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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Daemon

    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    The Frozen North
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    Male

    Default The Skinchanger (3.5 modified ranger variant)

    So there's a game that a friend is going to be running, and it's a pretty grim setting. Low magic (arcane magic works in chaotic and sometimes malevolent ways , divine magic is incredibly rare - we're talking that one PC will be the only cleric seen in decades) and low magic items, there's a massive desert slowly swallowing most of the main continent, and the central city is built in a giant rift with possibly Pure Evil miles below at the bottom. The "Druids" of this city are debased and corrupted, having lost much of their connection to nature; instead their magic has focused solely on consuming the life and power of animals, and stealing their forms and abilities. So I've come up with this as a class for these creepy fellows. I started with the Wildshape Ranger from the UA, then swapped the wildshape and the animal companion for the Shapeshift variant from PHB II, then tweaked from there.

    Saves Spells Per Day
    Level BAB Fort Ref Will Special 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
    1st +1 +2 +2 +0 Assert Dominance, Favoured enemy (1st), Shapeshift (Songbird and Predator form), Track
    2nd +2 +3 +3 +0 Bring down the Prey
    3rd +3 +3 +3 +1 Animal senses
    4th +4 +4 +4 +1 Spells, Pack mentality 0
    5th +5 +4 +4 +1 Favoured enemy (2nd), Shapeshift form (Avian) 0
    6th +6/+1 +5 +5 +2 Flesh is clay 1
    7th +7/+2 +5 +5 +2 Animal senses, Guardian Bond 1
    8th +8/+3 +6 +6 +2 Shapeshift (Ferocious Predator), Swift Tracker 1 0
    9th +9/+4 +6 +6 +3 Evasion 1 0
    10th +10/+5 +7 +7 +3 Favored enemy (3rd) 1 1
    11th +11/+6/+1 +7 +7 +3 Feral Pounce 1 1 0
    12th +12/+7/+2 +8 +8 +4 Shapeshift (Chimeric Monstrosity) 1 1 1
    13th +13/+8/+3 +8 +8 +4 Camouflage 1 1 1
    14th +14/+9/+4 +9 +9 +4 Mark of the Beast 2 1 1 0
    15th +15/+10/+5 +9 +9 +5 Favored enemy (4th) 2 1 1 1
    16th +16/+11/+6/+1 +10 +10 +5 Shapeshift (Chimeric Abomination) 2 2 1 1
    17th +17/+12/+7/+2 +10 +10 +5 Hide in plain sight 2 2 2 1
    18th +18/+13/+8/+4 +11 +11 +6 Heart of Darkness 3 2 2 1
    19th +19/+14/+9/+4 +11 +11 +6 Uninhibited change 3 3 3 2
    20th +20/+15/+10/+5 +12 +12 +6 Favored enemy (5th) 4 4 4 4

    Assert Dominance:As Wild Empathy, but instead it is an Intimidate check rather than a Diplomacy check, as the Skinchanger browbeats the animal into submission. The skinchanger may add their skinchanger level and their strength modifier to this check

    Favored enemy:As the Ranger class feature. The Skinchangers often choose humans and animals as their prey *I'm thinking of changing the name to bestial instincts or Favored prey*

    Shapeshift Through dark rituals and powerful blood magic, A Na’Saad Skinchanger can take the forms of animals. The Skinchanger must consume the heart of an animal they wish to take the shape of within one round of its death (this is mainly for the appearance of the creature, the stats stay the same)
    You can shapeshift at will, and it takes a swift action. You may stay in any given form for any length of time, and shift directly from one form to another. Your equipment melds into your form, becoming non-functional (Except if you have a magical item in your throat slot. This shifts in size to match your new form and becomes a discoloration or birthmark on your form).. Your Hit dice, base stats, base attack bonus, saves, and skills remain the same (though different forms have stat boosts). You are incapable of speech while in animal form, and you cannot cast spells while shifted unless you have the Natural Spell feat. If you gain natural weapons while shifted, you gain an enhancement bonus on attack and damage rolls equal to ¼ your Skinchanger level, and after 4th level, they count as magic in regards to damage reduction. While shifted, you may add your Wisdom bonus to your AC as a misc bonus; this applies even when you are flat-footed or paralyzed, but not when you are unconscious.
    Songbird form: the first form every Skinchanger is forced into, they must overcome this form’s instincts to prove themselves worthy of their power. While in this form, you are size (Tiny), which gives a +2 size bonus to your AC. You also gain flight 40 ft (good), and a primary beak attack, but it can only deal 1 point of damage no matter what. Your strength counts as 1 for the purposes of manipulating your environment (You’re a teeny little bird, deal with it).
    At 3rd level, your flight maneuverability increases to perfect while in this form.
    Predator form: Representing a wolf, panther, or some similarly sized predatory mammal. You gain a primary bite attack while in this form, which deals 1d6 points of damage. Your reach is 5 ft in this form, and you gain a +4 enhancement strength bonus, and +4 natural armor while in this form. Your base land speed is 50 ft in this form.
    At 4th level, you are treated as having Mobility in this form even if you don’t qualify for it.
    Aerial form: Representing an eagle, hawk, or vulture. You gain a primary talon attack which deals 1d6 points of damage. Your reach is 5ft in this form. You gain a +2 enhancement bonus to Strength and Dexterity while in this form, and +2 to Reflex saves, and +2 natural armor. You gain a flight speed of 40 ft (good).
    At 7th level, your flight speed increases to 60 ft, and you are treated as having Flyby Attack in this form even if you don’t qualify for it.
    Ferocious Slayer form: Representing a large and dangerous predator, such as a lion, tiger, bear, or dire wolf. In this form, you gain a primary bite attack that deals 1d8 points of damage and 2 secondary claw attacks that deal 1d6 points of damage. Your size increase by one step, and you have a reach of a long creature of your size (5ft for large). You gain a +8 enhancement strength bonus, and +4 to Fortitude saves, and your natural armor increases by 8. Your base land speed is 40 ft.
    At 10th level, you are treated as having Improved critical (bite and claws) while in this form.
    Chimeric Monstrosity: The Skinchanger has gained the power to combine their forms in a blasphemous hybrid of man and beast, which walks upright and whose protean flesh shifts and warps constantly. You gain 2 primary slam attacks that deal 1d8 dmg each. Your size increases by one category, and you have the reach of a tall creature of your new size (10ft for large). You gain a +12 enhancement bonus to your strength, +4 to fortitude and will saves, and your natural armor increases by 12. Your base speed drops to 20 ft. You gain damage reduction 5/slashing in this form
    At 14th level, you gain Awesome Blow while in this form even if you don’t qualify for it
    Chimeric Abomination: The pinnacle of Na’Saad blood magic, the Skinchanger’s chimeric form swells with the power of all their shapes, creating a rapacious destroyer that has no place in nature. You gain a pair of primary slam attacks that deal 2d6 damage each. Your size increases by two categories, and you gain the reach of a tall creature of that size (15 ft for huge). You gain a +16 enhancement bonus to your strength, a +4 bonus to Fort, Reflex, and Will saves, and +16 to your natural armor. You are immune to critical hits while in this form, and immune to one type of energy damage (chosen when you shift).
    At 18th level, you are treated as having Great Cleave and Awesome Blow while in this form, even if you don’t qualify
    TrackYou gain Track as a bonus feat, even if you don't meet the pre-requisites

    Bring down the PreyYou gain Improved Trip as a bonus feat, even if you don't meet the pre-requisites

    Animal sensesYou gain Darkvision (30ft). If you already had Darkvision, the range is doubled. At 7th level, you gain Scent (30ft). If you already had the Scent special ability, the range is doubled.

    Pack MentalityYou can now communicate with other Skinchangers while in shifted form. This communication is a combination of emotion, body language, and limited telepathy. It cannot be understood by non-Skinchangers.

    Flesh is Clay: Healing wounds is a simple matter for those who can change their form. You can heal a number of hitpoints per day equal to twice your class level, divided up as you wish. This is either a standard action, or can be used as part of the swift action while shifting

    Guardian BondA Skinchanger can bind themselves to another humanoid in a sanguine pact, tying themselves together spiritually. In an hour long ritual, the two share blood and a fragment of their soul. This can only be done with one person at a time, and can only be broken by death. The benefits of this bond include 1) A permanent Telepathic link (as the spell) between the Skinchanger and their ward, 2)The Skinchanger is always aware of the ward’s current hit points, regardless of distance, and 3) once per day, if an attack would reduce the ward to 0 or below hit points, the Blood shifter may suffer the damage instead in full (they must be within 60 feet of each other to do this). This is a solemn and important ritual; not undertaken lightly

    Swift Tracker: As the Ranger ability

    Evasion:As the Ranger ability

    Feral Pounce: Once per encounter, you may make a full attack at the end of a charge action. These attacks must be with natural weapons.

    Camouflage:As the Ranger ability

    Mark of the Beast: Magic as the Skinchanger's has a cost; your body has been permanently warped by it. You gain either two claw attacks (1d4 damage) or a bite attack (1d6 damage) as primary natural attacks. This choice is permanent.

    Hide in plain sight: As the Ranger ability

    Heart of Darkness:The Skinchanger’s magic has revealed a startling truth: Man is a beast like any other. By killing and consuming a humanoid’s heart, a Skinchanger may steal that humanoid’s form. Your stats remain unchanged, but the disguise is unbreakable except for True Seeing (or effects that force shapechangers to revert to their natural form). If the humanoid had class levels, you may also gain the use of one class feature, feat, or ranks in a skill they had (this is at the DM's discretion. The Skinchanger may only keep one humanoid form at a time in this manner.

    Uninhibited change: You can now shapeshift as an immediate action, and your type changes to magic beast (shapechanger), which makes you immune to spells that target humanoids. Finally, your healing capability increases dramatically; you gain the ability to cast Regenerate (self only) as a spell-like ability once per day

    Spoiler: Existing thoughts and concerns
    Show
    Sparrow form, Guardian Bond, and Heart of Darkness are more storyline powers for the game. Flight at level 1 is crazy, but the DM will work around it. I'm definitely aware of the horrific abuse that Heart of Darkness could spawn, but I don't think any PC will actually make it to that level.
    I'm not sure if full BAB is too much for this class. I've run some combats at lower levels and its fine, but I haven't had a chance to see what happens at level 15 or 16 if power attack and leap attack enter the fray. I'm leaning towards it being okay just because it's hard to get multiple attacks with natural weapons
    Are the later abilities like Mark of the Beast and Animal senses worth it?


    Well, any thoughts, opinions, ideas, what have you are all appreciated!
    Last edited by curious-puzzle; 2014-11-04 at 09:51 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    NinjaGirl

    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Wild North Yonder

    Default Re: The Skinchanger (3.5 modified ranger variant)

    Part of the 'low magic' is going to result in scant loot compared to a traditional campaign. Finding MW weapons/armor will be doable, but for plot reasons, actual magic items that are also stable are rare and currently being hoarded.

    There isn't going to be as much gear-buffing/reliance. It's making the test runs tricky.

    In short, you can't just have enough money to get 'keen' enenchanted on your blade. It isn't a matter of not making the market check - it just may not be available.

    That in mind - are those enhancements close to their magically buffed equivalent? I forgot to ask.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Daemon

    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    The Frozen North
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: The Skinchanger (3.5 modified ranger variant)

    It's the same as always having Greater magic fang on the natural attacks (which is a 3rd level druid/ranger spell).

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Alabenson's Avatar

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    Mar 2011
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    Default Re: The Skinchanger (3.5 modified ranger variant)

    Overall, this class looks reasonably balanced, probably somewhere between high Tier-4 and low Tier-3. I just have a few minor nitpicks with it.
    1: The text and table for animal instincts don’t seem to match up properly, with the table indicating abilities gained at 3rd and 7th level and the text indicating abilities gained at 3rd and 10th. Furthermore, I would probably switch the levels at which Darkvision and Scent are gained, as Scent is generally the more powerful ability.
    2: You might want to consider having Feral Pounce become available at a lower level, perhaps swapping its position with the second iteration of Animal Instincts, although if you do this I would add something extra to Animal Instincts to compensate.
    3: The class currently has a dead level at 19 which really should be filled with something, perhaps an improved version of an earlier ability.
    4: Since you mentioned that you were a little concerned about the Songbird ability, you might want to consider adding in wording restricting the use of Spellcasting, Spell-like abilities, or Supernatural abilities while in that form until you reach Skinchanger level X. This wouldn’t impact a straight-class Skinchanger, but would cut down on the potential for its abuse as a dip class by spellcasters or warlocks.

    Other than what I’ve mentioned, the class looks fairly descent.
    If brute force isn't working, that just means you're not using enough of it.

    When in doubt, set something on fire. If not in doubt, set something on fire anyway.

    My Homebrew


  5. - Top - End - #5
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Daemon

    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    The Frozen North
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: The Skinchanger (3.5 modified ranger variant)

    1: The text and table for animal instincts don’t seem to match up properly, with the table indicating abilities gained at 3rd and 7th level and the text indicating abilities gained at 3rd and 10th. Furthermore, I would probably switch the levels at which Darkvision and Scent are gained, as Scent is generally the more powerful ability.
    Whoops, my error. I've fixed the text error, and switched the darkvision and scent like you suggested.
    You might want to consider having Feral Pounce become available at a lower level, perhaps swapping its position with the second iteration of Animal Instincts, although if you do this I would add something extra to Animal Instincts to compensate.
    I had put pounce in at the same level that you can take the maneuver. It is true that the Ranger can cast Lion's Charge at level 8...you think it'd look better at level 7? So then if the second animal senses got bumped to 11, possibly a See Invisibility ability would be reasonable?
    The class currently has a dead level at 19 which really should be filled with something, perhaps an improved version of an earlier ability.
    Added a new ability to 19, to emphasize how fast and fluid they can change shape.
    Last edited by curious-puzzle; 2014-11-04 at 10:13 PM.

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