View Full Version : [Base Class] Shifter

2008-05-04, 08:23 AM


I am the true master of forms! -Calek Reglenus, shifter

Through the bloodlines of the ancient beasts of origin, the Genoliths, shifters have come to wield their power of creation as a morphing ability for the cause of nature. They use their great shape changing powers to assume the state of an avatar of nature’s fury, defenders of the forests, and keepers of the ancient creation methods.

Due to the boosts in strength and constitution they get, shifters can be used as a very good melee combatant. They tend to utilize the great strength granted by this class to make their presence known on the battlefield, an avatar of nature’s fury.
Abilities: Strength is the primary attribute shifters will need, to aid them in their combat. Dexterity and constitution are also necessary for AC and hit points, as is wisdom for will saves, AC, and skills such as spot and listen.
Races: Any races can take on the path of a shifter, but they are more common with the more savage races and nature oriented races. Orcs in particular feel a calling to the path of shifter. Dwarves tend to shy from this class, as do gnomes.
Alignment: Most shifters tend towards true neutral, but they can be any alignment.
Starting Gold: 2d4x10 (50 gp)
Starting Age: as druid.

Class Skills
The shifter's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are balance (dex), climb (str), craft (int), handle animal (cha), heal (wis), hide (dex), jump (str), knowledge (nature) (int), listen (wis), move silently (dex), profession (wis), spot (wis), survival (wis), swim (str), and tumble (dex)
Skill Points at 1st Level : (4 + int)x4
Skill Points at Each Additional Level : 4 + int

Hit Dice: d8

{table=head]Level|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special
+0|Shape Shifting, Shifting (animal)
+0|Shifting Armor
+1|Shifting (predator), Shifter’s Size (-1)
+1|Shifter’s Weapons +1
+1|Shifting (aerial)
+2|Shifter’s Speech, Shifter’s Size (+1)
+2|Quick Shifting (move action)
+2|Shifter’s Weapons +2, Shifting Weapons (alignment)
+3|Shifting (slayer), Shifter’s Size (-2)
+3|Shifting Weapons (material), A Thousand Faces
+4|Shifter’s Weapons+3, Shifter’s Size (+2)
+4|Shifting (Avenger)
+4|Quick Shifting (swift action), Blind Sense 30 ft
+5|Shifting Weapons (alignment), Shifter’s Size (-3)
+5|Shifter’s Weapons +4
+5|Shifting (Fury)
+6|Shifting Weapons (material), Shifter’s Size (+3)
+6|Blind Sight 15 ft.
+6|Shifter Apotheosis, Shifter’s Weapons +5[/table]

Weapon Proficiencies: A shifter is proficient with its natural only, and no armor or shields.

Shape Shifting (su): A shifter may shift forms at will as a standard action. Each time you shift you may choose the exact form that you shift into, but you lack the detail to copy specific people or creature. You may, for instance, take the form of an elf, but you may not take the form of the Duke of Ellington Court. You retain your original hit points, hit dice, base attack bonus, base saves, skill points, etc, but gain a bonus to either strength or dexterity and your natural armor. You keep all extraordinary, supernatural, and spell like abilities of your original form, except those that require use of a body part that your new form does not have. You cannot speak in shape shifted form, and all worn gear melds into your body, becoming useless. Unless otherwise noted, you retain your size and space, and you always retain your type and subtype. You do not gain any special attacks or qualities of the form assumed. You look like the creature you have shifted into, nothing more. Much like lycanthropy, only the change is supernatural, and affected by an Anti-Magic Field. Once changed, a shifter remains in that form until he chooses to change back or into another form.

Shifting: These are the actual forms you can shift into. The first form you learn to adapt is that of a typical animal, a horse, cow, pony, etc. While in this form you gain a +2 enhancement bonus to strength and a +2 bonus to natural armor. You also gain a natural attack, either a hoof, single claw, or slam that deals 1d4 damage for medium shifters. You have the reach of a long creature of your size. At level 6 and every 6 levels afterwards the bonus to strength increases by two. At level 7 you gain the run feat while in this form. At level 3 and every 4 levels afterwards your speed increases by 10 feet.

At level 3 you gain the ability to take the form of a predator, a wolf, panther, or other hunting creature. You gain a +4 enhancement bonus to dexterity or strength (chosen at the time of shifting) in this form, as well as a +4 bonus to natural armor. You also gain a bite attack that deals 1d6 damage for a medium creature, with reach for a long creature of your size. You also gain a +10 foot bonus to your base land speed. At level 6 you gain the mobility feat while in this form, whether or not you qualify for it. At level 8 you gain an additional +2 enhancement bonus to dexterity or strength (chosen at the time of shifting) and this bonus increases by two every 5 levels afterwards. At level 6 you also gain the scent ability while in this form, and the track feat as a bonus feat. At level 9 and every 2 levels afterwards you gain a +2 bonus on survival checks made to track with scent while in this form.

At level 5 you gain the ability to take an aerial form, an eagle, hawk, or similar. While in this form you gain a +4 enhancement bonus to dexterity, and two talons that deal 1d4 damage each for medium creatures with the reach of a long creature of your size. You also gain a 40 foot fly speed, with good maneuverability, and the Weapon Finesse feat while in this form. At level 15 this becomes perfect maneuverability, and every 4 levels past level 5 you gain a 10 foot bonus to this fly speed. Every three levels past level 5 you gain an additional +2 enhancement bonus to dexterity.

At level 9 you gain the ability to shift into a slayer form, a dire animal. While in this form you gain a +6 enhancement bonus to strength and a +2 enhancement bonus to constitution. Your natural armor bonus increases by 6. You also gain a bite attack that deals 1d6 damage for medium creatures and two claw attacks that deal 1d4 damage for medium creatures, with reach for a long creature of your size. At level 14 you gain the improved natural attack feat for both claws and bite. At level 19 you gain the augmented critical ability for your bite, granting it a threat range of 18-20 and a critical multiplier of x3, and the improved critical feat for your claws. At level 10 and every 4 levels afterwards the bonus to strength increases by 2.

At level 13 you gain the ability to take the form of an avenger, a treant, shambling mound, or other plant creature. You gain a +6 enhancement bonus to strength and a +4 enhancement bonus to constitution. Your natural armor increases by 8. You also gain damage reduction 6/slashing while in this form. In addition, you gain two slam attacks that each deal 1d6 damage for medium creatures with reach of a tall creature of your size. Your speed reduces by 10 feet while in this form. Every level past 13 your damage reduction increases by 2. At level 16 and every three levels afterwards the bonus to constitution increases by 2, and the bonus to natural armor increases by 1. At level 16 you gain the light fortification ability, and this improves to heavy fortification at level 19. At level 18 the bonus to strength increases by 2.

At level 17 you gain the most powerful of the forms, that of the Fury, an elemental. While in this form you gain a +14 enhancement bonus to strength, a +6 enhancement bonus to constitution, and a +10 bonus to natural armor. You gain immunity to critical hits and two slams that each deal 1d8 for medium creatures, with reach of a tall creature of your size. You also gain immunity to an energy type of your choice (acid, electricity, fire, or cold) and the blind sight ability out to 30 feet. At level 19 you gain the great cleave feat, even if you don’t normally meet the prerequisites while in this form. At level 20 you also gain the energy burst ability on your natural attacks corresponding to the energy you chose to be immune to, and the blind sight ability increases to 60 feet.

Shifting Armor: At level two your senses have become so tuned to the nature of shifting that you gain a bonus to your armor class equal to your wisdom modifier while shifted. This does not stack with similar abilities, like that of a monk or ninja.

Shifter’s Size: At level 3 a shifter may take a form of one size category smaller than the original shifter’s form. Every six levels afterwards, the number of size categories increases by one, but can go no smaller than fine.

At level 6, a shifter may take a form of one size category larger. Every six levels thereafter the number of size categories increases by one, but the shifter may not grow larger than colossal.

This ability can be used at the same time (in fact, must be used at the same time) as the shape shift ability. You gain all the benefits and all the drawbacks of your increased or decreased size, as per the table in the Monster Manual, or here. (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/improvingMonsters.htm#sizeIncreases) Your reach changes accordingly.

Shifter’s Weapons: At level four a shifter gains a +1 enhancement bonus on attack and damage rolls with his natural weapons. This bonus increases by one every four levels, as indicated on the table. In addition, a shifter’s natural weapons now count as magic for the purposes of DR and striking incorporeal opponents.

Shifter’s Speech: At level 6 a shifter retains the ability to speak while shifted.

Quick Shifting: At level 7 a shifter may start shifting as a move action rather than a standard action. At level 14 this further reduces to a swift action.

Shifting Weapons: At level 8 a shifter’s natural weapons take one of the alignments of the shifter for the purposes of overcoming damage reduction. If the shifter is true neutral, he may choose one alignment. At level 15 the shifter gets their other alignment, and if the shifter’s other alignment axis is neutral, gets to choose one more alignment for his natural weapons to count as.

At level 11 the shifter gets to choose one special material for his natural weapons to count as for the purposes of damage reduction, and gets to choose another one at level 18.

Scent: At level 10 a shifter gains the scent ability out to 30 feat.

A Thousand Faces (Su): At 11th level, a shifter gains the ability to change his appearance at will, as if using the disguise self spell, but only while in his normal form. This affects the shifter’s body but not his possessions. It is not an illusory effect, but a minor physical alteration of the shifter’s appearance, within the limits described for the spell.

Blindsense: At level 14 a shifter gain blindsense out to 30 ft.

Blindsight: At level 19 a shifter gains blind sight out to 15 feet.

Shifting Apotheosis: At level 20 a shifter gains the shapechanger subtype, and is no longer subject to transmutation effects unless he is willing to accept it. You also gain light fortification while shifted.

Due to the fact that they are not proficient with any weapons and cannot hold any weapons anyways, shifters are almost always melee combatants. They use their shifting to gain tremendous strength and agility to help them in dealing damage while remaining alive.
Religion: Shifters tend to worship Obad-Hai if anything, or other deities of nature. Some may worship other deities, but they are not common
Other Classes: Shifters work well with other nature revering classes such as druids and rangers, but can work well with most any other class. They tend to hold a small amount of contempt for arcanists, much like the Originist and Genomancer.
Combat: Typical combat for a shifter involves shifting into the appropriate form and focusing on what that form does best. The aerial form is typically used for hit and run tactics, the predator form for straight melee, the slayer form for tanking, the avenger form for pure staying power, and the fury form for sheer strength. The animal form is usually used out of combat for overland speed.
Advancement: Most shifters stay with this class as long as possible due to the lack of prestige class support, but some take to the rogue class for more sneaking ability, especially with the aerial form granting a great dexterity boost, and some take to barbarian or fighter for more battle options. Some take to the Shifter Sneak prestige class after taking a few levels in scout to emphasize a hit and run tactic, again typically using the aerial or predator forms.

They are our brothers in protecting the woods, but something is always…off about them. –Soveliss, ranger

Shifters are somewhat of an enigma, held in a sort of revered light by those who worship nature, and a mystery to those who don’t. Most don’t know why they have the ability to change shape, and those that do are not about to let the secret out.
Daily Life: You tend to enjoy the out doors, getting more in touch with the nature that granted you these powers. Others tend to view you as barbaric or animalistic, and they might not be too far off, due to the amount of time you spend outside like this.
Notables: Brother Wolfman was a good aligned shifter who was once head of the Guardians of the Green. He received his name due to his preference for the wolf as his shifted form. At the time that Brother Wolfman was head, there was another shifter who looked to advance the forest, and destroy civilization. Brother Grug was an evil orcish shifter who sought power over the Guardians of the Green, trying to usurp Brother Wolfman. Brother Wolfman finally killed Brother Grug in combat when Grug attacked Wolfman.
Organizations: The Guardians of the Green (Complete Champion) are a very prominent organization filled with rangers, druids, and shifters. Most shifters that belong to an organization will call this one home.

NPC Reaction
Due to the connection with nature you feel, many NPCs will view you as an uncivilized character. Their reactions tend to vary as a result of this, some looking down on you as nothing more than another peasant, some befriending you for your courage to connect with what was.

Shifters tend to replace druids as the shape shifting class, but don’t really do more than that. Since they lack the spells of a druid, they are played in a vastly different fashion, more akin to a fighter or a barbarian than a druid.
Adaptation: The shifter can be adapted easily to fit any campaign. They can get their powers from heritage of lycanthropy, arcane beasts, through the practice of magic, extra planar beings, etc.
Encounters: When encountering a shifter, it is likely to be a territory issue, or the shifter could be the minion of a more powerful monster.

2008-05-04, 11:39 AM
You may want to change the name of the class. Unless you want an Eberron-savvy player to play a Shifter Shifter.

2008-05-04, 12:18 PM
You may want to change the name of the class. Unless you want an Eberron-savvy player to play a Shifter Shifter.

You should keep the name just to encourage people to play the class :smallbiggrin:

Heck, even a Changeling Shifter would confuse anyone playing Eberron.

Church of the Silver Flame: An unholy lycanthrope-doppelganger half-breed?!? NOBODY EXPECTS THE THRANISH INQUISITION!!!!

2008-05-04, 03:12 PM
...:smallbiggrin: I didn't even think about that, I never play campaign specifics. But like I said, the name may change. I'll have most of the stuff up in a couple hours. Fluff will wait a little longer, maybe tomorrow.

2008-05-04, 10:01 PM
Okay, crunch and first half of fluff up. I'm tired and have to work tomorrow, so I'll see you all, in the morning. More like tomorrow afternoon.

Just to let you all know, I've tried to make all of...the...I forgot about the size changes. They will go up soon. Well, after I get them up, I will have tried to make all of the forms approximately equal in power up through level 20. You just don't get some of them until later.

2008-05-05, 12:48 AM
When I read the title, I instantly thought "Hey, a shapeshifting combat class with the same ability as the PHBII druid would be nice," and lo, the thread delivers. Except for the swift action shifting. Any reason you changed it to a standard action?

lord of kobolds
2008-05-05, 01:11 AM
I would Try to change the capstone to something more practical, as the current capstone would only protect against baleful polymorph.

2008-05-05, 07:35 AM
At level 1 the shape shift druid variant is overpowered. After level 3 or so it gets better. And besides, I wanted a scaling ability for time of shifting. I do need to add the clause that you need to shift again to change forms, so it takes a standard action, and then a move action, swift action.

The shapechanger subtype comes with all sorts of goodies, at least, I thought it did. Well, capstones are not supposed to be powerful. Also, there are more than just Baleful Polymorph that gets you (and it is a fairly common spell at high levels). I will probably up the power a little though. Look for something regarding crits.

Also, a couple things I missed, they will be getting Disguise Self at will at around level 10, and the aerial form will be getting a boost. I forgot to have the ability scores boost with levels.

One last thing, I finally found my third class for Magic of Origins! This! The flavor will change a little bit, but I'm going to be using this class in that "book".

Okay, fine, one more thing: I'm not sure on the ability scores adjustments and the forms themselves, I tried to have them all be about equal in power throughout the levels after you get the form, so any help there is appreciated.

2008-05-08, 08:41 AM
Okay, I lied. I want the higher level forms to be more powerful than the lower level forms that were augmented. The reason is so it encourages taking the class to 20, but is still viable as a dip (probably a 2 level dip, for wis to AC, or just one for the save and BAB). Also, this way gives me a reasonable way to have PrCs give something and take something away, namely the high level forms, while still allowing better shifting through levels.


Shifting Clasp
Price: 4,000 gp
Body Slot: -
Caster Level: 3rd
Aura: faint transmutation
Activation: -
Weight: -
This gold 3-inch chain has clasps on each end, and intricate carvings of animals on the clasps.

The Shifting Clasp allows a shifter to retain some of their items while shifted. Any item with a Shifting Clasp attached to it still melds into the form, but continues to provide the shifter with its benefits, but also its drawbacks. For instance, a shifter with chain mail and a Shifting Clasp on said chain mail will still incur the armor check penalty and maximum dexterity bonus to AC, as well as the non-proficiency penalties, but will also reap the benefits of the +4 armor bonus to AC.
prerequisites: Craft Wondrous Item, Shape Shift
cost to create: 2, 000gp, 160 xp, 4 days

2008-05-08, 09:00 AM
I like the item...but wouldn't it be reasonable to have it work with any class that allows shifting forms?

2008-05-08, 09:14 AM
The Wilding Clasp is wildshape only, so I made this shifting only. Really, it would have been most prudent to allow the Wilding Clasp to work with any shape changery, but it doesn't. I've been trying to see whether or not it would be overpowered to allow it to work with anything, so right now I'm playing it safe.

2008-05-08, 04:46 PM
You should see if DaTedinator will let you post these (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=78186) as a tie in to your class.

The shapeshifter druid is one of my favorite classes, and this is definately a good way to implement it's ideas.

2008-05-08, 05:15 PM
I think a Warforged Shifter could be fun. Imagine...a 'bot that can transform into animals! It'd be a hit TV show.

2008-05-08, 07:02 PM
Those are some nice feats, but if you noticed, my mechanics are slightly different from the shapeshift druid. I will have to adapt them, but I will ask for his permission. Thank you for the find.

Fiery Diamond
2008-05-08, 09:14 PM
This is in no way balanced against the druid. What do you want to balance it against?

2008-05-08, 09:18 PM
Not the druid. It should be a smidgen more powerful than the barbarian, about in line with the ToB classes, well, a little less powerful than them. Aiming for a 6 on the class ranking system. For reference, druids are 9.something, barbarians are 4.99, and the weakest ToB class (currently the Swordsage) is 6.55 last I checked. Actually, I just checked it, I want it to apparently be as balanced as a warlock, which is currently at 6.00. But I believe the warlock is a little higher than that, Binder, Psychic Warrior, and Factotum are all around 6 there.

2008-05-23, 02:38 PM
So...is it perfectly balanced and nothing can go wrong?