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Thread: [3.5 Remix] The shapeshifter

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    Default [3.5 Remix] The shapeshifter


    This is an original base class for characters interested in playing an arcane spellcaster focused on shapeshifting and bodily transformation. The shapeshifter excels at altering his form, and can use his magic to change the forms of others as well. Although a shapeshifter has less raw magical power than many other spellcasters, his ability to mimic so many shapes makes him versatile, mobile, fierce in combat, and adept at infiltration and disguise.

    Change Log:
    1.0 Original version
    1.1 Added Healing Factor, reduced time required to attune augments from one hour to five minutes.

    Designer's Notes:
    Although this class has all the pieces in place, I don't really consider it complete yet. There are some unanswered questions I'm still struggling with.
    • Does the shapeshifter have too many options to ever be balanced?
    • Is its number of spells per day too low, too high, or about right?
    • The augmented shifter mechanic (similar to the augment system used with my summoner and soulcrafter classes) is intended to provide a way to get some of the benefits of an alternate shape all day, without having to cast a spell to do it. Is it significant enough to see play?
    • Is there a was to make the shapeshifter compatible with the various [Wild] feats intended for druids? I'd like to use them but haven't found a neat way to do it.
    • Should the shapeshifter have the ability to throw buffs and SoD effects on others via shapeshifting, or is that too powerful an addition to its core abilities?

    Shapeshifters have the following game statistics.

    Abilities: Intelligence is the most important ability for a shapeshifter, as it determines how powerful a spell she can cast, how many spells she can cast per day, and how hard those spells are to resist. A shapeshifter benefits from high Constitution scores much as a sorcerer or wizard would. Shapeshifters who prefer to enhance their normal shapes in combat will benefit from a good Strength and Dexterity score, while those who prefer to fight in a different shape altogether will often focus on Wisdom and Charisma to enhance their interaction skills instead.

    HIT DIE: d6

    Level Base Attack Fort Ref Will Special Augments -0- -1- -2- -3- -4- -5- -6- -7- -8- -9-
    1st +0 +2 +0 +2 Armored mage, assume senses
    3 1
    2nd +1 +3 +0 +3 Extended shifting
    4 2
    3rd +1 +3 +1 +3 Augmented shifter (least)
    4 3
    4th +2 +4 +1 +4
    4 3 1
    5th +2 +4 +1 +4 Healing factor (fast healing)
    4 4 2
    6th +3 +5 +2 +5 Assume exotic senses
    4 4 3 1
    7th +3 +5 +2 +5 Augmented shifter (lesser)
    4 4 3 2
    8th +4 +6 +2 +6 Augmented shifter (two aspects)
    4 4 4 3 1
    9th +4 +6 +3 +6 Potent shapeshifting +2
    4 4 4 3 2
    10th +5 +7 +3 +7
    4 4 4 4 3 1
    11th +5 +7 +3 +7 Augmented shifter (greater)
    4 4 4 4 3 2
    12th +6/+1 +8 +4 +8
    4 4 4 4 4 3 1
    13th +6/+1 +8 +4 +8 Potent shapeshifting +4
    4 4 4 4 4 3 2
    14th +7/+2 +9 +4 +9 Augmented shifter (three aspects)
    4 4 4 4 4 4 3 1
    15th +7/+2 +9 +5 +9 Augmented shifter (dark)
    4 4 4 4 4 4 3 2
    16th +8/+3 +10 +5 +10
    4 4 4 4 4 4 4 3 1
    17th +8/+3 +10 +5 +10 Healing factor (immunities), potent shapeshifting +6
    4 4 4 4 4 4 4 3 2
    18th +9/+4 +11 +6 +11
    4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 3 1
    19th +9/+4 +11 +6 +11 Augmented shifter (fearsome)
    4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 3 2
    20th +10/+5 +12 +6 +12 Augmented shifter (four aspects)
    4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 3
    CLASS SKILLS (2 + Int mod per level, x4 at 1st level)
    A shapeshifter's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Disguise (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Knowledge (dungeoneering), Knowledge (local), Knowledge (nature) (Int), Knowledge (the planes) (Int), Listen (Wis), Profession (Wis), Speak Language (n/a), Spellcraft (Int), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str).

    Your spells and class features make you well-suited to a variety of roles depending on the type of creature you shift into, but you often find yourself using flying shapes for mobility, humanoid shapes for infiltration, and large, powerful shapes for combat. You can enhance the capabilities of your allies by altering their shapes. Outside of combat, your cunning and shapeshifting magic makes you a natural spy, and you are a font of knowledge when it comes to discerning the nature and abilities of all manner of creatures.

    Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The shapeshifter gains proficiency with all simple weapons and with light armor, but not with shields.

    Spells: A shapeshifter casts arcane spells, which are drawn from the shapeshifter spell list (below). When you gain access to a new level of spells, you automatically gain access to all the spells for that level on the shapeshifter’s spell list. You can cast any spell you know without preparing it ahead of time. Essentially, your spell list is the same as your spells known list.

    To cast a shapeshifter spell, you must have an Intelligence score of 10 + the spell's level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a shapeshifter’s spell is 10 + the spell's level + the shapeshifter’s Int mod. Like other spellcasters, a shapeshifter can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. The base daily spell allotment is given in the table above. In addition, you receive bonus spells for a high Intelligence score. If you attempt to cast spells while wearing armor, you suffer an arcane spell failure chance.

    A shapeshifter need not prepare spells in advance. You can cast any spell you know at any time, assuming you have not yet used up your spells per day for that level.

    Armored Mage (Ex): Normally, armor of any type interferes with an arcane spellcaster's gestures, causing an arcane spell failure chance. However, a shapeshifter's limited focus and specialized training allow you to ignore the arcane spell failure chance for light armor. This training does not extend to shields, other forms of armor, or spells gained from other spellcasting classes.

    Assume Senses (Su): When you assume the shape of a creature that possesses darkvision, low-light vision, or scent, you gain that sense. Your eyes now reflect light in the dark, like those of some animals.

    Extended Shifting (Ex): Upon reaching 2nd level, you can remain in your shapeshifted form for longer than usual. All of your [polymorph] spells are automatically Extended as if with the Extend Spell feat, but without any increase in effective spell level.

    Augmented Shifter (Su): At any time after reaching 3rd level, you can declare an alternate shape to be your aspect, attuning the aspect with augments which make you more powerful. You can then assume your aspect and gain the benefit of its augments whenever you wish, even while in a different shape, or in your normal shape (if you assume an aspect while in a different shape, your appearance is a hybrid of your current shape and your aspect).

    Attuning yourself to your aspect requires five minutes of meditation while you are in the aspected shape, during which you choose which augments to attune (much as a wizard prepares spells). If you cannot maintain the shape for at least five minutes, then you cannot select it as an aspect. You can attune a different aspect, or change the augments of your current aspect, as often as you wish, simply by spending another five minutes in meditation while in the appropriate shape. You can assume your aspect at any time as a free action. Likewise, you can suppress your aspect (losing the benefit of its augments and resuming your normal appearance) by concentrating as a standard action.

    Augments come in five grades: least, lesser, greater, dark, and fearsome. At first, you can attune only a single aspect with least augments. As you advance in level, you gain additional aspects and can attune more powerful augments, as shown on Table: The Shapeshifter. However, you can only ever assume a single aspect at a time, and you must suppress your current aspect before you can assume a different one.

    The number of augments you may attune at any one time is shown on Table: The Shapeshifter, above. If you can attune yourself to more than one aspect, you may attune up to your maximum number of augments separately for each one (e.g. a 10th-level shapeshifter can attune four least or lesser augments with his first aspect and four least or lesser augments with his second aspect, but must choose which aspect to assume at any given time).

    Healing Factor (Ex): Upon reaching 5th level, your control of your own form grants you the ability to heal your wounds with exceptional speed. You gain fast healing equal to one-fifth your level. Your appetite also doubles.

    When you reach 17th level, your body control becomes so impressive that you gain immunity to critical hits and stunning -- your system is simply too resilient to be crippled by a lucky strike.
    Assume Exotic Senses (Su): At 6th level and higher, when you assume the shape of a creature that possesses blindsense, blindsight, keen senses, natural cunning, or tremorsense, you gain these senses. Sounds and scents are sharper, crisper and more noticeable to you at all times, and loud sounds or intense odors may be slightly bothersome or distracting for you.

    Potent Shapeshifting (Ex): If you are 9th level or higher, your shape is more potent than normal when you assume the shape of a typical creature of a given type. You gain a +2 enhancement bonus to your Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution scores while using a [polymorph] effect to change your shape.

    This bonus increases to +4 at 13th level, and +6 at 17th level.


    The shapeshifter spell list appears below. All spells are notated with the name and page number of the sourcebook in which they appear.

    0 Level: detect magic (PH 219), read magic (PH 269), virtue (PH 298).

    1st Level: accelerated movement (SC 7), aquatic escape (CS 95), aspect of the wolf (SC 16), babau slime (SC 22), beast claws (SC 25), beastland ferocity (SC 25), branch to branch (SC 38), camouflage (SC 43), claws of the bear (SC 47), climb walls (SC 47), cobra’s breath (CArc 1010), ease of breath (SC 93), endure elements (PH 226), enlarge person (PH 227), expeditious retreat (PH 228), expeditious retreat, swift (SC 85), feather fall (PH 229), fist of stone (SC 94), jump (PH 246), longstrider (PH 249), magic fang (PH 250), nerveskitter (SC 146), ram’s might (SC 166, rapid burrowing (SC 166), reduce person (PH 269), remove scent (SC 173), scales of the lizard (CArc 121), spider form, lesser (DotU 63), webfoot (Storm 125), winged watcher (CS 106), wings of the sea (SC 240).

    2nd Level: alter self (PH 197), animalistic power (Ph2 101), balancing lorecall (SC 23), balor nimbus (SC 28), barkskin (PH 203), bear’s endurance (PH 203), belker claws (SC 26), blinding spittle (SC 32), body of the sun (SC 35), bull’s strength (PH 207), burrow (SC 41), camouflage, mass (SC 43), cat’s grace (PH 208), discern shapechanger (SC 66), eagle’s splendor (PH 225), extend tentacles (SC 86), false life (PH 229), fearsome grapple (SC 90), fins to feet (SC 92), fox’s cunning (PH 233), fuse arms (SC 100), heart of air (CM 106), jaws of the moray (Storm 117), kuo-toa skin (Storm 118), listening lorecall (SC 133), metal fang (CC 124), owl’s wisdom (PH 259), primal hunter (DrM 71), quickswim (Storm 120), razorfangs (Dr 80), reduce animal (PH 269), scintillating scales (SC 181), spider climb (PH 283), swim (SC 217), tiger’s tooth (SC 221), tojanida sight (Storm 123), urchin’s spines (Storm 124), wings of air (SC 240).

    3rd Level: air breathing (SC 8), amorphous form (SC 8), arcane sight (PH 201), bite of the wererat (SC 28), charge of the triceratops (SC 45), dispel magic (PH 223), dragonskin (SC 73), ferocity of sanguine rage (DrM 67), fire wings (SC 93), forestfold (SC 98), gaseous form (PH 234), girallon’s blessing (SC 106), hamatula barbs (SC 109), heart of water (CM 107), jagged tooth (SC 126), lion’s charge (SC 133), magic fang, greater (PH 250), primal form (SC 161), primal instinct (DrM 72), quill fire (SC 164), scales of the sea lord (Storm 121), shape of the hellspawned stalker (CM 117), sharptooth (SC 187), snakebite (SC 193), spider form (DotU 63), thornskin (SC 219), tremorsense (SC 224), unicorn horn (CM 121), vision of the omniscient eye (DrM 74), water breathing (PH 300).

    4th Level: aboleth curse (Storm 113), aspect of the icy hunter (CM 96), bite of the werewolf (SC 29), burning blood (SC 40), burrow, mass (SC 41), corporeal instability (SC 53), displacer form (SC 67), dragonshape, least (DrM 66), enlarge person, mass (PH 227), essence of the raptor (SC 84), fangs of the vampire king (SC 88), flame whips (SC 95), flight of the dragon (SC 95), giant vermin PH 235), heart of earth (CM 106), magic fang, superior (SC 136), passage of the shifting sands (DrM 70), primal senses (DrM 72), reduce person, mass (PH 269), sandform (Sand 119), skin of the cactus (Sand 120), stoneskin (PH 284), swim, mass (SC 217), tenser’s transformation (PH 294), trollshape (PH2 127), wild runner (SC 239), wind at back (SC 239), wings of air, greater (SC 240).

    5th Level: animal growth (PH 198), baleful polymorph (PH 202), bite of the wereboar (SC 28), blood creepers (PH2 104), break enchantment (PH 207), draconic might (SC 72), dragonsight (SC 73), dridershape (DotU 61), enlarge person, greater (SC 82), flaying tendrils (CM 104), flesh to ice (Frost 94), form of the desert hunter (DrM 67), form of the threefold beast (CM 105), gutsnake (SC 108), heart of fire (CM 107), ice to flesh (Frost 100), metal skin (CArc 115), nightstalker’s transformation (SC 148), plant body (SC 159), poison thorns (SC 159), polymorph (PH 263), quill blast (SC 164), reduce person, greater (SC 171), sirine’s grace (SC 191), spider form, greater (DotU 63), transformation of the deeps (Storm 123), unicorn blood (CM 11).

    6th Level: animalistic power, mass (PH2 101), aspect of the earth hunter (SC 16), bear’s endurance, mass (PH 203), bite of the weretiger (SC 28), bull’s strength, mass (PH 207), cat’s grace, mass (PH 208), chasing perfection (PH2 106), cloak of the sea (SC 48), dispel magic, greater (PH 223), dragonshape, lesser (DrM 66), eagle’s splendor, mass (PH 225), flesh to stone (PH 232), fleshshiver (SC 95), fox’s cunning, mass (PH 233), owl’s wisdom, mass (PH 259), primal speed (DrM 72), stone body (SC 207), stone to flesh (PH 285), tortoise shell (SC 221), true seeing (PH 296), wooden blight (CC 130).

    7th Level: adamantine wings (CM 95), arcane sight, greater (PH 201), avasculate (SC 19), bite of the werebear (SC 28), blood to water (SC 33), body of war (SC 35), body outside body (CArc 100), draconic polymorph (Dr 79), giant size (CArc 109), kiss of the vampire (SC 128), nixie’s grace (SC 148), unicorn heart (CM 121).

    8th Level: animal shapes (PH 198), avascular mass (SC 19), bite of the king (SC 28), dreaded form of the eye tyrant (CM 102), elemental body (SC 78), flensing (SC 95), ghostform (SC 103), iron body PH 245), megalodon empowerment (Storm 118), minute form (CArc 115), unyielding form of inevitable death (CM 122).

    9th Level: arboreal transformation (CM 95), cast in stone (SC 43), dragonshape (PH2 111), shapechange (PH 277).
    Last edited by jiriku; 2014-05-29 at 06:26 PM.
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