A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground

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    Jan 2014

    Default Wildmaster (3.5 Wildshaping Druid variant)

    Have you ever wanted to play a Wildshaper, pure and simple? Ever wanted to trade those pesky spells for neat tricks? *Drum roll* Presenting the Wildmaster!

    This variant druid is a combination of the vanilla Druid, the Master of Many Forms, and the Expanded Master of Many Forms by an unknown author (not that I could find), found here: http://webcache.googleusercontent.co...ound:momf_epic

    Making a Wildmaster
    The Wildmaster is a consumate master of shapechanging. She is just as comfortable being a bear as she is being a bugbear. Even gender is fluid for a true wildmaster, who trades skins as another might trade clothes. The lower level Wildmaster makes for a decent tank and physical damage dealer. At higher levels, she can keep up decently with casters, manifesting her current skin's spell like abilities. At all levels, a social wildmaster is excels at melding into any setting, behaving as the festive halfling, or the unnoticed horse.

    A Wildmaster benefits from a high wisdom score, with wisdom determining the time she spends in her borrowed skin. At low levels, with a low amount of time for wildshaping, and no spells, high physical scores are important. Having a high Constitution score is, as with all classes, important as it determines your hit points.

    The Druidic tradition rarely has a foothold in the city, making Wildmasters rare among "civilized" races. However, the rare urbam Wildmaster is a force to be reckoned with, as he can be any creature there.

    Because Wildmasters are druids, "savage" races have the largest concentration. Of note, the Killoren and the Shifters produce the most Wildmasters, closely followed by Changelings in barbarian tribes.

    As Druids, Wildmasters are the embodiment of nature, and as such, must have one neutral component to their alignment.

    Spoiler: Personal Note on Alignment
    Okay. As a rule, I HAAAAAATE alignment restrictions. That being said, where they make sense, I try to enforce them to some extent (i.e. Paladins MUST be of extreme alignment, or true neutral in the balance sense), and for Druids, I understand it.

    The Wildmaster
    Level BAB Fort Ref Will Class Features
    1st 0 2 0 2 Animal Companion, Nature Sense, Wild Empathy
    2nd 1 3 0 3 Wildshaping (1/day; Standard Action; Supernatural ability; Animal; Small, Medium Large)
    3rd 2 3 1 3 Wildshaping (Humanoid), Woodland Stride
    4th 3 4 1 4 Wildshaping (2/day; Giant), Trackless Step
    5th 3 4 1 4 Wildshaping (Move Action; Monstrous Humanoid)
    6th 4 5 2 5 Wildshaping (3/day; Fey; Tiny; Wild Speech)
    7th 5 5 2 5 Wildshaping (Vermin) Resist Nature’s Lure
    8th 6/1 6 2 6 Wildshaping (4/day; Aberration; Huge)
    9th 6/1 6 3 6 Wildshaping (Plant; Extraordinary abilities), Disease Immunity
    10th 7/2 7 3 7 Wildshaping (5/day; Ooze; Diminuitive), Transitionless Transformation
    11th 8/3 7 3 7 Wildshaping (Elemental)
    12th 9/4 8 4 8 Wildshaping (6/day; Dragon; Gargantuan), Venom Immunity
    13th 9/4 8 4 8 Wildshaping (Magical Beast)
    14th 10/5 9 4 9 Wildshaping (7/day; Fine)
    15th 11/6/1 9 5 9 Wildshaping (Outsider; Supernatural Abilities), Magical Disease Immunity
    16th 12/7/2 10 5 10 Wildshaping (8/day; Swift action 1/day), Evershifting Form
    17th 12/7/2 10 5 10 Wildshaping (Extraordinary Ability; Colossal)
    18th 13/8/3 11 6 11 Wildshaping (Undead)
    19th 14/9/4 11 6 11 Wildshaping (Swarm)
    20th 15/10/5 12 6 12 True Form
    Lawful Neutral, Chaotic Neutral, True Neutral, Neutral Good, Neutral Evil

    Hit Die

    Class Skills
    The Wildmaster's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Knowledge (nature) (Int), Listen (Wis), Profession (Wis), Ride(Dex), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), and Swim (Str).

    Skill Points at 1st Level
    (4 + Int modifier) ×4.

    Skill Points at Each Additional Level
    4 + Int modifier.

    Weapon and Armor Proficiencies
    A Wildmaster is proficient with the following weapons: Dagger, Sickle, Club, Quarterstaff, Spear, Throwing Axe, Scimitar, Trident, Maquahuitl (MM4), Greatclub, Scythe, Battle scythe(http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/Battle_....5e_Equipment)), Handaxe, Japute (DR352), Nekode (Und), Ice Axe (Frost), Iuak (Frost), Tigerskull Club (Frost), Whip, Goad (Frost), Longstaff, Dart, Javelin, Sling, Atlatl, Blowgun, Greater Blowgun, Repeating Blowgun, Bola, Barbed Bola, Bonebow, Boomerang, Hunting Boomerang, Lasso, Net, and War Sling. This is an expanded list. The game’s DM may choose to expand upon this, or disallow certain items.

    Wildmasters are proficient with Light and Medium armor but are prohibited from wearing metal armor; thus, they may wear only padded, leather, or hide armor. (A Wildmaster may also wear wooden armor that has been altered by the ironwood spell so that it functions as though it were steel. See the ironwood spell description) Wildmasters are proficient with shields (except tower shields) but must use only wooden ones.

    A Wildmaster who wears prohibited armor or carries a prohibited shield is unable use her Wildshape class ability while doing so and for 24 hours thereafter.

    Bonus Languages
    A Wildmaster’s bonus language options include Sylvan, the language of woodland creatures. This choice is in addition to the bonus languages available to the character because of her race.

    A Wildmaster also knows Druidic, a secret language known only to Druids (and their various sects), which she learns upon becoming a 1st-level Wildmaster. Druidic is a free language for a Wildmaster; that is, she knows it in addition to her regular allotment of languages and it doesn’t take up a language slot. Wildmasters are forbidden to teach this language to nondruids.

    Druidic has its own alphabet.

    Wildshaping (Su or Ex)
    At 2nd level, a Wildmaster gains the ability to turn herself into any Small, Medium or Large animal and back again once per day. Her options for new forms include all creatures with the animal type. This ability functions like the alternate form special ability, except as noted here. The effect lasts for a number of hours equal to 1/2 her Wildmaster level, plus her Wisdom modifier, or until she changes back. Changing form (to animal or back) is a standard action and doesn’t provoke an attack of opportunity. Each time you use wildshape, you regain lost hit points as if you had rested for a night. When Wildshaped, a Wildmaster uses her own Hitpoint total, not the chosen form's. For all other intents and purposes, her Constitution score is the form's. A Wildmaster may not Wildshape from one form to another without returning to her base form.
    Any gear worn or carried by the Wildmaster melds into the new form and becomes nonfunctional. When the
    Wildmaster reverts to her true form, any objects previously melded into the new form reappear in the same location on her body that they previously occupied and are once again functional. Any new items worn in the assumed form fall off and land at the Wildmaster's feet.

    The form chosen must be that of an animal the Wildmaster is familiar with.

    The Maximum HD of a form the Wildmaster can Wildshape is equal to her Wildmaster class level.

    At 3rd level, a Wildmaster gains the ability to wildshape into a Humanoid.

    At 4th level, a Wildmaster gains the ability to wildshape into a Giant.

    At 5th level, a Wildmaster may use her wildshaping ability as a move actions, rather than a standard action

    At 5th level, a Wildmaster gains the ability to wildshape into a Monstrous Humanoid

    At 6th level, a Wildmaster gains the ability to wildshape into a Fey, and/or a Tiny creature

    Wildspeech (Su or Ex)
    At 6th level a Wildmaster maintains her ability to speak normally (including verbal components of spells) regardless of the form she takes. Furthermore, she can communicate with other creatures of the same kind while in wild shape, as long as such creatures are normally capable of communicating with each other using natural methods.

    At 7th level, a Wildmaster gains the ability to wildshape into a vermin

    At 8th level, a Wildmaster gains the ability to wildshape into an aberration and/or a Huge creature

    At 9th level, a Wildmaster gains the ability to wildshape into a plant

    At 9th level, a Wildmaster gains all Extraordinary abilities and qualities of the form she takes.

    At 10th level, a Wildmaster gains the ability to wildshape into an ooze and/or a Diminuitive creature

    At 11th level, a Wildmaster gains the ability to wildshape into an elemental.

    At 12th level, a Wildmaster gains the ability to wildshape into a dragon and/or a gargantuan creature

    At 13th level, a Wildmaster gains the ability to wildshape into a magical beast

    At 14th level, a Wildmaster gains the ability to wildshape into a Fine sized creature

    At 15th level, a Wildmaster gains all Supernatural abilities and attacks of the form she is in. No Supernatural ability can, when cast by a wizard of appropriate level, require an XP component.

    At 15th level, a Wildmaster gains the ability to wildshape into an outsider

    At 16th level, a Wildmaster, gains the ability to wildshape as a swift actions, once per day

    At 17th level, a Wildmaster’s wildshape becomes an Extraordinary ability

    At 17th level, a Wildmaster gains the ability to wildshape into a Colossal sized creature

    At 18th level, a Wildmaster gains the ability to wildshape into an undead (This includes Zombies and Skeletons, and any other templated undead the DM deems fit. This is an exception to the rule that wildshapes cannot be templated)

    At 19th level, a Wildmaster gains the ability to wildshape into a creature with the swarm subtype

    Woodland Stride (Ex)
    At 3rd level, a Wildmaster may move through any sort of undergrowth (such as natural thorns, briars, overgrown areas, and similar terrain) at her normal speed and without taking damage or suffering any other impairment. However, thorns, briars, and overgrown areas that have been magically manipulated to impede motion still affect her.

    Trackless Step (Ex)
    At 4th level, a Wildmaster leaves no trail in natural surroundings and cannot be tracked. She may choose to leave a trail if so desired.

    Resist Nature’s Lure (Ex)
    At 7th level, a Wildmaster gains a +4 bonus on saving throws against the spell-like abilities of fey.

    Disease Immunity (Ex)
    At 9th level, a Wildmaster is immune to all mundane diseases

    Transitionless Transformation (Su or Ex)
    At 10th level, a Wildmaster may transform from one shape to another, without reverting to her original form

    Venom Immunity (Ex)
    At 12th level, a Wildmaster gains immunity to all poisons.

    Magical Disease Immunity (Ex)
    At 15th level, a Wildmaster becomes immune to all diseases, Magical or Mundane
    Lycanthropy is the exception. When a Wildmaster is in danger of becoming a lycanthrope, she may choose to accept it. She is treated as a natural lycanthrope for the purpose of transformation, but is an afflicted lycanthrope for all other purposes

    Evershifting Form (Ex)
    A 16th level Wildmaster has exceeded the transformation abilities of all but the most powerful wizards. She gains the shapechanger subtype and becomes immune to any transmutation effect unless she is willing to accept it.
    In addition, she no longer takes ability penalties for aging and is not subject to magical aging, though any aging penalties she already may have taken remain in place. Bonuses still accrue, and a wildmaster still dies of old age when her time is up.

    True Form (Ex)
    At 20th level, a Wildmaster does not have a single distinct true form (as can be seen with the True Seeing spell and other true sight effects). Instead his or her currently chosen form is her true form, and True seeing and similar effects cannot distinguish her from the original species.
    Additionally, any form the Wildmaster takes is permanent until reverted. However, reverting to the Wildmaster’s original form counts as a daily use of the Wildmaster’s wildshaping ability.

    All abilities labeled (Su or Ex) begin as supernatural abilities, but become extraordinary at 17th level

    Spoiler: Notes to Bekeleven
    • Fixed Transitionless Transformation
    • Hopefully addressed the Universe breaking (Su) abilities
    • Made the language stating the (Ex) abilities gained included qualities (Changed the RAI to RAW)
    • There is a requirement on form familiarity. (Though just a band-aid
    • Addressed the Undead Wildshape problem
    • The (Su or Ex) abilities become Ex at level 17, when Wildshaping becomes an Extraordinary ability. The title for Wildshaping was changed to reflect this.
    • The "Why does the Wildmaster know Druidic?" problem was addressed (but only by implying that Wildmaster is a sect of Druidism... I may include fluff later to better explain this)
    • The weapon proficiencies were rather rushed. As I said, the DM can allow or disallow, based on the flavor of Druids (and by extension Wildmasters) in their game.
    • Disease Immunity already applied immunity to mundane disease. I did not feel the need to restate this.
    • Reworded the True Form ability.
    • Updated material is underlined, for your viewing pleasure.
    • Also, if you could help with tables, I would likely love you forever.
    Last edited by Marigu.goke00; 2014-12-26 at 07:36 AM. Reason: FLUFFFFF!

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
    bekeleven's Avatar

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    Aug 2013

    Default Re: Wildmaster (3.5 Wildshaping Druid variant)

    Well, shockingly, I'm going to compare this class to my Shifter, which has roughly the same design goals.

    Fluff: I divorced my Shifter from the druid, removing things like Wild Empathy in my 1.3 patch. You, obviously, decide to keep them, even keeping druidic, which is odd since your description includes the line "a secret language known only to Druids."

    My fluff is roughly "I am a shapechanger, and what I change into is my business," giving a freely chosen creature type starting at level 2. Yours appears to stick to Animal, then the MoMF types (roughly?) in order, then the remaining ones like Magical Beast and Undead. And swarm at the end, which as a side note, should be mentioned as restricted before that point.

    Primary Usability: I first posted my Shifter on the Wizards forums in, I think, 2008 (the thread is 404'd). Literally the first comment I got was: "Changing shapes is supposed to be this class's primary ability. Is one hour per day at fist level really enough?" My response was to allow a shifter to use arcane shape a minimum number of times per day equal to her charisma bonus. And by second level I gave the class Shifter's Speech, so that the primary class ability wouldn't be a detriment to the class - Remember that the Boumman's vow of silence is supposed to be a minus, not a plus.

    Your class at first level hides behind a riding dog, which advances so slowly that I suspect it was included only for first level balancing reasons. Your class can wild shape for 2 hours at 2nd level, then 3, then 8, etc. But this number is somewhat inflated because until 6th level, the wildmaster must dismiss her wild shape to speak with anybody, including to tell them what she saw during her scouting.

    Your class can't even turn into a small snake at first level. This is equivalent to a wizard who can't even cast a cantrip at first level. Are small snakes, eagles, and baboons that unbalancing?

    Balance (Highs, Lows, and General): The primary use a Druid has of wild shape is to be a melee powerhouse. Punch people, while the other druid class abilities do the rest of the work (primarily spells).

    A Wild Shape Ranger going into MoMF is tier 3, despite getting practically no CR-appropriate spells and worse wild shaping than the druid.

    I aimed between these two extremes. I wanted something that was able to be a better melee powerhouse than a wild shape ranger, but a worse all-around versatile character than the druid. I aimed for being effective in its chosen role (melee combat) and having broad application (disguise, scouting, transport, and other utility).

    Now, before I continue, I should mention that both of these SRD classes (Druid and WS Ranger) and both of our homebrews share the same basic mechanics of use alternate form on a creature whose stat block is in a book somewhere. This carries some baggage. Actually, a lot of baggage. It means the class can perform its primary role without devoting any real ability points to it. It expands in power as books are published. It rewards system mastery. It allows access to 4% of forms that are far and away better than 95%, and the final 1% which are out and out broken when applied to a player character.

    So, how did I meet these goals?

    • Not NAD: I tied many class powers to charisma, including max HD, transforms per day, and multiple morphic shifts, although it's still a bit weak. The class needs charisma maybe as much as a Favored Soul before skills are taken into account. I probably could have done more.
    • Melee Brute: Morphic Shifting allows some utility powers, as well as DR, magically enhanced natura weapons, natural weapons with WSA or other material types, natural armor, bonus damage, bonus health...
    • Utility: The aforementioned morphic shifting grants sustenance and alternate movement modes. Improved Arcane Shape grants Ex SQ, for things like skill bonuses, spoken languages, DR, and a host of other utility things. 4+ Int with a good skill list makes sure disguise and scouting aren't thrown by the wayside.
    • I wrote a number of rules and specific exceptions to counter some of the more abusive uses of Alternate Form. I disallowed Split from oozes, I clarified and limited Animated Object shape, and I gave the class a limited number of forms, all of which were to be run past a DM when leveling.
    • I gave supernatural abilities, but heavily restricted the forms that could benefit. Unless the shifter spent half her feats on it, she could only gain supernatural SAs of creature half her level, and not Su SQs until level 19 when the game's power curve has twisted off into space. Again, the forms have to be run past the DM on level-up. A Shifter can't Arcane Shape into a Sarrukh and use Manipulate Form until level 35.
    • If the DM doesn't see something, the player can still sneak in some game breakers. Myconid Sovereign (Plant), Dusk Giant (Giant), Ushemoi Arkamoi (Monstrious Humanoid), or some others can lead to a game breaking in half. Others, such as the Crystalline Troll, Darktentacles, Octopus Tree, or Rukanyr are extremely powerful and dominate a fight, but don't really overreach the class's role. All in all, I consider the Shifter Tier 2 in the hands of a experienced player, but tier 3 given a standard player or a diligent DM.

    How does your class address these issues?
    • NAD: Your class can run with all 6s with no apparent issues. I don't think a single thing in the class requires any ability score. It's not even designed as a skill monkey, given the list.
    • Melee Brute: As powerful as a WS ranger, minus full BAB.
    • Utility: Forms granted are less limited than mine. However, you don't grant Ex SQ at any point. That means no darkvision, scent, racial skill bonuses, or bonus feats. The class doesn't get bluff or disguise as class skills, removing that niche.
    • Addressed Abuses: None, and no limits on form familiarity, which is a hacky bandaid at best, but it can cover the problem up. Constructs are never granted, which removes two of 20 or 30 ways to get free 9th level spells.
    • Supernatural Abilities are inexplicably granted with no fanfare at level 15, granting the class infinite XP-free wishes and gates. And manipulate form.
    • The class basically jumps from a tier 3 about as powerful as a WS ranger/MoMF at level 14, to breaking the universe in half at level 15. I'm not going to say it's a worse issue than conjunctive gate or healer spell progression, but it's kind of a left field power explosion.

    All in all, the class doesn't provide anything that a Druid/MoMF can do power-wise except for break the game harder with Su abilities and be worse otherwise. It's a topheavy class with a practically unplayable balance curve, or if balanced, a class that's not mechanically or balance-wise distinct from published classes. Its unique powers are Undead Wild Shape, which is terrible since nearly all undead use templates, and Outsider Wild Shape, which does nothing except for allow access to more spells as supernatural abilities. One problem, in my opinion, is that you didn't include any powers that weren't pasted from the druid or MoMF except for a handful of general boosts that got out of hand.

    I recommend taking a step back, figuring out what you want this class to be able to do, determine a balance point, work out its build at multiple levels, and overall: give reasons why someone should take this class over Druid or WS ranger.

    Of course, I'm just one guy. I can give you a ton of balance feedback because I've been over the monster manuals more times than is healthy and wrote up a few indexes for myself, but things like flavor and intended role are all up to you.

    Misc Notes:
    • Transitionless Transformation is assumed in the original ability description. If you can't wild shape while wild shaped, I'd specify it before then. Normally class abilities don't prevent the use of class abilities when in effect.
    • Only two abilities are labeled as (Su or Ex) and neither will work in an AMF, since they both require the (Su) Wild Shape running. So that rules change doesn't do anything. In an AMF, the Wildmaster just becomes some lady wearing leaves in her hair with all 6s in her abilities.
    • The proficiencies and bonus languages don't really say anything to me about this class's fluff and flavor. Why is a dagger more wildmastery than a longspear?
    • "Magical Disease Immunity" provides immunity to mundane diseases too. And it's a Mundane (Ex) power.
    • "Additionally, any for the Wildmaster takes lasts for 24 hours/day." Reword this.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ogre in the Playground
    bekeleven's Avatar

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    Aug 2013

    Default Re: Wildmaster (3.5 Wildshaping Druid variant)

    It looks like I missed your class granting Ex abilities, which is my bad.

    Tying something to wisdom is a good move. Even warlocks ostensibly have a need for one or two stats. I might recommend you see if you can fit more ability hook elsewhere but it's true your class mechanics are rather minimalist.

    The Undead bandaid is rather similar to the one I used, actually. My approach was to included the language: "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)." The biggest difference is that mine let in other templates, like Feral Minotaur, or Half-Fey Centaur, or what have you.

    The (Su) abilities spot still gives a massive boost, but it's no longer free wishes and gates. For an example of the power it gives, consider that it still grants access to, say, beholder eye beams (including the alternate beholders in Lords of Madness). Or Kython Slaughterking (BoVD), Living Spells (MM3, and they are hilarious), Madcrafter of Thane (MM5, even more hilarious. My notes just say "Spit baby robots at enemies to melt them"), Sunwyrm (FF, Incorporeal and Brilliant Energy attacks at will on dragon chassis), and that's without the real broken powers: Various Dopplegangers like Ethereal Doppleganger, Myconid Sovereign, Sarrukh... And then there's the rare broken form with (Ex), such as the Shaedling, Dire Tortoise, or Ushemoi. The good news is that the list of "broken" forms is small enough that you could probably list them all yourself if you wanted, although where you decide to cut it off is somewhat arbitrary. I generally allow massive melee power because barring that becomes a really slippery slope, so have fun with your dozen huge greatswords or whatever. I opted not to make a list because it feels cheap to me for various reasons.

    My main objection is still the lack of wild shape at first level, which if you need precedent, is granted by Totem Druid from Dragon Magazine. I both think that this class suffers at first level due to it, and I really don't enjoy when classes fundamentally change how they're played midway through. Someone made a class where as you leveled you added charisma to more and more things, and all I saw was a midgame experience shift where you either invest a bunch in abilities you'll discard, or it's a crapshoot whether you survive until you get your real class power. And that was a class that I otherwise really liked, but the experience shift kills it for me every time.

    In this case, it's super easy to get rid of. All you have to do is move wild shaping one level. Seriously, consider it. You can say they don't gain fly level 1 if that's your issue.


    Below is the start of a basic grid. I didn't fill the whole thing in, and I didn't use any bells and whistles, but it should be pretty clear how it works.
    Level BAB Fort Ref Will Class Features
    1st 0 2 0 2 Animal Companion, Nature Sense, Wild Empathy
    2nd 1 3 0 3 Wildshaping (1/day; Standard Action; Supernatural ability; Animal; Small, Medium Large)
    3rd 2 3 1 3 (2/day; Giant), Trackless Step

    A few misc notes: "Druid's class skills", War Scythe(1), theironwood, "unable to cast wildmaster spells," Dysfunction between items melding and True Form.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Pixie in the Playground

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    Jan 2014

    Default Re: Wildmaster (3.5 Wildshaping Druid variant)

    The MAIN reason for not having Wildshaping at first level is superbly lame; I generated this for a game I am currently in the middle of, and I wanted to change the first level of druid as minimally as possible.

    My other question is would I maybe want to shift the order of some of the form aquisition?
    Last edited by Marigu.goke00; 2014-07-08 at 03:34 AM.

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