View Full Version : Animorphs (3.5 base class, WIP)

2012-02-02, 03:05 PM
So, I wanted to build a class based on the morphing technology of the animorphs series. I really don't have much to go on right now, and any feedback or suggestions would be welcome.

for those that don't know the series, morphing works like this:

1. while in your natural form, you touch an organic creature and concentrate, and absorb a sample of their DNA. acquiring DNA typically, but not always, puts the target in a trance. acquiring takes roughly a minute.

2. You focus on a mental image of the creature you want to morph into, and over the course of about a minute, you change into them.

3. you maintain your own mind and memories, and don't gain any memories of the creature you morph into. however, you must learn to control the instincts of the new form. morphing into a new form for the first time can result in a temporary loss of control, as the instincts assert dominance over your own mind.

4. you have all of the natural abilities of the creature, including bat's echolocation, the mind reading abilities of certain aliens, etc., but not learned skills. while in any morph that can't naturally speak a language you understand, you gain the ability to speak telepathically out to a couple hundred feet.

5. you can only maintain a morph for 2 hours without becoming stuck in that form. certain situations can bypass or reset the time limit, such as morphing into a caterpillar, and the caterpillar metamorphs into a butterfly.

6. when morphing or demorphing, all physical damage is healed. demorphing causes exhaustion in inexperienced morphers, and fatigue in more experienced or talented morphers. the most skilled morphers aren't fatigued at all, even when doing multiple new morphs in sequence. you must demorph into your natural form before morphing into another form.

7. certain special situations include: 1 character gained the ability to morph into a past version of themselves. 1 character mixed morphs, temporarily maintaining the wings of a bird while morphing into a whale. several characters could partially morph, and could control the sequence of changes during a morph. 1 character morphed nearly directly from one morph to another, by demorphing from one form, and morphing into another as soon as his natural form began to emerge. all characters can morph tight clothing with minimal practice. some could morph loose clothing, jewelry, and shoes.

i think that's just about everything.

my ideas for the class so far are:

Acquire (Su): by making a touch attack, you can begin to acquire the DNA of any corporeal living creature with a discernible anatomy. creatures you attempt to acquire from must make a will save (DC 10+ 1/2 level + CHA) or be calmed, as the calm emotions spell. Acquiring from an unwilling target requires a grapple check each round contact is maintained. Acquiring requires 1 minute of contact that does not need to be consecutive, and provokes attacks of oppurtunity. you must concentrate to acquire DNA.

Morph (Su): You may morph into any creature you have acquired that has no more HD (not counting class levels) than your class level. Morphing takes 1 minute, requires concentration, and provokes attacks of oppurtunity. you gain the creature's physical ability scores, the better of yours or the creature's mental ability scores, and all traits and features of the creature, besides spellcasting, spell-like abilities, and anything the creature had from class levels. When morphing into a creature, you must make a concentration check (DC 10 + creature's HD + creature's Wisdom modifier) to maintain control. if you fail to mainttain control, the creature's instincts take over, and you act as the creature would until you successfully regain control with a concentration check (DC = first check). you may maintain a morph for up to 2 hours before you automatically demorph back into your base form. you can't morph directly from one form to another. When you Demorph, you become exhausted for 5 minutes, +1 minute for each size category difference between your base form and the morph. when morphing, any items besides clothing will simply fall off of you, unless usable in your morphed form. your own clothing will meld into your body, while the morph's clothing (if any) will appear as you take the form. when you demorph, the process is reversed. morphing and demorphing also heals 1 HP per class level.

Check and DC modifiers to concentration check to maintain control: First time morphing into that specific creature +2 DC. First time morphing into creature of that species +2 DC. First time morphing into creature of that type +2 DC. Each round, after the first, spent in that specific form +2 to check.

Telepathy (Su): when in a morph that can't naturally speak a language, you gain the ability to speak telepathically with anyone within 100 feet that shares a language with you.

other features, that would come online at later levels, would be the ability to partially morph (gain 2 traits, features, or ability scores from a morph as a standard action, without otherwise changing form), morph directly between forms, drop the exhaustion to fatigue (and eventually remove it entirely), and combine morphs (morph into one creature, but have a single trait, feature, or ability score from another), reduce the time necessary to acquire and morph (down to a minimum of one round), and gain the ability to morph gear.

that's what i've got so far. any suggestions or feedback?

2012-02-02, 06:45 PM
First, it wont kill you to make proper use of the shift button.

Second, are you aware that there are two animorph classes homebrewed already? (Falconsflight (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=44643), Serpentine (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=140194))

Third, the wall of text for the Morph ability does not help its readability. Try breaking it into two or three abilities, like having the healing be a separate ability that improves Morph.

Fourth, the check to maintain control of the form seems odd. No especial difficulty existed for sperm whales or elephants, which would have a high DCs with that formula, but termites and ants would have relatively low DCs. That seems odd, especially as termites and ants were far more difficult to master.

Fifth, unless my memory has completely forsaken me, you gain telepathy regardless of whether the morphed form is capable of speech.

Sixth, you might want to consider having Morph count as Wildshape for the purpose of prestige class preregs.

2012-02-02, 11:16 PM
I believe the telepathy was only with other Animorphs.

2012-02-02, 11:29 PM
1. I try to remember capitalization, but I still forget often.

2. I did not know that there were 2 classes already 'brewed. Both look pretty much like what I was looking for, too.

3. This was just a rough draft. I knew as I was writing it that it would require an extensive rewrite.

4. That was a decision on my part. While from a story perspective mindless social vermin would be the hardest to control, from a game perspective, more powerful creatures should be the hardest to control.

5. In the first book, everyone had thought speak, regardless of form. that was quickly retconned, so that no one, not even Ax, could use thought speak while in a human form. I simply expanded that limitation to any speech capable morph, for clarity.

6. That is definitely a great idea.

I think, with the class made close to what i would have ended up with, I'll just tweak that on my personal time, and leave the playground with the well-done class already here.

2012-02-05, 08:44 PM
I believe the telepathy was only with other Animorphs.Nope, works with anyone they want, and they can direct it towards as many people as they like - one, few or many; not sure if an upper limit on numbers was ever given, just distance. Also, interestingly, at least once someone accidentally "broadcast" their private thoughts because they forgot to restrict the telepathy.

2012-02-05, 10:43 PM
Honestly, rather than a whole class, I'd make it a high level magic item or something. Morphing wasn't something they gained from training, it was alien technology that they gained access to.