer beast tentacles before teleporting away like a blink dog.

Like all meldshapers, your Constitution score determines how many soulmelds you can have shaped at once; it also sets the saving throw DC for your soulmelds that allow saves. A high Constitution score also increases your hit points, which is important in combat. Since you are likely to engage in melee frequently, a high Strength score is important to improve your attacks, while a high Dexterity increases your Armor Class.

Within all races, the groups most likely to produce totemists are those with relatively close ties to nature, who live by hunting and gathering or slash-and-burn farming rather than extensive agriculture. Dusklings are often totemists. Wood and wild elves also have a strong totemist tradition, and some groups of humans produce totemists as well. Only the wildest groups of halflings and gnomes include totemists, and this class is virtually unknown among dwarves. Half-orcs and members of the savage humanoid races are occasionally totemists as well.

Totemists can be of any alignment. Many gravitate toward neutrality like the magical beasts they revere, while others adopt more extreme alignments - the lawful good of blink dogs and lammasus, the chaotic good of pegasi and unicorns, the lawful evil of displacer beasts, or the chaotic evil of chimeras and lamias.


As a totemist, you most likely come from a culture that might be considered primitive by other peoples. You spent at least the early years of your life far more concerned with finding food and shelter than with formal education. You probably still think of the most basic needs before less essential desires, such as gaining treasure or taking revenge. Those are luxuries. It might be a personal goal of yours to reach a position in your life where you can afford luxuries, but in the meantime you function at a more basic level.

What are you doing in the towns and cities of civilized society? What has brought you from your home in the wilderness regions of the world? Why have you chosen to keep company with adventurers, and why these particular companions? Answering these questions will give an important handle on your character. Perhaps you have been banished from your people and taken up a life of adventure because it is the only way you can come close to fitting in to civilized society. Perhaps your elders sent you on a quest and you hope your adventuring companions can help you accomplish it.

Most totemists worship the spirits of magical beasts, invoking them through prayers even as they bind their power into their soulmelds. A few have adopted the worship of Obad-Hai or a similar nature deity, believing that he has authority over all nature spirits. A handful of others worship Kord or Erythnul because their people revere these gods.

Totemists relate well to barbarians and, to a somewhat lesser extent, to druids. In general, they gladly accept the company of any character who accepts them, rarely making quick judgments of any individual based on class. Incarnates and soulborns recognize that the techniques of totemists are related to their own, but vary in their responses to totemists. Incarnates in particular look down on totemists as savages who don't understand the correct use of incarnum, but most other meldshapers are intrigued by the uses to which totemists put incarnum and eagerly discuss their different thoughts and techniques.

Standing strictly on the basics (Hit Die, attack bonus, weapon and armor proficiency), you're a fair melee combatant comparable to a cleric. Your soulmelds expand your combat capabilities, however, making a position in the front lines of battle even more viable. You have a good mix of attack-enhancing soulmelds and those more focused on defense. With the right soulmelds in place, you can attack effectively without a weapon and stand up in melee without armor.

You also have a wide variety of special abilities to choose from. Do you want to roar like a dragonne, spit acid like an ankheg, trill like a frost worm, scare your enemies like a krenshar, petrify them like a basilisk, or grapple them like a girallon? Do you want to blink like a blink dog, be displaced like a displacer beast, phase like a phase spider, or fly like a pegasus? The special attacks and defenses you choose should give you plenty to do in any combat while ideally complementing the capabilities of your allies.

Most totemists declare that they did not choose their career - it chose them. You might have had a momentous encounter with a magical beast in the wild in your youth, one that left you close to death or simply feeling called. It might have been your community that recognized something in you and thrust the role of a totemist on you. Your initial training in the class probably consisted of a long period spent alone in the wilderness, fasting and communing with nature spirits to learn their secrets and invoke their blessings. After emerging from that retreat, you learned to form incarnum into your soulmelds.

Like the incarnate, you have a large variety of options available to you in your soulmelds. You have access to a long list of soulmelds from the start of your career. Some totemists identify strongly with a specific magical beast and prefer to bind a related soulmeld to their soul chakra, or they focus on a small number of soulmelds they frequently bind to that chakra. Others prefer to remain completely flexible in their soulmeld choices, using the rapid rebinding ability to quickly bind different soulmelds to their totem chakras.


In the real world, people of different cultures esteem animals as exemplars of qualities that they seek to emulate. The totemist is an extension of this principle into the D&D universe: similar to animals but more powerful, magical beasts are a natural choice for totems. Totemists use incarnum to channel the power they see embodied in magical beasts and claim it for their own.

In their native lands, totemists serve as spiritual leaders for their people, mediating between the mundane world and the spirit world of totem beasts. They are also war leaders, embodying the strength and power of magical beasts in the forefront of raiding parties and armies. They are part of two worlds, the material world and the spirit realm, and fully belong to neither. They live as outsiders even in the midst of their communities.

Totemists appear here and there in the legends of different peoples as folk heroes. The legendary duskling Tavannath Durimarrasha is sometimes called the Totem Bringer, for he is said to be the first totemist. Areil Woodwarden is a wild elf totemist of modern times, known for mobilizing the magical beasts of her forest home to repel a gnoll invasion. Gayadari the Dreamer is a human totemist from a remote land, known as a great hunter of dragons.

Totemists as a rule do not form organizations. Many totemists are part of tight tribal structures in their native lands, and totemists who leave those lands are such anomalies that they rarely find compatriots to form guilds or schools. Some totemists have been known to join organizations that support druids, while others claim membership in societies that cater to foreigners in civilized lands. In general, however, totemists are loners at heart, rejecting any organization larger than an adventuring company.

Totemists claim positions of respect (even if it is mingled with fear) among their own people and members of other societies that are familiar with their ways. A member of a culture that includes totemists has at least a friendly reaction to any totemist, even one native to a different culture. Even though they are friendly, however, such people are more likely to give concrete aid and escape the totemist's presence quickly rather than engage in casual conversation.

People whose native cultures do not have a place for totemists range from indifferent to unfriendly toward totemists, depending on their feelings about foreigners in general and a specific totemist's own culture specifically. A lizardfolk or orc totemist is unlikely to find a warm reception in human lands, though he might be well received by wild elves who recognize his totemist status.


Characters with Knowledge (the planes) or Knowledge (nature) can research totemists to learn more about them.

DC 10: Totemists worship magical beasts and have some ability to mimic their powers.

DC 15: Totemists wield a soul-energy called incarnum, which they draw from magical beasts and shape into objects almost like magic items. They have some limited ability to change their shape to gain properties of the magical beasts they revere.

DC 20: Totemists shape incarnum into soulmelds that are related to various magical beasts. By claiming different soulmelds as a totem, a totemist can take on physical characteristics of different magical beasts. They can also bind soulmelds to the power centers of the body to gain different abilities.

DC 30: Information about notable totemists, drawn from the section above.


Like the soulborn, the totemist is an important but not central part of the incarnum system. They are an example of how to model an existing fantasy and mythological archetype, similar to the druid and the spirit shaman, using incarnum rather than divine magic. You might consider revising your campaign history so that certain existing druids or spirit shamans are actually totemists instead, or you can posit that totemists are either a new arrival in the world or part of a distant culture that is only now arriving on the world stage. See Incarnum Campaigns for more advice about incorporating incarnum into your campaign.

Totemists have close ties to an existing fixture of almost all D&D worlds - the magical beasts that make up common encounters in most games. For this reason, a player with a totemist can easily feel an important and meaningful part even of a campaign that otherwise makes little use of incarnum. Even if a totemist character never sees another character or creature that uses incarnum and never acquires an incarnum-based magic item, he still has a place in the world and a unique relationship to the magical beasts all around him. As a result, running a game that includes a totemist character requires little special attention.

With significant modifications or expansions, the totemist could be recast with ties to different creature types. By renaming and tweaking their melds, totemists could invoke aberrations, fey, or dragons instead of magical beasts.

NPC totemists might be encountered as leaders of small bands of savage humanoids in the wilderness, serving as opponents with unusual powers to challenge the PCs.

Alignment: Any.

Hit Die: d8.

Class Skills

The totemist's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Knowledge(arcana) (Int), Knowledge(nature) (Int), Knowledge(the planes) (Int), Listen (Wis), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Spellcraft (Int), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), and Swim (Str).

Skill Points at 1st Level: (4 + Int modifier) x 4.

Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Table: The Totemist

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Special Meldshaping
Soulmelds Essentia Chakra Binds
1st +0 +2 +2 +0 Wild empathy, illiteracy 2 1 0
2nd +1 +3 +3 +0 Totem chakra bind (+1 capacity) 3 2 1
3rd +2 +3 +3 +1 Totem's protection 3 2 1
4th +3 +4 +4 +1 4 3 1
5th +3 +4 +4 +1 Chakra binds (crown, feet, hands) 4 3 1
6th +4 +5 +5 +2 Totem chakra bind (+1 meldshaper level) 4 4 2
7th +5 +5 +5 +2 5 5 2
8th +6/+1 +6 +6 +2 Rebind totem soulmeld 1/day 5 5 2
9th +6/+1 +6 +6 +3 Chakra binds (arms, brow, shoulders) 5 6 2
10th +7/+2 +7 +7 +3 6 7 3
11th +8/+3 +7 +7 +3 Totem chakra bind (double bind) 6 8 3
12th +9/+4 +8 +8 +4 Rebind totem soulmeld 2/day 6 9 3
13th +9/+4 +8 +8 +4 7 10 3
14th +10/+5 +9 +9 +4 Chakra binds (throat, waist) 7 11 4
15th +11/+6/+1 +9 +9 +5 Totem chakra bind (+2 capacity) 7 12 4
16th +12/+7/+2 +10 +10 +5 Rebind totem soulmeld 3/day 8 13 4
17th +12/+7/+2 +10 +10 +5 Chakra bind (heart) 8 14 4
18th +13/+8/+3 +11 +11 +6 8 16 5
19th +14/+9/+4 +11 +11 +6 9 18 5
20th +15/+10/+5 +12 +12 +6 Totem embodiment, rebind totem soulmeld 4/day 9 20 5
Class Features

All of the following are class features of the totemist.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: You are proficient with all simple weapons, with light armor, and with shields (except tower shields).

Meldshaping: A totemist's primary ability is shaping incarnum soulmelds, which are drawn from the totemist soulmeld list. You know and can shape any soulmeld from this list. Unlike the aligned forces of an incarnate's melds, your soulmelds channel the bestial spirits of nature.

The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a totemist soulmeld is 10 + number of points of essentia invested in the soulmeld + your Constitution modifier. Your meldshaper level is equal to your totemist level.

A totemist can shape only a certain number of soulmelds per day. Your base daily allotment is given on Table: The Totemist. The maximum number of soulmelds that you can have shaped simultaneously is equal to your Constitution score minus 10 or the number of soulmelds on the table, whichever is lower. At 1st level, you can shape two soulmelds at a time (assuming you have a Constitution score of at least 12). As you advance in level, you can shape an increasing number of soulmelds.

At 1st level, you also gain access to your personal pool of essentia, which can be invested into your soulmelds to increase their power. Your essentia pool's size is shown on Table: The Totemist. Your character level, as noted on Table: Essentia Capacity, determines the maximum quantity of essentia that you can invest in any single soulmeld. As a swift action, you can reallocate your essentia investments in your soulmelds every round (see Essentia).

A totemist does not study or prepare soulmelds in advance, but must have a good night's rest and must meditate for 1 hour to shape his soulmelds for the day (see Shaping Soulmelds).

Chakra Binds: Beginning at 2nd level, you can bind your soulmelds to your chakras, granting you new powers based on the soulmeld and the chakra chosen. Binding a soulmeld to a chakra closes the body slot associated with that chakra (see Chakras), so that you cannot also benefit from a magic item worn on the body slot associated with that chakra.

The number of chakra binds that you can have active at any one time depends on your level (see the Chakra Binds column on Table: The Totemist). At 2nd level, you can bind a soulmeld to your totem chakra (see below). Beginning at 5th level, you can bind soulmelds to your crown, feet, or hands chakras. At 9th level, you can bind soulmelds to your arms, brow, or shoulders chakras. At 14th level, you can bind soulmelds to your throat or waist chakras. At 17th level, you can bind a soulmeld to your heart chakra. You never gain the ability to bind a soulmeld to your soul chakra.

For more information on chakra binds, see Chakra Binds.

Totem Chakra Bind: At 2nd level, you gain access to a unique chakra: the totem chakra. This chakra is not associated with any location on the body, but rather represents your connection to the wild soul energy of nature, embodied in the magical beasts of the world. When you bind a soulmeld to your totem chakra, you take on characteristics of the creature represented by the meld - usually involving a limited physical transformation. Since the totem chakra doesn't match a body location, binding a soulmeld to this chakra doesn't restrict your use of magic items that take up a body location.

Any soulmeld bound to your totem chakra has an essentia capacity 1 higher than the normal capacity for your soulmelds. For example, a 2nd-level totemist can invest up to 2 points of essentia in any soulmeld bound to his totem chakra bind (rather than the normal limit of 1 points of essentia). At 15th level, the capacity of any soulmeld bound to your totem chakra increases by an additional point (meaning that a 15th-level totemist could invest up to 5 points of essentia in that soulmeld).

At 6th level, the effective meldshaper level of a soulmeld you have bound to your totem chakra is equal to your actual meldshaper level +1. The primary effect of this benefit is to make that soulmeld harder to unshape.

At 11th level, you gain the ability to bind a single soulmeld to your totem chakra and to another chakra at the same time. You gain the special benefits of both chakra binds.

Wild Empathy (Ex): As the druid class ability. You gain a +4 bonus on wild empathy checks made to influence the reactions of magical beasts of the same kind as the beast associated with the soulmeld bound to your totem chakra. Thus, if you have a basilisk mask bound to your totem chakra, you gain the bonus on checks made to influence basilisks.

Illiteracy: Like barbarians, totemists do not begin the game knowing how to read and write. You can spend 2 skill points to gain the ability to read and write all languages you are able to speak.

If you gain a level in any other class (except barbarian), you automatically gain literacy. A barbarian who gains a totemist level remains illiterate. Any other character who gains a totemist level does not lose the literacy he or she already had.

Totem's Protection (Ex): At 3rd level, you gain a +4 bonus on saving throws against the supernatural abilities of magical beasts.

Rebind Totem Soulmeld (Su): As your link to your totem chakra strengthens, you learn to shift the ties that bind your soulmelds. Starting at 8th level, once per day you can unbind a soulmeld from your totem chakra and bind a different meld to that chakra, as long as the new meld is one you already have shaped. This requires a full-round action and provokes attacks of opportunity.

You can use this ability one additional time for every four levels gained above 8th (2/day at 12th level, 3/day at 16th, and 4/day at 20th).

Totem Embodiment (Su): At 20th level, you gain the ability to temporarily link your body and soul to your totem chakra. This greatly enhances the power of essentia invested in soulmelds bound to that chakra. For the duration of this ability, your normal essentia capacity of any soulmeld bound to your totem chakra is doubled. Every point of essentia invested in a soulmeld bound to your totem chakra counts as 2 points of essentia.

Activating this ability is a free action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity. It can be used once per day and lasts for a number of minutes equal to your Constitution bonus (minimum 1).


Variant Classes
Alternative Class Features
Substitution Levels
Halfling Totemist

Halfling Totemist

A halfling totemist is a bit of an outsider, even among her own people. She tends to avoid social interaction with other people, preferring instead the quiet solitude of her spiritual link with the souls of the beast world. When she or her people are threatened, however, she becomes a fierce defender. Though not as physically tough as a typical totemist, the halfling is more athletic and agile than others of her class.

Hit Die: d6.


To take a halfling totemist substitution level, a character must be a halfling about to take her 1st, 3rd, or 8th level of totemist.

Class Skills

Halfling totemist substitution levels grant the same class skills as the standard totemist class, plus Climb, Hide, Jump, and Move Silently. A typical halfling totemist is athletic and stealthy, much like the beasts whose powers she shares.

Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier (or four times this number as a beginning character).

Table: Halfling Totemist Racial Substitution Levels

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Special Meldshaping
1st +0 +2 +2 +0 Wild empathy, illiteracy, low-light vision Same as totemist
3rd +2 +3 +3 +1 Wild vigor Same as totemist
8th +6/+1 +6 +6 +2 Fast movement Same as totemist
Class Features

All of the following are features of the halfling totemist racial substitution levels.

Low-Light Vision (Su): A halfling totemist manifests some of the physical nature of the wild beasts whose souls she channels. As long as any soulmeld occupies her brow chakra, she gains low-light vision, enabling her to see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of shadowy illumination.

This benefit does not replace any class feature.

Wild Vigor (Su): A halfling totemist draws on the power of nature to gain minor physical benefits, depending on the soulmelds that she has shaped. If she has a soulmeld occupying her arms chakra, she gains a +2 competence bonus on Swim checks. If she has a soulmeld occupying her feet chakra, she gains a +2 competence bonus on Jump checks. If she has a soulmeld occupying her hands chakra, she gains a +2 competence bonus on Climb checks.

This benefit replaces the standard totemist's totem's protection class feature gained at 3rd level.

Fast Movement (Ex): Like the beasts of the world, a halfling totemist can dart quickly across the battlefield. Her land speed is faster than the normal for her race by 10 feet. This benefit applies only when she is wearing no armor or light armor and carrying no more than a light load. This is otherwise identical to the barbarian's fast movement class feature.

This benefit replaces a standard totemist's ability to rebind a totem soulmeld gained at 8th level. A halfling totemist instead gains that class feature at 12th level, and thereafter the number of times per day she can use that ability is reduced by one.