View Full Version : Anything You Can Do... [PrC]

2009-04-06, 10:53 AM
Originally created for PrC Contest IX.
The Xeromancer
"Okay, I've stirred up enough trouble in this district. Now to ditch this shape."
--Falaris Rishuni, elven xeromancer

The xeromancer is a spellcaster who specializes in deciet and impersonation. Xeromancers learn to mimic their victims on such a level as to be indistinguishable to even the victim's closest friends and family.

Becoming a Xeromancer
A xeromancer's guild requires a demonstration of a potential candidate's skill at impersonation before accepting them. A common test is that the candidate must secretly select and impersonate a member of the guild for one week, only revealing their true identity to the guildmaster at the beginning of the test. If the candidate can do so without any other member of the guild catching on, they are accepted into the guild and recieve basic training in the art of xeromancy.
Candidates who take on an especially difficult impersonation for their test (opposite sex, high profile, or the like) are accorded substantial respect.

Alignment: Any nonlawful
Abilities: Wis 15
Skills: Disguise 8 ranks
Spellcasting: Able to cast alter self or like ability
Special: Must have been trained by a xeromancer for 28 days.
Special: If this class is lost for any reason (such as losing spellcasting ability or energy drain) while the xeromancer is affected by steal shape, steal persona, or steal magic, she immediately reverts to her true form.

Class Skills: The xeromancer's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are: Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Disguise (Cha), Forgery (Int), Hide (Int), Knowledge (Arcana) (Int), Knowledge (Nobility and royalty) (Int), Move Silently (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), and Spellcraft (Int).
Skill Points at Each Level: (2+Int modifier)*4

Hit dice: d4

The Xeromancer
{table=head]Level|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special


+1|Counterfeit 1/day

+2|Steal shape (humanoid)

+2|Counterfeit 2/day, steal shape (monsterous humanoid)

+3|Steal persona (humanoid), steal shape(fey)

+3|Counterfeit 3/day, steal persona (monsterous humanoid), steal shape (undead)

+3|Steal magic (humanoid), steal persona (fey), steal shape (construct)

+4|Counterfeit 4/day, steal magic (monsterous humaniod), steal persona (undead), steal shape (giant)

+4|Selective transformation, steal magic (fey), steal persona (construct), steal shape (animal)

+5|Counterfeit 5/day, steal magic (undead), steal persona (giant), steal shape (vermin)[/table]

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Xeromancers gain no new weapon or armor proficiencies.

Impersonation (Su): A xeromancer's flesh is easily molded, even without magic. A xeromancer gains a +10 circumstance bonus to all Disguise checks. This is not cumulative with the bonus from spells such as alter self.

Imitate Unto Death (Ex): Any spell, spell-like ability, or supernatural ability a xeromancer uses to change shape does not end when she dies, is permanent, and cannot be dispelled, suppressed, or otherwise revealed by magic.

Counterfeit (Su): Once per day for every two levels possessed, a xeromancer may create a temporary copy of a Medium or smaller item. The item must be inanimate and nonsentient, and the xeromancer must have it available to study. Creating the copy takes 1 hour, and the copy only lasts for 24 hours. After this time, the copy crumbles to dust. Gold, silver, adamantine, and similar materials have resonances that cannot be duplicated by this ability, but are instead replaced by brass, nickel, or another material similar in appearance to the original. Similarly, magical qualities are not duplicated, but extraordinary qualities may be. The xeromancer may duplicate Large or larger items, but this uses an extra use of the ability for every size category above Medium. If the object is attended, the owner may make a Will save (DC 10+xeromancer's Forgery modifier) to resist this ability.

Steal Shape (Su): Once per day, a 3rd-level xeromancer may take on the physical traits of another creature of the same creature type and of equal or lower HD. The other creature must be available for the xeromancer to study for one hour, and may resist with a Will save (DC 10+xeromancer's Disguise modifier without impersonation). The xeromancer gains the appearance and Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution scores of the subject, as well as hit dice, base attack bonus, Reflex and Fortitude saves, and any mundane racial features such as darkvision or racial bonus feats. The xeromancer may revert to her true form at any time as a free action. Note that there are limits to this ability, though. First, if the subject has any racial spell-like or supernatural abilities, these are not copied. Second, only the subject's body is copied, so any possessions must be acquired another way. Third, those who know the victim well may notice something off, as this ability does not copy mental traits (such as speech patterns and gait).
At 4th level and each level thereafter, the xeromancer gains the ability to mimic a new creature type. See Table: Steal Shape and Table: Epic Steal Shape for details, but note that for nonhumanoid xeromancers, the DM may change which creature types may be mimicked at which levels. The creature is still required to have the same HD as the xeromancer or less.

Table: Steal Shape
{table=head]Level|New Creature Type
4th|Monsterous humanoid

Steal Persona (Su): A 5th-level xeromancer may spend 24 hours interrogating a subject in order to take on the subject's mental qualities. This interrogation may be something as simple as the subject coaching the xeromancer on how to impersonate him, or it may be a prolonged torture session. An unwilling target may resist with a Will save (DC 10+xeromancer's Sense Motive modifier). At the end of the interrogation, the xeromancer takes on all of the subject's mental attributes. The xeromancer's memories, nonracial feats, alignment, Will save, Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma, and skill ranks are replaced with those of the subject and she replaces her own nonmagical class features (anything except spellcasting or spell-like and supernatural abilities) other than imitate unto death with those of the subject, but her personality remains untouched. Combining this with Steal Shape allows the xeromancer to impersonate a subject thoroughly enough to convince the subject's friends and family, but not even this degree of impersonation can copy any spellcasting ability the subject has.
Even though the xeromancer loses any memory of having learned or cast any spells, she is still aware of both the fact that she can cast spells and which spells she can cast.
Steal persona has the same limits on possible targets as steal shape. Consult the same tables, but treat the xeromancer's level as two less for determining available creature types. As with steal shape, the xeromancer may revert to her own mind at will.

Steal Magic (Su): A 7th-level xeromancer may spend 24 hours observing a subject. If the subject casts a spell during that time and the xeromancer knows what spells the subject is capable of casting (for instance, by reading a wizard's spellbook), the xeromancer may replace her own spellcasting abilities with those of the subject, as well as replacing any spell-like and supernatural abilities except those granted by this class. An unwilling subject may resist with a Will save (DC 10+xeromancer's Spellcraft modifier). The xeromancer must know and be able to cast at least the same number of spells of each level as the target to do this, and the same restrictions apply as with steal shape, with the xeromancer's level four less for determining available creature types. As with steal shape, the xeromancer may revert to her own spellcasting at will, but has the same number of remaining spell slots as her assumed form did. If she normally prepares spells, she is considered to have prepared only those spells she did prior to assuming her new powers.
For purposes of this ability, "spell" includes magic, psionics, and any similar ability.

Selective Transformation (Su): A 9th-level xeromancer has mastered her transformations. She may assume only parts of various forms, while maintaining aspects of her own true form. She may keep her own appearance while gaining the strength of a guardian golem, or keep her own strength while assuming the size of a pixie. When using steal shape, she may choose to not replace some physical attributes while replacing others, or may replace an attribute with a combination of both (such as taking on the appearance of herself with stone arms). When using steal persona, she may retain some of her own memories, abilities, and skills, forgoing substitution on a one-for-one basis. When using steal magic, she may replace only some of her spells known with those of her target; may switch her spells known with another while retaining her spells per day; or may even learn a prepared caster's spells while retaining spontaneous casting ability. She must, though, choose targets for all these abilities that would be valid for a xeromancer two levels lower. Furthermore, the DCs of the saves to resist are reduced by 4.
Only one shape, one psyche, and one set of spellcasting abilities may be stolen at a time. In order to use steal shape, steal persona, or steal magic again, the xeromancer must revert to her true form in that aspect, but may do so immediately before transforming again.
Note that while a xeromancer may steal attributes independently, the bonuses and penalties associated with those attributes cannot be separated. For instance, a she could take an outsider's darkvision, but would also become virtually unraisable, because these are both outsider traits.

Note: If a xeromancer gains a level while steal persona is active, only the xeromancer's true form gains the level.

Playing a Xeromancer
Why bother improving yourself when you can simply take someone else's abilities? You can impersonate others well enough that you even do things you normally couldn't, so why not just become them for as long as you need their skills?
Combat: Xeromancer abilities are primarly social in nature, so they tend to avoid combat. If forced, though, or used as assassins, they will often prepare by learning their enemy's strengths and weaknesses, and taking on an appropriate form before combat. In urban environments, they will often "joyride" their enemy's shape to attract the attention of the city guard.
Xeromancers caught by ambush often use their spellcasting abilities to fight.
Advancement: Most xeromancers focus on improving their ability to mimic others. They might do this by progressing as druids, specialist transmuters, or sorcerers (allowing them to transform more than once per day). Some xeromancers, though, use their powers for infiltration. These might advance as fighters, rogues, mindspies (Complete Warrior), or assassins.
Resources: A xeromancer can often call upon the help and advice of other xeromancers simply by getting in touch with the guild. With sufficient time, a xeromancer might be able to infiltrate the highest echelons of society and bring great forces to bear.

Xeromancers in the world
"Hang on, where'd he go?"
--Brian Laferrti, city guard captain
Xeromancers have little organization. Each tends to go their own way, and they rarely cooperate except to share gossip and to perform especially complex tasks. They often remain hidden, keeping normal society unaware of their existence.
A notable exception to the rule that xeromancers have little organization is the Xeromancer's Guild in each city. This functions as a boarding house where xeromancers may learn new ways of using their abilities, train, and examine prospective recruits. The guildmaster's word is theoretically considered law for all xeromancers in the city, but in practice he usually doesn't exercise his power except to maintain secrecy.
Daily Life: Xeromancers tend to make up their plans for a day as they go. What they do on a given day is up to the situation and the whims of the moment.
Notables: The art of xeromancy was discovered by Tafari An'Salak, whose ideals of bloodless revolution led him to find a way to copy his foes. Golgar Vishruf is the current leader of the Xeromancer's Guild of Kelthark, and leads it in its raids against the Empire.
Organizations: Most major cities have a Xeromancer's Guild, which often takes some work to find. This organization is loosely knit, and mostly serves as a place for xeromancers to exchange the latest gossip, practice their skill, and train new recruits; these groups also often keep volunteer members of other classes on hand as "archetypes" for members to copy. The groups that attract xeromancers are as varied as they are themselves, but are often dedicated to stealth, knowledge, trickery, and change.

NPC Reaction
Most people are unaware that xeromancers even exist. Those that are aware consider them to be little better than common thieves and assassins. Still, though, even they admit that there are few people better for spying on one's enemies.
Xeromancers, however, are well-known to natural shapechangers such as doppelgangers. The reactions of these changers may vary: one shifter might attack the imitator on discovery, believing that shapechanging magic is their right alone; another might exchange tips and stories over a cup of tea.

Xeromancers in the game
The xeromancer's primary advantage is the ability to copy others and use their abilities and identities. Although the class at first seems a little unbalanced in that it can copy the strengths of other characters, the copying is limited to characters of roughly the same or lower level. Furthermore, the time involved in copying another character makes it difficult to use in combat or on the fly.
Adaptation: Xeromancers are not dependent on any setting elements other than the existence of shapeshifting magic, and thus can be adapted into a campaign with little trouble.
Encounters: A PC might encounter a xeromancer as an assassin, spy, or thief; might have one as a contact, information source, or cohort; or might find one while pursuing the same goals.

Epic Xeromancer
Hit Die: d4
Counterfeit: A xeromancer continues to gain uses of counterfeit at the same rate.
Steal Shape, Steal Persona, Steal Magic, Selective Transformation: Add forms from Table: Epic Steal Shape. As with the normal versions of the other powers, reduce the xeromancer's effective level for determining legal targets. Using Steal Magic on a deity will replace the xeromancer's salient divine abilities if the deity is of equal or lower divine rank.
Table: Epic Steal Shape
{table=head]Level|New Creature Type
12th|Magical Beast

Sample Encounter
The noble who beckoned you over lounges back, the rubies on her necklace glittering in the sun. She seems to be trying to watch everything at once, and may be enjoying herself a little too much.
EL 11: Valasi Rifern grew up on the streets, surviving by her quick wits and reflexes, and by some sort of innate spellcasting ability. Upon entering the xeromancer's guild, she got a taste of the noble life, and decided that a mere taste wasn't enough.
The noblewoman she found dying in the gutter after being attacked by theives was a godsend. She somehow managed to keep the woman alive long enough to learn everything she knew, and then took her place at court. She has told one other noblewoman her secret, and they now use her abilities to be in two places at once, furthering their shared goals.
Note: Under most circumstances, assume that Valasi is in her borrowed form. At some point in the game, though, she may shed physical attributes, mental attributes, or both; so they are differentiated for the DM's convenience. Valasi's borrowed physical attributes are in [square brackets]. Her borrowed mental attributes are in {curve brackets}.

Valasi Rifern (Borrowed form: Andromeda Kesera)
Chaotic neutral female half-elf Rog 1/Sor 5/Xeromancer 5 {True neutral female elf Aristocrat 8}
Init +5, Senses: Listen +10{+8}, Spot +9{+7},
Languages: Common, Elven, Draconic, Thieves Cant, {Common, Elven, Dwarven}
Renown: +2{+5}
AC 15[11], touch 15[11], flat-footed 10[10]()
hp22[36] (10 HD)
Fort +4[+6], Ref +7[+4], Will +13{+15}
Speed30 ft. (6 squares)[30 ft (6 squares)]
Melee+0 rapier (1d6 18-20x2 piercing) (becomes +2 if Valasi reverts mentally, due to Weapon Finesse; +9 if in true form, due to Weapon Finesse and improved Dexterity)
Base Atk +9{+1}[+6/+1], Grp +9{+1}[+6]
Spells Prepared
0 (6/day): detect magic, read magic, arcane mark, mending, touch of fatiuge, flare
1 (6/day): alarm, hold portal, obscuring mist, chill touch
2 (4/day): alter self, whispering wind

Supernatural Abilities
Impersonate, counterfeit 2/day, steal shape (humanoid, monsterous humanoid, or fey), steal psyche (humanoid)
Abilities Str 12 [10], Dex 20[14], Con 10[18], Int 24{20}, Wis 20{24}, Cha 24{24}
SQ: Immunity to sleep, +2 to save vs enchantment, low-light vision, considered elf for all effects ,imitate unto death, sneak attack +1d6, trapsense,

Feats: Alertness, Weapon Finesse, Combat Casting, Leadership (Cohort: Andromeda. Followers: Andromeda's servants), Simple Weapon Proficiencies (all), Martial Weapon Proficiencies (Longsword, rapier, longbow shortbow), [Martial weapon proficiencies (Longsword, rapier, longbow shortbow)] (These feats are considered physical attributes because they are a function of race.), {Simple Weapon Proficiencies (all), Negotiator, Iron Will, Renown (replace with Deceitful if not using reputation)}

Skills: Climb +7{+2}, Concentration +3{+4}, Diplomacy +11{+20}, Disguise +26{+17/+19}(Impersonate bonus factored in, second mental replacement is with Deceitful bonus), Gather Information +10{+18}, Heal +9{+5}, Hide +13{+6}, Knowledge (arcana) +11{cannot use}, Knowledge (nobility and royalty) +9{+14}, Listen +11{+10}, Move Silently +13{+6} ,Spellcraft +11{cannot use}, Spot +10{+9}, Tumble +7{cannot use}, Use Rope +6{+1}

Cohort: Andromeda Kesera (stats given in Valasi's stat block).
Andromeda was an ordinary courtier. She was just another face in the duke's court, and was desperately bored.
That all changed when she met Valasi. She found Valasi shedding her borrowed shape, and pressed her for information about her transformation abilities. It is not uncommon for Valasi to pose as Andromeda at court, while Andromeda deals with situations elsewhere; or for Valasi to take Andromeda's form and deal with her street contacts.

Followers: 20 Commoner 1, 10 Warrior 1, 1 Expert 2 (specialist in Craft (Alchemy)), 1 Expert 2 (specialist in Heal), 1 Expert 2 (specialist in Gather Information), 1 Ftr 3, 1 Wiz 4.

Possessions: hooded lantern, 5 pints oil, noble's outfit (with signet), courtier's outfit (with jewelry), peasant's outfit, 3 smokesticks (bound to tindertwigs for quick use), counterfeit rapier (created each morning)

Valasi is not a combatant. If forced, she will fight to escape rather than to kill. She is not averse to killing, though, and will do so if necessary.
Preparation: If Valasi is aware of an ambush or able to act during the surprise round, she will cast [i]whispering wind to alert Andromeda. Should she have the option, she will try to talk her enemy into not attacking. Once an impasse is reached (or if she simply wasn't given a chance to speak), she will shout "Fire!" to attract the attention of passerby, then drop her mental change in order to improve her combat abilities and draw her rapier.
During Combat: Valasi will surrender if she is reduced to 10 or fewer hit points, runs out of spells and fails to deceive the enemy, or is convinced that escape is impossible. Otherwise, she will remove herself from an enemy's threatened area and do one of the following:
*Light a smokestick or cast obscuring mist and escape in an unguarded direction. She will do this whenever she has a resonable chance of escape and sees an unguarded escape direction. Under no circumstances will she do this on two consecutive rounds.
*Light a smokestick and cast alter self to disguise herself as a beggar, servant, or other inconspicuous person appropriate to the location. She will only do this once against the same enemy.
*Light a smokestick or cast obscuring mist and revert to her true physical form. She will only do this once against the same enemy; and is reluctant to do so, as if she is caught, it could tip off her enemies to the existence of xeromancers.
*Sneak off. She will only do this if the enemy is distracted.
*Cast touch of fatigue or chill touch. She will do this after alter self has failed and upon being touched thereafter. She will hold the charge until an enemy touches her (automatically discharging the spell) or she decides to surrender.
*Cast magic missile. She will do this if she has limited other options, and will target the place where the enemy will be easiest to break through.
*Attack with rapier. She will do this if she is out of 0th and 1st level spells or unable to escape melee. She may do this to deliver a touch attack.
Aftermath: If Valasi successfully escapes, her path away from her foes will turn at every possibility, enter random buildings, and use other methods of shaking pursuit, including magically changing appearance in the middle of crowds and casting alarm and hold portal behind her. If captured, she will convince her captors to negotiate a ransom from Andromeda. In either case, once she is free of her foes, she will speak to Andromeda and decide on her next course of action. She is normally forgiving, but if the foes are Andormeda's political enemies (or were just especially irksome), they may find themselves receiving special attention from the city guard, or even framed with Valasi's abilities.
Special: If Valasi alerts Andromeda, Andromeda will arrive in 1d10+10 rounds with a 3rd-level fighter and 1d10 1st-level warriors. She also has a 50% chance of bringing a 4th-level wizard. If Valasi attempts to draw the attention of passerby, she makes a Bluff check (DC 10). If successful, she then makes a Charisma check (DC 15). If this is successful, 1d6 random NPCs become involved.

2009-04-06, 11:47 AM
I like it.

Three suggestions though.

1. Lower the entry requirement fluff. If they can fool the whole school for a month it has nothing to teach them.

2. Catching them? How can they be found and what are their weaknesses. You might include some sort of tracking element that they have go give the school or their employers.

3. Enemies? Do they get along with doppelgangers for example?

2009-04-06, 12:59 PM
Offer an option for the subjects to resist Steal Magic and Steal Persona. Opposed charisma checks, will save... whatever

Ditch the bit on stealing divine abilities, doesn't add anything to the class and it is a major turnoff to see those mechanics written in (Divine and Epic stuff is usually pretty silly). This is pretty opinion-based though.

The (Su) abilities are still suppressed in an Anti-Magic Field, I think, assuming they were activated while outside the field. Imitate Unto Death doesn't change this - was this your intention?

The class is currently limited to casters or races with Alter Self as a spell-like. Maybe you should offer a companion feat or feat-chain that grants access to Alter Self as a spell-like to anyone to make the class more accessible?

Expand to include alternate system. Psionics, Tome of Battle, Tome of Magic, Incarnum, etc... Steal those things too (work into spellcasting theft).

Pretty good overall, like a more balanced version of that Mind-Flayer prestige class.

2009-04-13, 07:04 PM
Thanks. Changes made:
*Testing time reduced from a month to a week; also, implied that a prospective xeromancer might take a different test or be trained without Guild approval.
*Interaction with natural shapeshifters included. Natural shifters have no innate love or hate for xeromancers; it all boils down to the individual's opinion.
*Imitate unto death cleared up.

As for updating entry requirements to allow for more than just alter self, I think that the "or like ability" covers that. Metamorphosis and any kind of shapeshifting ability that allows for choice of organic forms are also included. The idea of the class is that this is a spellcaster who decided to specialize in impersonation, so I just want to limit it to people who obtained the ability from a normal source.

And with the alternate casting systems: I think that psionics-magic transparency allows for copying powers (but I'll update that later just to make it explicit), and I don't know how it would be phrased for something like Incarnum (it isn't open material, and I don't have the book).

Edit: As for ways to find them out, I can think of a few:
*Habits: A xeromancer of less than fifth level would, as mentioned in the steal shape description, retain their own habits, gait, speech patterns, etc.
*Passwords: A xeromancer of less than fifth level would have to find out the password the normal way.
*Search person: Fifth-to-eighth-level xeromancers might have a description of their mission on them somewhere if they are using steal persona (because the steal persona ability would force them to forget it).
*Magic: If the target would normally be able to change shape and the party is aware of a xeromancer's abilities, both the original and the copy could change into a different form and another caster could try to dispel both changes. Imitate unto death would make it so that the xeromancer's change couldn't be dispelled.