View Full Version : Reworking an Old Homebrew Class- The Skinchanger (3.5)

2013-11-26, 07:45 PM
Heya playground. I recently happened upon a homebrew class I made some time ago, when I was still relatively new to D&D. I think the concept was potentially interesting (though the fluff could use a rewrite), but the mechanics seem barely salvageable. What suggestions do you guys have for making this class playable and "professional?"

Inspired by George R. R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire"

The natural forces are unpredictable and unforgiving. Most have come to accept this; druids and rangers have come to revere in it. The Skinchangers are proof of it. A skinchanger is a fluke of nature- a being so in tune with the beasts of the wild that it may leave its own body to slip into another. In time, these anomalies hone their inborn talent, allowing themselves to slide into the skins of all manner of life, from unicorns to demons to beholders to zombies.

Skinchangers go on adventures for much the same reason as most other creatures. For wealth, for pleasure, for excitement. More than anything, though, most skinchangers adventure to hone their craft. Only through intense practice of his skin-stealing abilities can a skinchanger gain more control over his host creatures.

Skinchangers thrive in nature. Many spent most of their lives outdoors, and none ever lose that connection to the natural world. For this reason, many skinchangers have a difficult time adjusting to urban life, and can be awkward or rude in civil interactions. Many skinchangers see animals as equals, and will take offense if they are treated badly. Some crueler and more powerful skinchangers grow arrogant and callous, and often will steal the bodies of other intelligent beings to further their own goals, with no concern for the fate of those they possess. For this reason, in many civilizations skinchangers are stigmatized.

Skinchangers have an innate connection to nature, and so, like druids, are loath to align themselves too closely to modern ideals. As such, they must be neutral on at least one axis.

Most skinchangers revere nature itself. A few come to venerate nature-themed deities, and some do not worship anything at all, and instead focus on personal power.

In general, skinchangers bond at an early age with a specific animal. Animals find skinchangers far more agreeable than most other sentient life, and in time one will lay its claim upon him, and the two will become totally inseparable. For some skinchangers, the bond may be to a pet dog or cat. For others, it will be a wolf, a badger, a dolphin, an eagle, or any manner of other things. Forever after, the skinchanger will be dedicated to his companion, and will never be able to form the same bond with any other animal, save for others of his original companion's species.

After forming a bond with an animal, the skinchanger will begin to accidentally slip into his companion's skin while asleep or unconscious. During these dreams, the skinchanger does not at first control his companion, but rather tags along, and experiences all that his companion feels. In time, these dreams grow more frequent and realistic, and eventually the skinchanger is able to seize control for periods of time within the dream. Eventually, the skinchanger grows to understand his inborn gift, either through frequent personal practice, or by tutelage from a druid or another skinchanger. In some societies, a discovered skinchanger is held in the highest honor. In others, they are killed. In some, they are sent to train with druids.

Any race native to the material planes is capable of producing skinchangers. In general, only one in every thousand people is born a skinchanger. In elven, gnomish, goblinoid, and orcish societies, the skinchangers are particularly well-respected, and so more of those races live to adulthood, and thus become adventurers.

Other Classes:
Skinchangers work well with rangers, druids, and barbarians, because they all share a devotion to nature and an appreciation for the wild forces. Skinchangers often enjoy the company of sorcerers, who tend to come from similar backgrounds. Many wizards find skinchangers insufferable, because they possess a special art that even they cannot hope to replicate or understand.

A Skinchanger can fill several different roles in the party, given the circumstances. By possessing an enemy, a skinchanger can simultaneously eliminate a threat and turn it against the enemy. In general, skinchangers fill combat-based roles by possessing their animal companion or one of their charmed creatures.

Game Rule Information:
Charisma is paramount for a skinchanger. It affects its possession checks, the maximum number of HD of a host creature, and many of its other abilities as well. Besides that, good physical ability scores are useful for when not in another body. Intelligence is also important for a skinchanger, given their relatively low number of skill points.

Any neutral

Hit die: d8

Class Skills: Bluff, Climb, Concentration, Craft, Diplomacy, Disguise, Escape Artist, Handle Animal, Heal, Jump, Knowledge (Nature), Knowledge (Geography), Listen, Profession, Ride, Spot, Survival, Swim, Tumble

Skill Points: 4+int mod/level.

1|+0|+2|+0|+2|Steal Skin, Wild Empathy, Animal Companion
3|+2|+3|+1|+3|New Host
4|+3|+4|+1|+4|Stolen Power I
5|+3|+4|+1|+4|New Host
6|+4|+5|+2|+5|Charm Animal (Companion)
7|+5|+5|+2|+5|New Host
8|+6/+1|+6|+2|+6|Stolen Power II
9|+6/+1|+6|+3|+6|New Host, Easy Passage
10|+7/+2|+7|+3|+7|Overwhelm Mind
11|+8/+3|+7|+3|+7|New Host
12|+9/+4|+8|+4|+8|Stolen Power III, Charm Animal (Any)
13|+9/+4|+8|+4|+8|New Host
15|+11/+6/+1|+9|+5|+9|New Host
16|+12/+7/+2|+10|+5|+10|Stolen Power IV
17|+12/+7/+2|+10|+5|+10|New Host
18|+13/+8/+3|+11|+6|+11|Charm Monster
19|+14/+9/+4|+11|+6|+11|New Host
20|+15/+10/+5|+12|+6|+12|Stolen Power V, True Possession

Skinchanger Class Features

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Skinchangers are proficient with light armor and shields, all simple weapons, and three light or one-handed martial weapons of their choice (or one two-handed martial weapon and one light or one-handed martial weapon).

Wild Empathy (Ex): This functions exactly the same as the druid special ability of the same name. The skinchanger gets a +2 bonus of wild empathy checks used on animals similar to his companion.

Animal Companion: At first level, a skinchanger may choose an animal companion from the same list available to druids. This animal companion progresses as normal for a druid of the same level. Should the animal companion die, the Skinchanger may only choose similar companions in the future (IE a druid with a wolf companion can choose to have a wolf or a dire wolf in the future, and a druid with an owl can choose any bird of the appropriate level)

Steal Skin (Su): Skinchangers are born with the innate ability to possess the body of another creture, leaving the skinchanger's body seemingly unconscious. This takes a full-round action on the Skinchanger's part. Upon trying to slip into another creature's skin, the Skinchanger must make a possession check (1d20+Skinchanger level+ charisma modifier) opposed by the target creature's will save. If the Skinchanger gets a lower result, his action is wasted. If he ties with the target, neither of them may take any actions for one round as they engage in a battle of wills, and the two make opposed checks again the next round. If the Skinchanger wins, his soul enters the target's body, and can control it. The Skinchanger need not roll to possess his animal companion. The other creature gets a penalty or bonus on its check based on its attitude toward the Skinchanger (Hostile +2, Unfriendly +1, Friendly -1, helpful -2). The skinchanger also gets a +2 bonus to possess creatures similar to his companion. He cannot force the host creature to do anything it would normally abhor, such as forcing a paladin to break her oath or forcing a demon to enter the celestial planes peacefully. Attempts to do so result in the host immediately gaining another chance to break free of the possession.

Upon successfully possessing a creature, the Skinchanger's body is treated as if unconscious (the Skinchanger is still treated this way even if he would normally be immune). Typically, his animal companion will immediately guard the body. The Skinchanger can then take actions within the host body as if it were his own. He gains the host's physical ability scores, natural attacks, and natural abilities (besides spellcasting). He retains his own base attack bonus, base saves, and class abilities. Once every (1 round/Skinchanger level) after the first, the host may attempt another save against the possession. Once it succeeds on a will save, it regains control of its body, and the Skinchanger may return to his. The Skinchanger must make a fortitude save upon being expelled (DC= number of rounds in the host's body +5) or become exhausted. On a success, he is instead fatigued. He may instead leave the body of his own volition at any point during possession and not risk fatigue, though he must return to his own body rather than to that of a different host.

The Skinchanger can only possess a creature with a number of HD equal to twice his level, or his level + his charisma modifier, whichever is less.

New Host: At first level, a Skinchanger can only possess animals. Every 2 levels beyond first, he may select a new creature type to be able to possess. He must be of a sufficiently high level to possess certain types of creatures, as determined below.

3|Magical beast, Vermin
5|Humanoid, Monstrous Humanoid
7|Giant, Plant
9|Abberation, Ooze
11|Fey, Elemental
13|Outsider, Dragon
15|Undead, Construct

Stolen Power: As s/he levels up, a Skinchanger gains greater control over their host's body and may access more of the creature's power.
I: The Skinchanger may choose a single extraordinary ability of the host's to be able to use while possessing it. In addition, the Skinchanger gains access to the creature's weapon proficiencies, and any damage reduction or energy resistances it possesses.
II: The Skinchanger gains access to all its host's extraordinary abilities, as well as its natural special qualities (besides spellcasting, psionics, etc). Furthermore, he may use the host's modifier for any skills it possesses or his own, whichever it better.
III: The Skinchanger may use one of the host's supernatural abilities, and all of its natural and extraordinary attacks and qualities (besides spellcasting, psionics, etc). In addition, he may now choose to use the better of his own and the host's physical ability scores when possessing it, and may gain access to any feats possessed by the host, so long as he removes the benefits of an equal number of his own feats while doing so.
IV: The Skinchanger gains access to all of the creature's supernatural abilities, and may use the better of his or his host's mental ability scores during possession. He also uses the base attack bonus of the host creature or his own base attack bonus, whichever of each is higher.
V: The Skinchanger can use the host creature's base saves or his own, picking the higher of each for each save. In addition, he can force the host creature to do anything, even obviously suicidal actions or acts it would be wholly against.

Charm Animal (Sp): The Skinchanger can use Charm Animal on animals of a similar type to his companion's as a standard action a number of times per day equal to his charisma modifier + half his level, with a caster level equal to his level. This eventually upgrades to being usable on all types of animals, and later on is treated as a Charm Monster spell.

Easy Passage: The Skinchanger is better able to comfortably travel between different bodies. He may now leave a host's body in order to enter the body of another host nearby, rather than having to first return to his own body. Furthermore, when forcibly expelled from a host, he is only fatigued rather than exhausted, and on a successful save is not negatively affected at all. When possessing a host creature, the Skinchanger's own body is in a stupor rather than total unconsiousness. Treat it as being dazed.

Overwhelm Mind (Su): The Skinchanger can now read the thoughts of the surface creature, as per the Detect Thoughts spell, but without a saving throw to negate it. Furthermore, the Skinchanger can attempt to read the creature's memories with a successful possession check. Once per encounter, the Skinchanger can force the host to use one of its purely mental actions (such as a spell or spell-like ability) with a successful possession check. Lastly, the host creature now only makes new saves against possession once every minute + 1 minute per Skinchanger level.

True Possession: The Skinchanger has reached the apothesis of his power, and can now possess creatures and return to his body or others freely without any chance of fatigue. He can force his hosts to take mental actions as many times per encounter as he wishes, and the host can make new saves against possession once every hour + 1 hour per Skinchanger level. Upon leaving a host body, the former host must make a successful will save (with the normal possession DC) or become Charmed by the Skinchanger for one hour per Skinchanger level. Finally, the Skinchanger can, for a number of rounds per day equal to half of Skinchanger level + his charisma modifier, possess two hosts at once or control a host's body and his own at the same time.

Thoughts on how to make this more functional? Please, PEACH.

2013-11-27, 05:40 AM
Firstly, I love this class a lot. Possession mechanics are always fun especially when well-made like this.

Just a little thing I've noticed, there's no range limit on Steal Skin. Theoretically I could possess someone on the other side of the planet with no trouble. Even if you don't want to add a specific range measured in feet it should probably be limited to line of sight at least.

There's a range of other abilities that could be incorporated into this class as well, though not all of them are that good so I'll just list them in case you're interested.
Giving a scaling Miss Chance to your body when it is not "occupied".
Ability to make an opposed possession check to steal the answer to a question from your host's mind.
A feat that gives a bonus to possession checks.
Something like an "extra host type" feat.

Also, I wanted to ask, does your host remain conscious while you control it? Can it still see what is going on, does it remember events, can you communicate with it etc etc?