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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Aug 2013

    Post Shifter Base Class (3.5, PEACH)

    The Shifter

    Intro / Fluff
    Spoiler
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    The shifter is focused on one thing: Being everything. They, like sorcerers, draw power from within themselves in order to fuel their own supernatural abilities. However, they channel this power all into their arcane shape ability, rarely bothering with spells. They can charge into battle as a cheetah, scout as a cat, reconnoiter as a eagle, or just plain hurt people as a war troll. They are versatile for their ability not to be themselves.

    Adventures: Many shifters adventure to protect the land, and the creatures with whom they have come to identify. They also might simply to increase their own power. Many are sedentary, living in secret cabals, whereas others charge themselves with protecting settlements. The occasional one becomes an adventurer, and they serve as the visible face of the class, although most that deal with them don’t know it.

    Characteristics: The easiest way to describe the shifter is by listing the forms it’s capable of assuming. As they advance in levels, they’ll spend less and less time in their own bodies. At first level, they could be baboons, badgers, dogs, eagles or small snakes for one hour a day. However, once they hit third, they’re already capable of infiltrating an enemy gnoll stronghold for nine hours. At 6th, they are the table on which the gnolls lay out their maps.

    Alignment: Both good and evil creatures can become shifters. However, lawful beings are unable to be one, as they cannot tolerate the ever-changing forms they find themselves in. Chaotic beings are rare, due to their inability to concentrate on learning the intricacies of the class, but they are perfectly capable of being shifters, and they often end up being the most powerful.

    Religion: The most common shifter deities are Ehlonna and Obad-hai. Fharlanghn is also popular with adventuring shifters, and some good or chaotic ones worship Corellon Larethian. However, some shifters do not have a religion at all; as they draw their power from within themselves, they do not really need to.

    Background: Many shifters are outcasts from their homes, people seeking to blend into society. Others are people that grew up with an intuitive understanding that they are not comfortable in their own skin. However, the vast majority of them are taught by other shifters, either picked up while the shifter traveled through their town, or simply apprenticed by the local defender of the people.

    Shifters all recognize each other as members of a brotherhood, although they rarely share much more. Most have never met each other, and they have no special ranks. If two meet, the one with a higher shifter level is usually treated as the better, although chaotic shifters and evil shifters sometimes have problems in the execution of this idea.

    Races: Humans, with their adaptable form, are the most common candidates for this class. Shapeshifting races are also prone to want to explore their special abilities further. Elves are in tune with the environment and often like this class, but other civilized races are rare in the shifter ranks.

    Other Classes: A shifter outwardly shares the most with a druid, but the source of their abilities draws them to Sorcerers and, to a lesser extent, other arcane spellcasting classes. However, some prefer rangers, fighters, and barbarians, with their straight-forwardness and less reliance on spells. All in all, they share little with other classes. They are generally looked down upon by sorcerers and wizards, but druids can identify with them. Barbarians and fighters often think of them as not straightforward enough, while rangers tend to agree with most of their policies.
    Role: The shifter’s main asset is his versatility. While most forms they assume are for combat, they can also be fast or flying as travelers, or stealthy as scouts. All abilities of animals, humanoids, or any other form that they can assume are added to their vast repertoire of uses. They make some of the most elite spies in the game, able to actually look and sound like a specific person if they want to.

    Game Rule Information
    Abilities: Charisma helps a shifter bluff when in disguise, and is a key ability in higher levels, as they can’t arcane shape into a creature unless they have more charisma then it has hit die. As they will spend most of their time in arcane shape, Strength and dexterity are mostly unnecessary- However, constitution is important, giving hit points. Wisdom gives them keen senses, useful especially for scouts. Intelligence gives them more skills, which can be used to expand their numerous uses and help assume roles when shapechanged into another’s form.

    Difficulty: Complex (as Wizard).
    Starting Gold: 3D4*10 GP (100 GP).
    Alignment: Any non-lawful.
    Hit Die: d8.

    Class Skills
    The shifter’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Bluff (Cha), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Hide (Dex), Knowledge (arcana) (int), Knowledge (dungeoneering) (int), Knowledge (local) (int), Knowledge (nature) (int), Knowledge (religion) (int), Knowledge (the planes) (int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Speak Language (n/a), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), and Swim (Str).
    Skill Points at 1st Level: (4 + Int modifier) x 4.
    Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 4 + Int modifier.

    Table: The shifter


    Class Features
    All of the following are class features of the shifter.

    Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Shifters are proficient with all simple weapons. They are also proficient with all natural attacks (claw, bite, and so forth) of any form they assume with arcane shape (see below). Shifters are proficient with light armor but not with shields. If a shifter shifts while wearing medium or heavy armor, it counts as two arcane shape attempts (in addition to the standard penalties). If she only has one arcane shape left for the day, she cannot change while wearing it.

    Arcane shape:

    At 1st level, a shifter gains the ability to turn herself into certain Small or Medium animals and back again. Her options for new forms include all familiar creatures (see below). This ability functions "like" the polymorph spell, except as noted here.
    A shifter loses her ability to speak while in animal form because she is limited to the sounds that a normal, untrained animal can make, but she can communicate normally with other animals of the same general grouping as her new form. (The normal sound a wild parrot makes is a squawk, so changing to this form does not permit speech.) Because of this, a shifter cannot cast spells when arcane shaped until she gets shifter’s speech.
    A Shifter does not gain any ability that would increase the number of creatures shifted into, such as an ooze’s split ability or a symbiotic creature’s detach.
    At 4th level, and every four levels after, a shifter can change into a new size category, although hit dice restrictions still apply. This progression is detailed on table: The Shifter. She can arcane shape into large creatures at 4th level, into tiny creatures at 8th level, into huge creatures at 12th level, diminutive creatures at 16th level, and gargantuan creatures at 20th level.

    Times per day: Once per class level, with a minimum of her charisma bonus.

    Duration: One hour per class level, or until shifted out of.

    Time to shift: 1 standard action, without provoking an attack of opportunity (improves with fast arcane shape). Shifting out is the same type of action as shifting in.

    Hit Die limits: The hit die of a chosen creature must be under the shifter’s current level, as well as under her charisma score. If she is familiar with a creature but gets level or charisma drained under the necessary value, she cannot shift into that creature until she meets the prerequisites again.

    Ability type: Supernatural (moderate transmutation) until 8th level, at which point it is extraordinary.

    Available Forms: A Shifter begins play knowing three one-HD animal forms of her choice. At every new level, a shifter does the following things, in order:

    1. If the shifter gets a new type that level (see table), she chooses a new type of creature to be able to shift into.

    2. She may then choose three creatures to be able to shift into. The creatures must be within the shifter’s (new) hit die and size limitations. These need not be creatures that the shifter has seen, but they must be ones she could reasonably have heard of. As such, almost every form should be available (Check with DM for any special cases). There is no advantage to not taking a shift slot, as they cannot be saved. If a template is presented with a list of sample forms (like skeletons), each can be taken individually as creatures (for instance, a shifter could take grey render and grey render zombie, but she must use template shifting to get a Roc zombie). Advancements of creatures cannot be takes as units, each form is a separate form to be familiar with. Any sample creature with class levels is ineligible to be taken as a form, although in the case of a 1HD creature whose single class level replaced its monster hit die, the 1HD monster form is allowed. Swarms cannot be taken as forms until level 7, and incorporeal creatures are unavailable until level 13.

    3. Once time per level, she may swap one form of a single type for another of the same type. The new form gained must follow the familiarity and size restrictions, above.
    For instance, consider a 1st level shifter that knows small snake, baboon, and eagle as her animal forms. When she gains second level, she may (1) learn how to shift into humanoids; (2) learn how to shift into one new animal, such as an octopus, as well as two humanoids, like Elves and Lizardfolk; and (3) forget how to shift into a small snake in order to learn how to shift into a new animal, such as the riding dog.

    Shifter Creature Types:


    Improved Arcane shape: At 2nd level, a shifter gains the aquatic, air, cold, earth, fire, and/or water subtype(s) during a shift if possessed by the chosen form. At 4th level, a shifter gets all extraordinary special qualities of the form she assumes. At 7th level, she gains the swarm subtype during a shift if the form has it. At 10th level, she gains all supernatural (but not spell-like) special attacks from her shifted form. At 13th level, she gains the incorporeal subtype during shifts if the form possesses it. At 19th level, she gains all supernatural (but not spell-like) special qualities from assumed forms.

    However, it is much harder using supernatural (not extraordinary) abilities when shifting. When a shifter of at least 10th level changes shape, she must choose whether or not to use whatever supernatural attacks (and qualities if she is at least 19th level) of the creature she is shaping into. If she chooses to use them, she can only shift into a creature if its hit die plus its challenge rating is less than both her class level and her charisma. That is to say, when using supernatural abilities, her HD cap is decreased by the desired monster’s challenge rating.

    At 16th level, a shifter gains the ability to add templates that she knows to the creatures she arcane shapes into. However, when arcane shaping into such a creature, the difference between her class levels and its hit die must be at least equal to the level adjustment of the template she is applying to it, taking into account its challenge rating if supernatural abilities are used, and the total templates applied can never have a level adjustment exceeding one fourth of her shifter level. Furthermore, if the template changes the creature's type, hit die, or size, both the original and the new forms must be available to the shifter. Templates may be layered, as long as all template stacking rules are observed, and every intermediate form is available to her, as well as every template used. For an example, when arcane shaping into a winged (+2 LA) Cloud Giant, she must be at least 19th level, because 17 HD + 2 LA equals 19. If a template has a specified increase in challenge rating, this must be factored into the challenge rating of the resulting creature for purposes of supernatural abilities. If a template has no level adjustment (generally because it cannot be applied to sentient characters), use the challenge rating adjustment as the level adjustment. Ignore any modifications to number or size of hit die given by templates. Templates can never reduce effective HD or Challenge Rating.

    A shifter gains 5 templates of her choice at 16th level and gains one per level. This works otherwise like available forms, above. There is no exchanging of templates.

    Shifter’s Speech (Ex): At 2nd level, a shifter can speak normally while in any arcane shaped form. This includes communication and the recitation of a spell’s verbal components. She can still make the normal sounds her form can make, as detailed above, to talk with other creatures of the same kind. This affects only the arcane shape ability, not any spells or class abilities with similar results.

    Bonus Monstrous Feat: At level 3, a Shifter learns how to harness one aspect of shifting much better. She gets one of the following feats as a bonus feat, even if she does not meet the prerequisites: Improved Grapple, Improved Natural Attack (any one attack), Flyby Attack, or Multiattack. She gains the benefits of this feat whenever her form allows it.

    Weapon Enhancement (Su): A shifter knows how to infuse her natural weapons with magical energy. At 4th level, she gains a +1 magical enhancement bonus to all of her natural weapons. This bonus improves by an additional +1 every 4 levels afterward, as shown on table: The Shifter.

    Inanimate Arcane Shape (Su): At 6th level, a shifter can use a daily use of arcane shape to shape into an inanimate object that she is familiar with, with normal size restrictions. Treat this as an arcane shape into an Animated Object of the appropriate size, except that HD limits are ignored. Like normal arcane shape, this is extraordinary at level 8, and gains extraordinary and supernatural abilities as if it were an arcane shape of the appropriate size of animated object. (If the object has more HD than the she has levels, a shifter cannot use any abilities that would decrease her HD cap.)

    For shifting into objects with craft DCs higher than 20 (most objects with moving parts, masterwork items, beautiful works of art, etc), the Shifter must make a craft check. Failure for a masterwork item means that she turns into the item’s mundane counterpart. Failure for a work of art means that she changes into a crude mockery (the level of crudeness depending on the check), and failure for a complicated item means that it is nonfunctional, parts fused together. Other items may have appropriate penalties.

    She may turn into a book, but it is written in gibberish.

    Sample Craft DCs:

    A shifter may not shift into inanimate objects any other way. Familiarity with animated objects of any size cannot be conferred in any other way. This ability counts as Arcane Shape for purposes of integration into Multimorph.

    Morphic Shifting: At 6th level, a shifter gains the ability to further improve her arcane shape. Unless otherwise noted, all abilities are usable only while arcane shaped, and last until the specific arcane shape ends. Unless otherwise stated, multiple uses of an ability do not stack. These may be used a total of once per two class levels plus her charisma modifier, per day.

    Any number of these may be triggered as free actions when arcane shaping (but each one counts separately against the daily limit, above). Unless otherwise noted, they can also be used as move actions while arcane shaped.

    A shifter may select two of the following abilities at 6th level, and one every two levels afterwards.

    Morphic Aggression (Ex): When activated, all of the shifter’s natural weapons deal +1 damage per three levels.

    Morphic Armor (Ex): A shifter with this ability can use morphic shifting to toughen her skin, gaining natural armor equal to her charisma modifier or improve her existing natural armor by the same amount. This is an enhancement bonus.

    Morphic Body (Ex): A shifter with this ability can morph into better versions of the creatures she knows. She may improve either strength, dexterity, or constitution by two points per five levels. This ability can be used multiple times if it targets a different ability each time. This is an enhancement bonus.

    Morphic Healing (Su): A shifter with this ability selected can use a daily use of morphic shifting to immediately heal damage equal to her class level. This is still a move action, and may be used regardless of form. Unlike other morphic abilities, this cannot be used while entering a shape; it is only available for use as a move action.

    Morphic Health (Ex): When activated, this ability gives the shifter one bonus hit point per class level, as well as the benefits of the diehard feat. These immediately end if the arcane shape is terminated, and the granted hit points from this ability can never go above her class level.

    Morphic Material (Ex): When used, the shifter may choose a weapon material (e.g. adamantine, silver, etc.) All of her natural weapons are considered to be made of this material until the end of the arcane shape, for purposes of bypassing damage reduction and hardness.

    Morphic Movement (Ex): A shifter with this ability can expend a use of morphic shifting to gain a new movement type. In order to use this ability, she first finds the fastest movement speed on the creature. Then, she either grants herself a land speed, climb speed, swim speed, or average flight speed equal to this speed, or she grants herself a burrow speed equal to half this amount (rounded down to the nearest 5 feet). Alternatively, if she already has a fly speed in her current form, she can spend her use of morphic movement to increase her maneuverability by up to 2 steps. A shifter retains all of her old movement rates when using morphic movement. Morphic movement can be used multiple times to gain multiple new modes of movement, but multiple creations and/or improvements of flying speeds do not stack. If her form already has the chosen movement mode, use the larger value.

    When used with multimorph, the granted type of movement speed does not change, although if the highest movement rate of the new form changes, then the granted movement speed will as well. For instance, if a shifter began as an eagle (with fly 80) that gained burrow, she could burrow at 40 feet per round, half of the eagle’s fastest movement mode. If she then morphed into an octopus, whose fastest movement is swim 30, her burrow speed would reduce to 15 feet per round.

    Morphic Reach (Ex): A shifter with this trait can elongate limbs, tails, and snouts. She may improve her arcane shaped reach of one natural attack type (such as “claws”, “bite” or “tentacles”) by 5 feet per 10 levels. This is an enhancement bonus. This can be used multiple times if it targets a different natural attack type each time.

    If activated during multimorph, this ability is active as long as the chosen natural weapon type is available to her current form. Should she choose to reactivate this ability using another use of morphic shifting, she may swap the natural weapon gaining reach, dismissing the old effect.

    Morphic resistance (Ex): A shifter with this ability activated gains damage reduction X/magic and silver, where X is equal to her charisma modifier.

    Morphic Sustenance (Ex): A shifter with this ability need not eat, sleep, or drink. It is always active, regardless of form.

    Morphic Unmelding (Ex): A shifter with this ability can use it while arcane shaping to cause one worn magical item not to meld with her form. It must be appropriate for the new form (no helmets on oozes), and changes size if necessary. It cannot be a magical weapon. Multiple uses of this ability can grant multiple unmelded items. Unlike most abilities, this cannot be used in the middle of an arcane shape- it must be at the beginning of one.

    If used during multimorph, the unmolded item works as normal, changing sizes as appropriate, until the shifter shifts into an incompatible form. If she does, the item will break or fall off (depending on the specific forms and sizes) unless she uses an additional use of morphic shifting during the form change to meld one or more incompatible items into herself, rendering themselves nonfunctional, as normal.

    Morphic Weapon Enhancement (Su): By spending a variable amount of her morphic shifting, a shifter can give her natural weapons special abilities. By spending a number of uses of morphic shifting equal to double the equivalent bonus of a melee weapon special ability, she can impart that special ability on a single natural weapon (Should she have multiple of this natural weapon type, such as 2 claws, only one gains the ability). This cannot be any ability that offers benefits against a single, arbitrary group of creatures such as Bane, although abilities that offer bonuses against a set type (such as Disruption) are allowed. It cannot be any ability that grants the weapon the ability to move or act on its own, such as Dancing or Animated. The granted power must be able to apply to the attack (for instance, Disruption can be applied to bludgeoning attacks, such as a slam attack, but not a bite). Only one instance of this ability can be in effect at a time.

    If used during multimorph, she loses the benefits of this ability when in a form lacking the chosen natural weapon, but can shift back into an appropriate form to regain it. She may choose to use this ability again to impart a different natural weapon with an ability (the same or a new one), in which case the old natural weapon’s enhancement is dismissed.

    Morphic Weapons (Ex): A shifter with this ability can choose one of her natural attack types (claw, bite, etc.). This attack deals damage increased by one size category. For example, a shifter who used arcane shape to become a dire wolf (large animal) could grow its jaw and snout, enabling a bite attack that deals 2d6 points of damage (as a huge animal), not the normal 1d8. This ability can be used multiple times if it targets different natural attacks each time.

    If activated during multimorph, this ability is active as long as the chosen natural weapon type is available to her current form.

    Immunities (Ex): A shifter gains fine control over her body. At 7th level and every two levels afterwards (9th, 11th, 13th, 15th, 17th, and 19th), she gains immunity to one of the following types of harm:
    • Stunning
    • Poison
    • Paralysis
    • Diseases
    • Sleep effects
    • Immunity To Flanking (Improved uncanny dodge) (minimum level 13): treat shifter level as rogue level.
    • Critical Hits and sneak attack (minimum level 15)


    Fast Arcane shape: Starting at 9th level, a shifter can use her arcane shape ability (to change into a form or back out of it) as a move action rather than a standard action.
    At 18th level, she can Arcane shape as a swift action.

    A Thousand Faces (Ex): At 11th level, a shifter gains the ability to change her appearance at will, as though using disguise a self spell that affects her body but not her possessions. This is not an illusion but a physical alteration. She can change her hair, skin and texture, size (to a point), facial features, etc, within the limits described by the spell. She reverts to her other form when killed. This can be used in any form as a standard action. For instance, a goblin shifter could arcane shape into a human and use this ability to look like an elf, or use it in her natural form to look like a kobold.

    Multimorph: At 17th level, a Shifter gains multimorph. Multimorph enables a shifter to change multiple times during the duration of a single arcane shape. This means that at 17th level, a shifter could wake up, turn into an elf to go to an elven town, then change into a tiger to defend it- all while using up the same instance of the arcane shape ability. A morphic shift applied stays active throughout the duration. Changing forms still requires the appropriate action type (at 17th level, a move action).

    Every time a Shifter changes forms during a multimorph, she may decide whether to change into a form up to her hit die, or to change into a form with reduced hit die and gain its supernatural abilities, as is normal when arcane shaping.

    As changing form inside multimorph does not count as a new arcane shape, she does not regain hit points. For purposes of attacks and qualities with limited uses, morphing back to a previously used form counts as the same instantiation of creature as before.

    Evershifting Form: At 20th level, a shifter gains the shapechanger subtype if she does not already have it; she takes no further penalties for aging, although she can gain bonuses; and she is immune to all transmutation effects that she does not accept onto her person. She does not die unless killed.

    Epic Shifters
    An epic shifter is a sight to behold, although you can’t behold one for too long. The shifters able to make it to this level have a vast repertoire of forms, and the experience to know when to use each. Shifters this powerful are difficult to classify- most continue to adventure, while some become content with what power they possess and settle down in a community. The most evil become warlords, fierce tyrants that demand absolute loyalty and are able to back it up with unmatched espionage.

    Hit Die: D8.

    Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 4+ Int Modifier.

    Arcane Shape (Ex): A shifter’s maximum hit die, duration, and times per day continue to scale with her level, as normal.
    At 24th level, a Shifter can arcane shape into fine creatures; at 28th level, she can arcane shape into colossal creatures.

    Familiarity: A shifter may continue to take new forms (and swap some) every level, as normal. However, she must forgo the ability to learn more creature types, as she knows all of them.

    Morphic Shifting: A shifter’s morphic shifts per day and number of abilities continue to go up with her levels, as normal.

    Improved Arcane Shape: At levels higher than 20, a shifter no longer needs to take a reduction in her maximum hit die when using supernatural special qualities or special attacks. Her maximum hit die goes back up to her Shifter level/charisma bonus, even when using such abilities. She also gains a new template every level, as normal.

    At level 22, a shifter may gain all spell-like abilities of a creature she shifts into. This causes her maximum effective hit die to be reduced by the creature's challenge rating when using such abilities, like how supernatural abilities reduce hit die caps for non-epic shifters.

    At 25th level, a shifter may take advanced forms of the creatures she arcane shapes into, to the maximum HD indicated in the creature’s statistics block. Use the rules for advancing monsters in the Monster Manual.

    Weapon Enhancement: A shifter’s bonus with her natural weapons improves by +1 every fourth level past 20, to +6 at 24, +7 at 28, etc.

    Fast Arcane Shape: At 27th level, arcane shaping is a free action.

    Bonus Feats: A shifter may take a bonus feat every five levels.

    Epic Shifter Bonus Feat List: Armor Skin, Blinding Speed, Devastating Critical, Energy Resistance, Epic Endurance, Epic Fortitude, Epic Prowess, Epic Reflexes, Epic Reputation, Epic Speed, Epic Weapon Focus, Epic Will, Fast Healing, Great Charisma, Great Constitution, Overwhelming Critical, Penetrate Damage Reduction.

    Ex-Shifters
    A shifter who changes to a lawful alignment can no longer arcane shape or gain any new shifter levels until she changes back to an allowed alignment.

    Arcane Shape Vs. Wild Shape
    For purposes of prestige class prerequisites, feat prerequisites, and benefits, arcane shape counts as wild shape. If a character has both arcane shape and wild shape, she must choose which will be affected by the prestige class or feat. All abilities of any one prestige class must apply to only one of the abilities, decided at the time that the first such feature of such a prestige class is gained.

    However, most benefits gained by taking abilities improving wild shape will not stack with shifter class abilities.
    Last edited by bekeleven; 2013-12-22 at 08:39 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Aug 2013

    Default Re: Yet Another Shifter Base Class (3.5, PEACH)

    Shifter feats (not the race, the class)
    All shifter feats have arcane shape as a prerequisite.

    Empowered Arcane Shape [Shifter]
    You can get more out of your supernatural abilities than others.
    Benefit: When using improved arcane shape, you may treat all creatures’ challenge ratings as three less for the purposes of improved arcane shape. This cannot reduce a creature’s challenge rating to less than one.
    Special: You can take this feat multiple times. Its effects stack. Each time reduces the challenge rating of creatures by three additional levels, but never to less than one.

    Extra Familiarity [Shifter]
    You know how to shift into more creatures than another shifter would.
    Benefit: Choose three creatures which are within your size, hit die, and creature type limitations, but you are not already familiar with. You are now familiar with them.
    Alternatively, if at least level 16, choose one template which you are not familiar with. You gain familiarity with that template.
    Special: You can take this feat multiple times. Each time, you must choose different creatures or templates with which to be familiar.

    Familiar Modification [Shifter]
    You’ve grown used to applying a certain tweak when shifting.
    Prerequisite: Improved Arcane Shape: Templates
    Benefit: Choose a single template with which you are familiar. You may treat its level adjustment and challenge rating each as 4 less for the purposes of template shifting. Templates can never reduce the effective HD or CR of a creature.
    Special: You can take this feat multiple times. Each time, choose a different template with which you are familiar.

    Faster Arcane Shape [Shifter]
    You can shift faster than others of your level.
    Benefit: Treat your shifter level as nine levels higher for purposes of Fast Arcane Shape. This means that if arcane shape is normally a standard action, it is now a move action (gained at shifter level 9), if normally a move action it is now a swift action (gained at shifter level 18), and if normally a swift action, is now a free action (gained shifter level 27).

    Increased Arcane Shape [Shifter]
    You can arcane shape more often than normal.
    Benefit: You may arcane shape two additional times per day.
    Special: You can take this feat multiple times. Its effects stack.

    Longer Arcane Shaping [Shifter]
    You can arcane shape for longer than normal.
    Benefit: Your arcane shapes last three more hours than normal.
    Special: You can take this feat multiple times. Its effects stack.

    Morphic Prowess [Shifter]
    You can get more out of your shifts.
    Prerequisite: Morphic Shifting (gained Shifter level 6)
    Benefit: You learn one new morphic ability. You may now use morphic shifting one additional time per day.
    Special: You may take this feat multiple times. Its effects stack.

    Practiced Shaping [Shifter]
    You practice your shapeshifting regularly despite being occupied with other things.
    Benefit: Your Hit Die limits are up to 4 Hit Die greater for the purpose of choosing forms for arcane shape. This can never increase your Hit Die limits to higher than your character level. Every time you gain a new class level in a class other than shifter, you may use the normal shifter ability to swap one known form for another of the same type, within your Hit Die and size limits. This does not affect your size limits, access to types, or anything else normally associated with gaining shifter levels, besides what is stated here.
    Special: You may take this feat multiple times. Its increase in Hit Die limits stack, but not its ability to swap forms every level.
    Last edited by bekeleven; 2013-12-22 at 08:42 PM.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Aug 2013

    Default Re: Yet Another Shifter Base Class (3.5, PEACH)

    Meta Stuff

    Shifter Powers sheet - This is page 1. A further page would just have room for more forms. By 20th level, the normal shifter has 60 known! Example of use, complete with text that doesn't even remotely line up with the actual, you know... lines.

    Class as a word document - This should contain all of the same information as the posts above, but formatted to be slightly more pretty.

    Available forms sorted by Type, HD, and Size - This indicates the minimum level to get any given form. I covered Monster Manuals 1 through 3. Also viewable as a google doc.

    What tier is the shifter?

    When I was first designing this class, I was very conservative with the buffs that I gave over wild shape. Then I realized that shapeshange existed.

    The design philosophy of this class is that I can basically give as many natural armor bonuses, immunities to critical hits, damage and move speed buffs, etc. as I want, and as a class, it's significantly less powerful than a number of 9th level spells. Obviously, I didn't go too hog wild. Most of the powerful abilities are found in the warshaper (immunities, growing natural weapons, reach, multimorph etc.), Nature's Warrior (bonus damage, natural armor, damage reduction, etc.), or the plain jane master of many forms (creature types, shifter's speech, faster shaping, capstone transmutation immunity). Many of the abilities that I ported from these classes were toned down, especially those from the warshaper. The ones I made myself - granting movement modes, granting supernatural abilities - are all heavily limited. Unless taking empowered arcane shape for every feat slot (which through editing and playtests has gone from -1 to -2 to -3 CR), Supernatural abilities are basically locked out from every being useful in combat. Keep in mind that a level-appropriate challenge for level X means that a form has X CR and about 2X HD. So if using any supernatural abilities, you can only use forms useful to parties a third of your level, give or take.

    The shifter is a very versatile class, and some forms excel at combat or other tasks - You can fly from level 1 and even transport most party members a level before wizards can cast the spell. There are plenty of good grapplers, although you generally need the Grell or Darktentacles' incredible racial bonuses to even contend with the higher strength and size of random encounters, combined with your 3/4 BAB.

    A number of forms early on get fast healing as an extraordinary ability (such as the troll at level 6), meaning that out-of-combat healing is just 2 shifts away. Granted, early on that's a lot. Especially if you maximized your armor class by playing an adamantine-bodied warforged - reread the text on weapon and armor proficiency. If you need one earlier, I recommend the 2HD aquatic aberration ixitxachitl from MM2 - At level 4, with its 13 con, you can recover 65 HP before you begin to drown, and that should be enough. Or carry around a bucket.

    Because of the ability to largely shut down encounters with single, medium-size enemies, as well as fleshraker-level damage in early and midlevels, I'd call this class tier 3. It doesn't have a single ability comparable to full casting.


    Changelog
    03/09/13: Slightly depowered a few morphic shifts. Reduced template shifting LA Cap.
    02/09/13: Familiar Modification can be taken multiple times. Template shifting has a LA cap.
    23/08/13: New morphic ability (Morphic Material), 2 new feats (Practiced Shaping and Familiar Modification), a number of rules tweaks, mostly to template shifting. Also banned the the Ooze's split ability and similar abilities.
    1.5 - Reshuffled progression of improved arcane shape, tweaks.
    1,4 - Shuffled weapon enchancement. Major tweaks to morphic shifting.
    1.3 - Took away spells. Even 4 levels serves to dilute the class's focus. And maybe tone down the emphasis on nature?
    1.1 - Set types per level? What if I want to play a wyrmling dragon?
    1.0 - Class created
    Last edited by bekeleven; 2013-09-03 at 10:23 PM.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    PirateGuy

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    Default Re: Shifter Base Class (3.5, PEACH)

    This would be an absolute beast of a gestalt class, which is by no means a bad thing. Just an observation. I like it overall and would greatly like to play a Shifter (race) Shifter (Class) so that I can shift while shifted.

    Any reason you chose polymorph and not wildshape to base the shifting off?

    Also this class is super SAD, what with con only sort of mattering. It should be noted that the feral template will be amazing on any creature that is meant to be attacking and can have it. Unfortunately until level 16 the only one she can take is a Feral Minotaur.

    I like this. 4/5 Tiger elves.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Shifter Base Class (3.5, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mangles View Post
    Any reason you chose polymorph and not wildshape to base the shifting off?
    The quote about it acting like polymorph is the quote my PHB uses to describe wild shape. I linked the official wild shape rules there as an attempt to make it clear, but I may have been too clever for my own good.

    Just to be clear: At level 1, this acts exactly like wildshape (besides HD and form familiarity). Then "improved wildshape" kicks in every couple levels and it starts diverging.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mangles View Post
    Also this class is super SAD, what with con only sort of mattering. It should be noted that the feral template will be amazing on any creature that is meant to be attacking and can have it. Unfortunately until level 16 the only one she can take is a Feral Minotaur.

    I like this. 4/5 Tiger elves.
    Fun fact: until 1.3, Improved Arcane Shape included the line "However, the feral template counts as +6 LA for this purpose" because I was so scared of feral. Eventually I dropped it as paranoia. That was, um... around 2007. I've had this class on the backburner for a while.

    That said, feral's wording looks a bit ambiguous to me when used with template shifting (I honestly haven't looked in a while). The special attacks given by the template explicitly scale off of "Hit Dice", which it clarifies in the next sentence to be "monster Hit Dice". The special qualities, such as fast healing, scale instead from "Hit Dice". So until my silly epic levels I'm not 100% sure a shifter could make full use of it.

    As a side note, when I figure on combat froms for this class, I notice a lull in power between about 10-15. This isn't a huge deal, but it bugs me a bit that the levels I usually think of as the sweet tier3 spot end up weak. It's because for the first 10 levels the player is taking animals, monstrous humanoids, and maybe some aberrations with cool extraordinary abilities. Eventually you get to the point where every enemy in your CR bracket either has double your HD or is an outsider with tons of SU and SP abilities. Then you sort of have to let morphic shifting buffs tide you over for a bit until templates kick in and you get to, as you said, go feral.

    With regards to SAD: I view Con as the most imporatant stat for a shifter, as a frontline battle class that finds it very hard (with WBL) to wear any sort of protective items until mid-high levels. However, I think Int, Wis and Cha are useful for most skills the Shifter needs, and I did work Cha in a bit with HD limits and a few morphic shifts. I should note that originally all of the charisma-based abilities either didn't exist (like the HD cap) or were based off of con. You want to see SAD, check out the earlier drafts...

    I suppose I could make Morphic Aggression scale with Cha bonus as well. Others scaling with it would almost strictly increase their power (Morphic Reach as 5ft/Cha+, Morphic Movement gaining speed boosts based on Cha, etc.) I could also work charisma into form familiarity limits in some convoluted way and turn your form into gaining points every level from Cha bonus, like skill points from int, but I'd really prefer to keep that constant at 3/level. In Shifter 1.0, I gave familiarity to 2 forms per known type per level. Then I tried to make a level 20 character...

    Oh well. I fear a shifter with 18 CON and 18 CHA far less than a beguiler with 18 INT.

    Thanks for the feedback! If you have any suggestions on increasing the MADdiness let me know.

    EDIT: My character in my current campaign just hit level 6. Looking over forms, I see that Snowflake Ooze is a valid lv6 pick, and it has Split as an (Ex) ability.

    I'm not sure I should make a specific rule outlawing similar abilities, or it's funny enough to leave to the GM...

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    Default Re: Shifter Base Class (3.5, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Official Wild Shape Rules
    You retain:
    • your own alignment and your HD with everything related to your HD: number of racial HD, LA, class and PrC levels, base attack bonus, skill ranks, base saves and all class and PrC abilities. DCs from extraordinary abilities are based on your HD, not the creatures.
    • your own hit points, but modified by healing (see above)
    • your own mind, including your own Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores
    • all extraordinary qualities of your original form, but no extraordinary attacks
    • all supernatural abilities of your original form except for breath weapons and gaze attacks
    (source)

    So, I just realized something hilarious with regards to template shifting.

    Most low-LA templates are designed to mechanically beef up a few parts of a creature (stats, Spell-likes, etc.) and assume that the player/monster will eat the HD loss as a trade.

    Not so with the Shifter using template shifting.

    Now, assume that a level 16 Shifter is turning into one of the more powerful monsters of that level. Such as a Mountain Troll from MM3. Assuming no equipment or morphic shifting was used, This gives the shifter:
    • 30 Ft. Speed
    • 2 Claws and a bite. Attack is at +12 (BAB) +12 (35 STR) +4 (Weapon Enhancement) - 2 (Size) = +26 for the claws (Although it can be power attacked at leisure). +21 for the bite.
    • Damage for the claws is 1D8+16, and damage for the bite is 1D8+10.
    • AC of 22. Touch AC 9.
    • +32 Grapple.
    • Knockdown - Free, 1-way trip on every hit with claw.
    • DV90, Fast healing 9, LLV, Scent, resistance to bull rushing and tripping.
    • Fort save of +20, Reflex save of +6. Will save unchanged from the shifting.
    • In mountains, 1+Ranks in hide.

    Seems pretty solid, right? Then you add power attack, morphic shifting, and some equipment and you're really cooking with gas.

    Now, let's talk about high-LA templates.

    High-LA templates know that they won't be used by people with appropriate HP. And once you get to super high levels, templates need serious ways to make up difference in HP, Attack, Damage, Saves, and skills. Template shifting, like all shifting, gains nothing from increases in HP of its forms. Conversely, it loses nothing from low HP, BAB, and base saves.

    So instead of a war troll, let's take the Paragon template from the Epic Level Handbook. This template is normally balanced by lacking 15 HD worth of HP, BAB, Saves, Skill Points, Ability Increases, Feats, etc. It's not epic itself, so despite the +15 Level Adjustment, it can be used no problem, so long as our 16-class-leveled protagonist only uses a 1 HD creature.

    Instead of playing a Mountain Troll, let's play a human with 1 HD in humanoid. And let's make him a paragon. What are the stats of a level 1 human paragon... when he's backed with the BAB, skills and Saves of a level 16 shifter?

    • 90 Ft. Speed.
    • Assuming he has the lowest weapon possible of dealing lethal damage - a gauntlet, to make his natural attacks lethal, but negate his natural weapon enhancement - he has an attack of +12 (BAB) +7 (Str) +25 (Luck) = +44 before power attack. Damage is 1D3+7 (STR) + 25 (Luck) = 1D3+33 before power attack. Has two more iterative attacks, at +39 and +34 (same damage). Normal paragon creatures are feat-starved, but a shifter has long ago taken power attack, of course.
    • AC of 46 (+12 Deflect, +12 Luck, +5 NA, +7 DEX). Touch AC 41.
    • Grapple of +7 (STR) + 12 BAB) = +19.
    • No special attacks worth noting (can't gain the spell-likes).
    • DR 10/Epic, Fast Healing 20, Fire and Cold Reist 10, SR 41.
    • Fort Save +27, Reflex Save +22. Will gains +10 from previous.
    • All skills get +10 competence bonuses and all physical stats are at +7.
    • In addition to the bonus feat for being human, a paragon creature gains another bonus feat. At their least abusive, let's call these weapon focus and greater weapon focus (spiked gauntlet) for an additional +2 to attacks.

    And that's before equipment. Which is going to be easier to equip, a mountain troll or a human?

    So My mantra has been "Wizards cast gate, you can't break things more if you tried," but this is still edging a bit high power for my tastes. Any ideas on how to nerf things like this while keeping the flavor and mechanical spice gained from templates? Or is it not as bad as I think?

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    PirateGuy

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    Default Re: Shifter Base Class (3.5, PEACH)

    You can only take templates equal to 1/5 your HD in The Shifter class.

    They will still be strong but only +4 by 20. Given LA buyoff allows you to have +3 LA and be level 19 still while everyone else is 20, I don't think its a big deal.

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    Default Re: Shifter Base Class (3.5, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mangles View Post
    You can only take templates equal to 1/5 your HD in The Shifter class.

    They will still be strong but only +4 by 20. Given LA buyoff allows you to have +3 LA and be level 19 still while everyone else is 20, I don't think its a big deal.
    Good thoughts. I ended up being a little more permissive than you, and capping it at 1/3 Class level.

    In theory, a Shifter can use Familiar Modification to take a bunch of LA+4 Templates for free, but if they spend feats on LA+4 templates, I'll allow it. The templates with +10 or higher are still only grabbable starting Level 18, with no other templates applied, with no Su abilities, and after a feat is spent. Seems OK with me.

    The reason that I went with 1/3 instead of 1/5th is because part of my vision for this class included things like taking the Ghost template and playing a Ghost of every race you have. Granted, most of your forms are either combat bruisers, U-Hauls or disguises, so turning ghost will pretty much make them useless/useless/useful for practical jokes, but doesn't it sound fun as hell?

    Anyway, Ghost is +5, so a shifter will be able to use it when they get template shifting.

    Edit: Moved it to 1/4th. Ghost is grabbable at 20. Somewhat more of a nerf.

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