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The feat Share Soulmeld (Magic of Incarnum 41) has as the following as its benefit:

At your option, any soulmeld shaped by you and currently affecting you can also affect your familiar, animal companion, or mount. The creature in question must remain within 5 feet of you to receive the benefit. If the creature leaves this radius of effect, it loses the benefits of the soulmeld until such time as it returns within 5 feet.

Perhaps—as is my wont—I'm overreading, but this benefit seems awfully vague. I've previously asked if a creature sharing a soulmeld benefits from its master having bound that soulmeld and invested essentia into that soulmeld here, so there's no need to rehash that, but now the PC actually has the feat Share Soulmeld, a familiar—a mink named Stinky—, and enough essentia and soulmelds for the feat Share Soulmeld to create problems next session. On to the issues:

  1. When does the meldshaper exercise the option? It seems unlikely that the meldshaper must exercise this option when the soulmeld's initially shaped, for example, since a meldshaper needn't ever unshape soulmelds. Further, once the meldshaper picks a soulmeld to share, how can that picked soulmeld be changed? Can it be changed? (Note that the feat does not contain a Special entry allowing it to be taken multiple times!)

  2. The phrase and currently affecting you raises some flags. Does this mean, for example, the soulmeld dissolving spittle (64-5) can't be shared because the soulmeld doesn't technically affect the meldshaper and, instead, grants the meldshaper an attack? Is a shared soulmeld limited to soulmelds that provide skill bonuses and the like that only affect the meldshaper?

A strict reading of the rules is a fine way to address the above, but answers stemming from the feat's use in play—what decisions were made about how to use it, how those decisions affected play, and if that experience was worthwhile—are also cool. Jalas the incarnate/wizard wants to use this feat to its fullest, yet its benefit seems to leave a lot to the imagination.

To be clear, there's no errata for Magic of Incarnum, and no sample character possesses the feat Share Soulmeld for comparison.

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  1. The wording of this feat is incredibly close to that of the Druid's Animal Companion Share Spells ability. By comparing similarities and differences, I think its reasonable to conclude that the intended reading means that literally any soulmeld you have shaped may be shared with your pet. As in, all of them. The use of the singular within the rest of the passage, in this context, under my best reading, is referencing "the" soulmeld you took the option for, each time. Similar wording to:

    You may select any number of Ice Cream Cones. If you select a Cone, the Cone is donated to the nearest charity.

    This solves the issue about number of soulmelds to share.

  2. The soulmeld itself is an effect. It can be dispelled. Similar to how a spell can give you an alternate attack mode, be shared with your Animal Companion, giving them that spell's alternate attack mode too.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Am I understanding the answer to #1 correctly by summarizing it as The meldshaper can allow the creature to be affected by any number of the meldshaper's soulmelds? \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jun 8 '17 at 23:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ That is the position I'm stating, yes. Same as Share Spells for an Animal Companion. \$\endgroup\$ – godskook Jun 8 '17 at 23:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ No wonder I had such a hard time wrapping my head around it! That does make sense. To be clear, would the feat likewise permit any number of the master's animal companions, familiars, and special mounts to share all the master's soulmelds (assuming they all stayed bunched up around the master)? \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jun 9 '17 at 0:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan, depends on the the DM's reading of the word "or". There's no prompting in the feat that gives us a clue as to which definition of "or" to use(there was for point #1 with the word "any"), nor is there similar text to compare to that I'm aware of, off hand(point #1 compares with Shared spells on this, but this additional question can't directly compare because of differences in how the two abilities are gained). I would say the only reason to choose one way or the other is a matter of game balance, and on that front, the choice between "1" and "arbitrarily high" swings to "1". \$\endgroup\$ – godskook Jun 9 '17 at 1:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan, you should probably make that a question, though, so I can answer it "properly". \$\endgroup\$ – godskook Jun 9 '17 at 1:02

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