I really liked the Magic of Incarnum supplement from Revised Dungeons & Dragons. Like, really, really liked it. MoI was one of the few 3.5 books I read cover-to-cover. I liked the races, the classes, the rules, and the setting.

Of course, Incarnum wound up the butt of many jokes in the Character Optimization community, but I’ve never really seen eye-to-eye with most of those guys anyway.

Fourth Edition Primal magic owes a lot to MoI but doesn’t make use of much beyond its basic flavor — spirits of the living, spirits of the dead, and spirits of the unborn. I figured the Primal power source was due for a throwback.

Here’s my Incarnate class for reference:
Essentials Dungeons & Dragons Incarnate Class (v0.1)

The incarnate is built off of the shaman (Player’s Handbook 2) but incorporates some changes to make it a more effective leader. While I like the spirit companion power, it ultimately proves cumbersome in combat. The incarnate instead selects an ally to act as their “champion” in combat, whom they can use as a conduit.

I intended to create the spirit weapon powers as simply as possible, so that one might only have one active at a time, but I wasn’t satisfied with how they turned out initially, so I let the class sit while I worked on the warfighter.

Spirit weapon powers represent a handful of uncommon effects (damage resistance, punishment, regeneration) that have limited, if situational effectiveness.

When I wrote up the powers originally, the restriction was that an incarnate could only sustain one spirit weapon at a time, but then I realized several incarnates would be overwhelming, even if the power bonus didn’t stack. The realization prompted me to change the restriction then from the incarnate to the wielder.

The comparison to channel divinity seemed natural at that point, though I wanted the incarnate to be able to use and reuse spirit weapon powers to bolster themselves and their allies. The once-per-round restriction followed that, which gave the incarnate an array of at-will minor action powers, but nothing to do with their Standard action.

Forlorn Whispers draws inspiration from the binder’s Shadow Claws power, and gives a nod to the shaman’s secondary role as a controller (and penchant for psychic manipulation). Its relatively short range will probably encourage an incarnate to make the attack through their champion rather than directly — at least some of the time.

Bonds of Fellowship is intended to be a low-cost stand-in for the Comrade’s Succor ritual, which enables the party to gain the advantage of the ritual without spending gold, but otherwise deprives the incarnate of Ritual Casting (cry cry).

Spirit of Vigor is a strange leader-heal in that it doesn’t provide scaling healing — the incarnate instead opts to better preserve their champion. Given that it costs a healing surge to initiate the power, you can imagine why that might be a big deal. Then again, Spirit of Vigor grants a saving throw — something most leader-heals don’t provide.