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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    d20 The 3.5 Shapechange Handbook

    Greetings, fellow munchkins!

    Upon gaining access to shapechange for the first time, I discovered there wasn't a comprehensive guide to its use. So now there is!


    The 3.5 Shapechange Handbook



    A few notes:
    • It's quite long - I highly recommend turning on the Outline View so you can jump to a particular section you're interested in. It's not meant to be read cover to cover but rather used as a lookup resource during gameplay. If you aren't interested in my ramblings and want to cut straight to the meat, jump to page 6 or so.
    • Technically, this is still a work in progress, but I haven't made any major changes in several weeks, so I think it's time to post it. At some point I may redo some of the organization or add additional creatures, but probably not any time soon.
    • The handbook makes some assumptions regarding rules interpretations, all of which are detailed in the CL20 wall of text at the beginning. I'm definitely open to comments on my assumptions, but I'm unlikely to make major changes to the handbook in response.


    So. Hopefully this is useful for people other than me. It's my first handbook, so apologies if it's a bit rough around the edges. Feedback is, of course, welcome. In particular, I'd love suggestions on bundling up some of the categories for individual spells.

    Finally, remember that shapechange is easily game-breaking if you aren't careful. Try not to inspire your DM to throw source-books at me
    Last edited by jmax; 2017-03-19 at 02:25 PM. Reason: Details on specifically desired feedback

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    Default Re: The 3.5 Shapechange Handbook

    Your link seems to be missing its beginning.

    Might I suggest taking a look at some other handbooks and using their format over simply linking a google doc?
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    Default Re: The 3.5 Shapechange Handbook

    I didn't have enough posts for the board to let me include a real link. It has a real one now.

    The handbook is 70+ pages and has to be searched rather than read to use effectively - it would be unusable if I put it in forum posts.

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    Default Re: The 3.5 Shapechange Handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by jmax View Post

    Upon gaining access to shapechange for the first time, I discovered there wasn't a comprehensive guide to its use. So now there is!
    This seems like less a "comprehensive guide" and far more a big list of things you could shift into to get x ability.
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    Default Re: The 3.5 Shapechange Handbook

    The key is organizing it by ability rather than by creature. I don't memorize all the forms I can use - instead, when I encounter a situation in game, I search the guide for the ability I need. (More realistically, since I remember most of the categories I put in, I find it in the Outline View.)

    Need to stop someone from attacking without killing them? Check out "incapacitate". Immunity to certain energy types? Search for "immunity". Survive a powerful caster? Spell resistance.

    Perhaps "handbook" isn't the best description for it. Should I call it a "combat reference" instead?

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    Default Re: The 3.5 Shapechange Handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by jmax View Post

    Perhaps "handbook" isn't the best description for it. Should I call it a "combat reference" instead?
    Considering it is in google docs, why not a reference document? Certainly a more accurate statement.
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    Default Re: The 3.5 Shapechange Reference

    Nixie's Grace appears to be a Bard spell, not Druid, by my searching.
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    Default Re: The 3.5 Shapechange Reference

    Seems really cool. Found some things you might want to change/add. Will-o'-wisp is a big one. You have it listed with that deflection bonus which I'm really not sure it gets (still not sure where the hell it comes from), and without its immunity to magic or invisibility, which I am sure it does get. You're missing a buncha creatures as well. Dire tortoise for its weird surprise round thing, for example. That one's a classic. Or zodar, for utter borkedness. And you mentioned not including casting, but the hobgoblin warsoul, for example, grants a type of casting that has an explicit ability type, so it's fair game. Kuo-toa exalted whip is probably more relevant, cause it grants cleric spells. Honestly, there's a lot of stuff I wouldn't bring up as not being included, but your standards for inclusion are rather low, so the lack of something like a shadow dragon for its fancy shadow blend seems like a miss. Really, a lot of the things I have on my aberration/dragon lists should probably pop up, as should some of the plant stuff, I think. Like, not necessarily on any shapechange list, but probably on one that prioritizes DR 10 to any meaningful extent. Oh, also, why do you have elemental weirds listed, but only mention five pretty low order effects? They have frigging contact other plane as a free action. It's amazing.

    I guess what I'm getting at here is, shapechange is really really massive and really really complicated. There's a reason I wound up not including something on the order of what I did for various wild shape things or a few spells (animate with the spirit or fey ring, for example) for shapechange. Cause there's always more.

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    Default Re: The 3.5 Shapechange Reference

    Quote Originally Posted by Esprit15 View Post
    Nixie's Grace appears to be a Bard spell, not Druid, by my searching.
    You are 100% correct. I put a tag in there for me to fix it as it requires re-working the rest of the paragraph.

    EDIT: Fixed.


    Quote Originally Posted by eggynack View Post
    Seems really cool.
    Thanks!


    Quote Originally Posted by eggynack View Post
    Found some things you might want to change/add. Will-o'-wisp is a big one. You have it listed with that deflection bonus which I'm really not sure it gets (still not sure where the hell it comes from), and without its immunity to magic or invisibility, which I am sure it does get.
    It's in there. Everything is organized by ability rather than by creature. The natural invisibility is under the "Invisibility" section. Immunity to magic is under "Spell Resistance" - I originally had immunity to magic broken out as its own block, but will-o-wisp was the only creature with the ability. I'm trying to eliminate single-creature blocks because I feel they add a lot of clutter and are likely to be overlooked. Similarly, I'm trying to consolidate individual spells into related groups unless they're particularly iconic or well-known.


    Quote Originally Posted by eggynack View Post
    Oh, also, why do you have elemental weirds listed, but only mention five pretty low order effects? They have frigging contact other plane as a free action. It's amazing.
    Ditto - it's all under the "Divination" block along with Warden Archon's automatic alignment detection and the Shiradi Eladrin's automatic detection of any enchantment effect within 20 feet.


    Quote Originally Posted by eggynack View Post
    ...a lot of the things I have on my aberration/dragon lists...

    There's a reason I wound up not including...
    Aha! I knew I was missing a major handbook. I had yours conflated with eggs' Summoner's Desk Reference. I scoured your druid handbook pretty thoroughly a few months ago for picking my druid's higher level spells (druids are functionally spontaneous casters in that campaign - limited spells known, lots of castings). You have been added to the dedication Hmm, I should link to the individual handbooks from there.


    Quote Originally Posted by eggynack View Post
    You're missing a buncha creatures as well. Dire tortoise for its weird surprise round thing, for example. That one's a classic. Or zodar, for utter borkedness. And you mentioned not including casting, but the hobgoblin warsoul, for example, grants a type of casting that has an explicit ability type, so it's fair game. Kuo-toa exalted whip is probably more relevant, cause it grants cleric spells. Honestly, there's a lot of stuff I wouldn't bring up as not being included, but your standards for inclusion are rather low, so the lack of something like a shadow dragon for its fancy shadow blend seems like a miss. Really, a lot of the things I have on my aberration/dragon lists should probably pop up, as should some of the plant stuff, I think. Like, not necessarily on any shapechange list, but probably on one that prioritizes DR 10 to any meaningful extent.
    There are two aspects of this.
    1. The game I made this for has a lot of the stranger monsters excluded from the setting, so I only really bothered with Core and otherwise monsters that appeared on summoning lists or that we'd specifically encountered in game (and of those, only the ones I felt were useful - Elemental Weird is the most notable). And some that happened to be nearby in the book that looked really slick - mostly angels, archons, and other celestials.
    2. I'd already spent a few weeks' worth of evenings going through the SRD for monster entries, plus several more evenings adding the archons, angels, and other useful things from the summon lists (note that this game uses customized summon lists, so I may have included things not normally available). Combing through four more monster manuals and a bunch of splatbooks page by page wasn't particularly appealing, so I never got around to it.

    However, that said, I am totally open to adding individual creatures that are particularly noteworthy. When I get time, I'll go through your Dragon and Aberration Wild Shape sections. Meanwhile, if you could make a short list of major ones you think I'm missing (in addition to what you mentioned above), I'll put priority toward including those. Fair warning - some of them *coughzodarcough* will go in the "Cheese" block.

    Regarding spellcasting... honestly, I feel that those were probably marked that way erroneously. But I can throw in a spellcasting block with caveat text saying that it's totally reasonable for DMs to say no.
    Last edited by jmax; 2017-03-10 at 09:14 PM. Reason: confirm change

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    Default Re: The 3.5 Shapechange Reference

    Quote Originally Posted by jmax View Post
    It's in there. Everything is organized by ability rather than by creature. The natural invisibility is under the "Invisibility" section. Immunity to magic is under "Spell Resistance" - I originally had immunity to magic broken out as its own block, but will-o-wisp was the only creature with the ability. I'm trying to eliminate single-creature blocks because I feel they add a lot of clutter and are likely to be overlooked. Similarly, I'm trying to consolidate individual spells into related groups unless they're particularly iconic or well-known.
    Fair enough. Thought I'd searched all of these on creature name. The AC thing is still a thing though.


    Ditto - it's all under the "Divination" block along with Warden Archon's automatic alignment detection and the Shiradi Eladrin's automatic detection of any enchantment effect within 20 feet.
    Yes and no. You have them listed with other divinations, but you only make explicit note of two of them.


    Aha! I knew I was missing a major handbook. I had yours conflated with eggs' Summoner's Desk Reference. I scoured your druid handbook pretty thoroughly a few months ago for picking my druid's higher level spells (druids are functionally spontaneous casters in that campaign - limited spells known, lots of castings). You have been added to the dedication Hmm, I should link to the individual handbooks from there.
    Neat. Either way, the list I have is at least somewhat incomplete for this purpose, specifically regarding Su abilities on aberrations, and dragons bigger than medium. Should be useful in a subset sense, in that anything accessible through wild shape is still accessible through shapechange.


    The game I made this for has a lot of the stranger monsters excluded from the setting, so I only really bothered with Core and otherwise monsters that appeared on summoning lists or that we'd specifically encountered in game (and of those, only the ones I felt were useful - Elemental Weird is the most notable). And some that happened to be nearby in the book that looked really slick - mostly angels, archons, and other celestials.

    I'd already spent a few weeks' worth of evenings going through the SRD for monster entries, plus several more evenings adding the archons, angels, and other useful things from the summon lists (note that this game uses customized summon lists, so I may have included things not normally available). Combing through four more monster manuals and a bunch of splatbooks page by page wasn't particularly appealing, so I never got around to it.
    Yeah, wasn't sure where the line was. A shapechange list would take crazy time.

    Regarding spellcasting... honestly, I feel that those were probably marked that way erroneously. But I can throw in a spellcasting block with caveat text saying that it's totally reasonable for DMs to say no.
    It's a weird situation, though I think they're the only creatures with that kinda naming assigned to their casting, beyond the difference in ability type.

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    Default Re: The 3.5 Shapechange Reference

    Quote Originally Posted by eggynack View Post
    Fair enough. Thought I'd searched all of these on creature name. The AC thing is still a thing though.
    Yeah, I don't know what's up with that. Gloom has the same thing. I figured it should be lumped in given that it's obviously not spell-like, spellcasting, or a feat - in absence of other guidance, I'm treating it as an Extraordinary Special Quality that isn't explicitly called out because it's purely numerical. In terms of its place in the stat block, it feels like it should count for the same reason natural armor does. (Ditto for Gloom's insight bonus.) You're right, though, that it merits marking explicitly on both.


    Quote Originally Posted by eggynack View Post
    Yes and no. You have them listed with other divinations, but you only make explicit note of two of them.
    What are you seeing there? I wonder if the whole document is loading for you. Here's the full text I see:

    Duplicate any of the following spells as free actions:
    • Analyze dweomer
    • Clairaudience/clairvoyance
    • Contact other plane
    • Detect thoughts
    • Discern location
    • Find the path
    • Foresight
    • Greater scrying
    • Legend lore
    • Locate creature
    • Locate object
    • Tongues
    • True seeing
    • Vision
    If only part of the document is loading, that would also explain why you didn't see the other entries for Will-o-wisp the first time through. But if it's a common problem, I may need to find a new format if I want it to be useful for a large audience.


    Quote Originally Posted by eggynack View Post
    Neat. Either way, the list I have is at least somewhat incomplete for this purpose, specifically regarding Su abilities on aberrations, and dragons bigger than medium. Should be useful in a subset sense, in that anything accessible through wild shape is still accessible through shapechange.
    It's certainly a good place to start, and while I'm in there I'll grab the Su abilities for them. I figured you might have other specifics for shapechange itself that you normally use during gameplay. I can also go through ksbsnowowl's and others' additions to TaisharMalkier's grand list of Su abilities for shapechange to see if anything in particular stands out.


    Quote Originally Posted by eggynack View Post
    Yeah, wasn't sure where the line was. A shapechange list would take crazy time.
    I think I'll draw the line after "Core + specifically mentioned excellent" forms. I think the marginal utility of finding incremental non-Core improvements over what's available with Core isn't worth either the time or the clutter. Now if there are whole specific types of solid abilities only available in the later Monster Manuals and splatbooks, that might be worth including.


    Quote Originally Posted by eggynack View Post
    It's a weird situation, though I think they're the only creatures with that kinda naming assigned to their casting, beyond the difference in ability type.
    That's why I think it's likely an error. But there's another problem anyway, even if it is a bit of a technicality. There are three basic variations on spellcasting - prepared arcane, prepared divine, and spontaneous (arcane and divine work the same way). If the form has prepared arcane spells, you don't have the spellbook. If it has prepared divine spells, good luck getting the appropriate deity to grant them to you. If it has spontaneous casting, you don't actually know any of the spells. The only exceptions I can see to that are spontaneous casters with 100% fixed spell lists, which might imply the spells known are an inherent product of the race rather than learned. Technically, for wizard-style casting, you can make a Spellcraft check to attempt to prepare spells out of a captured or purchased spellbook, but I feel like that's really pushing it.



    Would you be interested in contributing to the handbook, either new entries or just corrections/annotations of existing stuff? If so, send me a good email address in a private message and I'll add you with Suggestion/Commenting permissions.

    You're also more than welcome to link to my handbook if you want extra information available in the shapechange spell description in yours.

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    Default Re: The 3.5 Shapechange Reference

    Quote Originally Posted by jmax View Post
    Yeah, I don't know what's up with that. Gloom has the same thing. I figured it should be lumped in given that it's obviously not spell-like, spellcasting, or a feat - in absence of other guidance, I'm treating it as an Extraordinary Special Quality that isn't explicitly called out because it's purely numerical. In terms of its place in the stat block, it feels like it should count for the same reason natural armor does. (Ditto for Gloom's insight bonus.) You're right, though, that it merits marking explicitly on both.
    Yeah, I wound up just not talking about it, cause I like to stay away from completely uncategorized abilities.


    What are you seeing there? I wonder if the whole document is loading for you. Here's the full text I see:
    Thought that the bottom border on the page was the end of the entry. Whoops.

    It's certainly a good place to start, and while I'm in there I'll grab the Su abilities for them. I figured you might have other specifics for shapechange itself that you normally use during gameplay. I can also go through ksbsnowowl's and others' additions to TaisharMalkier's grand list of Su abilities for shapechange to see if anything in particular stands out.
    I tend to not be in games at that high of a level. A lot of my information on shapechange optimization comes from Tippy's various mentions of the topic. And, y'know, logic and such. Part of why my entry for it is basically, "Full analysis of this spell is out of the scope of this handbook, because it'd take roughly infinite time to do. Here's a fancy Tippy quote." Another part is that the cheesy element of it kinda overwhelms the more normal uses, which is the reason I didn't cover epic stuff.


    That's why I think it's likely an error.
    Not really sure why. Normally, monster spellcasting has this really specific format. This time, the casting breaks that formatting, which implies that other breaks from the norm are intentional. If they wanted everything to be normal, they'd write it down the way they write it every time.
    But there's another problem anyway, even if it is a bit of a technicality. There are three basic variations on spellcasting - prepared arcane, prepared divine, and spontaneous (arcane and divine work the same way). If the form has prepared arcane spells, you don't have the spellbook. If it has prepared divine spells, good luck getting the appropriate deity to grant them to you. If it has spontaneous casting, you don't actually know any of the spells. The only exceptions I can see to that are spontaneous casters with 100% fixed spell lists, which might imply the spells known are an inherent product of the race rather than learned. Technically, for wizard-style casting, you can make a Spellcraft check to attempt to prepare spells out of a captured or purchased spellbook, but I feel like that's really pushing it.
    It looks like the warsoul is just doing bog standard wizarding. Which means you need to get that spellbook, but they're not impossible to come by. May not be worth it in the context of shapechange. I came by the trick largely in the context of MoMF, where it's more level appropriate and thus more worth pursuing. The whip, which does seem to just do the whole cleric thing, would I think be inclusive of the whole cleric deal. You have its fancy clericness, with all that implies.

    Would you be interested in contributing to the handbook, either new entries or just corrections/annotations of existing stuff? If so, send me a good email address in a private message and I'll add you with Suggestion/Commenting permissions.

    You're also more than welcome to link to my handbook if you want extra information available in the shapechange spell description in yours.
    I'll consider it on both counts. Not sure yet.

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    Default Re: The 3.5 Shapechange Reference

    Thought that the bottom border on the page was the end of the entry. Whoops.
    Yeah, the lack of setting for the default view people see when they open the document is making me question Google Docs as a format for this. Defaulting to Print View and not showing the Outline are both suboptimal for a guide like this. I might be better off - on a number of levels - auto-generating HTML for a simple web-page. Or maybe I'll turn it into an actual web app, which I've been meaning to learn to do for a while anyway. Ooh, and from there it's an easy conversion to a mobile app... "Hey Siri, find me shapechange forms with fire immunity." Yay scope creep!


    I tend to not be in games at that high of a level. A lot of my information on shapechange optimization comes from Tippy's various mentions of the topic. And, y'know, logic and such. Part of why my entry for it is basically, "Full analysis of this spell is out of the scope of this handbook, because it'd take roughly infinite time to do. Here's a fancy Tippy quote." Another part is that the cheesy element of it kinda overwhelms the more normal uses, which is the reason I didn't cover epic stuff.
    There is definitely potential for too much cheese. It's one reason I didn't go looking for stuff like Zodar and why I have a few pages of advice on how not to break the game. In the game I'm playing, my character can get shapechange up to cap-breaking CL 26 (can squeeze out CL 27 next level if I work the numbers enough), so almost everything became viable right away. There's definitely stuff I don't use out of respect to my DM, and not all of it lives in the Cheese block.


    Not really sure why. Normally, monster spellcasting has this really specific format. This time, the casting breaks that formatting, which implies that other breaks from the norm are intentional. If they wanted everything to be normal, they'd write it down the way they write it every time.
    I just took a look at the Hobgoblin Warsoul, and I can see your point. The fluff text makes it clear that the spellcasting comes from ritual transformation rather than study. I'll throw in a "Spellcasting" block with the caveat that I think it probably shouldn't be used without getting specific DM approval.

    Regarding the consistency... Wizards of the Coast has not demonstrated a great track record on that front, except for enforcing intellectual property rights :-P


    I'll consider it on both counts. Not sure yet.
    Ok, give me a shout if you decide you want in.

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    Default Re: The 3.5 Shapechange Handbook

    Greetings, jmax!

    This is a revised link to the MinMaxForum Shapechange Handbook. The one in your guide didn't work for me.
    Quote Originally Posted by GPuzzle View Post
    And I do agree that the right answer to the magic/mundane problem is to make everyone badass.
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    Default Re: The 3.5 Shapechange Handbook

    Fixed - thanks! I dealt personally with the MinMaxBoards changeover with a browser extension to auto-redirect, so I didn't notice because the change was transparent on my end. (But you're right - it was definitely broken without the auto-redirect.)

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    Default Re: The 3.5 Shapechange Handbook

    Would a Nagahydra (Serpent Kingdoms 77) form assumed via shapechange give the ability to cast 1 spell per head per round since this casting is under "Spells?"
    Quote Originally Posted by GPuzzle View Post
    And I do agree that the right answer to the magic/mundane problem is to make everyone badass.
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    Default Re: The 3.5 Shapechange Handbook

    A Hobgoblin Warsoul (Monster Manual V 87) explicitly gets Arcane Talent (Ex), or the ability to cast spells as a Wizard9. That seems worth adding.

    Other notes:
    -Lupinal (MMII 43) gets Dodge Missile 3/round which applies to any missile. Ask your GM if that also means rays, boulders, Hulking Hurler planets, etc.
    Last edited by Endarire; 2018-01-02 at 02:12 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by GPuzzle View Post
    And I do agree that the right answer to the magic/mundane problem is to make everyone badass.
    Quote Originally Posted by Flickerdart View Post
    If you're of a philosophical bent, the powergamer is a great example of Heidegger's modern technological man, who treats a game's mechanics as a standing reserve of undifferentiated resources that are to be used for his goals.
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    Default Re: The 3.5 Shapechange Handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by Endarire View Post
    Would a Nagahydra (Serpent Kingdoms 77) form assumed via shapechange give the ability to cast 1 spell per head per round since this casting is under "Spells?"
    Eh... you could make an argument for it. The SRD hydra has the same problem with its "attack with all heads as a standard action" ability - it's not tagged with an ability type. Your bigger problem is going to be a lack of thumbs - unless you're a druid with Natural Spell.

    As a DM, though, I'd be seriously leery about allowing it. Even by shapechange standards, that's pretty broken and probably belongs in Cheese. Certainly it's more potent than Chronotyryn.

    Quote Originally Posted by Endarire View Post
    A Hobgoblin Warsoul (Monster Manual V 87) explicitly gets Arcane Talent (Ex), or the ability to cast spells as a Wizard9. That seems worth adding.

    Other notes:
    -Lupinal (MMII 43) gets Dodge Missile 3/round which applies to any missile. Ask your GM if that also means rays, boulders, Hulking Hurler planets, etc.
    I'll add the warsoul's casting, but my usual caveat (don't do it) applies. You'll also need a spellbook, and your DM should insist on Spellcraft checks as though casting out of another wizard's book.

    Dodge Missile does indeed seem to be specifically eliminating the exceptions on Deflect Arrows. Neat.


    I don't have time right now to make the changes, but I've put in notes to revisit them later. Thanks for the suggestions!

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    Default Re: The 3.5 Shapechange Handbook

    Pump your caster level through the roof.
    Does it really help? You still need to qualify for HD restriction? I believe the restriction from polymorph is inherited by the shapechange since it is worded "This spell functions like polymorph except and polymorph restricts form HD with your own HD.

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    Default Re: The 3.5 Shapechange Handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by ayvango View Post
    Does it really help? You still need to qualify for HD restriction? I believe the restriction from polymorph is inherited by the shapechange since it is worded "This spell functions like polymorph except and polymorph restricts form HD with your own HD.
    Yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by polymorph
    This spell functions like alter self, except... The assumed form canít have more Hit Dice than your caster level (or the subjectís HD, whichever is lower), to a maximum of 15 HD at 15th level.
    Quote Originally Posted by shapechange
    This spell functions like polymorph, except... The assumed form cannot have more than your caster level in Hit Dice (to a maximum of 25 HD).
    The text in shapechange about maximum hit dice directly replaces the same text from polymorph, which directly replaces the same text from alter self. A particularly pedantic DM who really, really wants to nerf shapechange without banning it might argue that you end up with the intersection of all of the pieces that don't expressly conflict with each other, but it's a weak argument supported mostly by Rule Zero (GM fiat).

    Also, while not directly relevant because it's inherently overwritten by the 3.5 printing, the 3.0 printing actually allowed up to double your caster level as the max HD, up to 50. I think it's reasonable to assert that, if the developers really intended to constrain it to your own hit dice, they would probably have spelled that out explicitly.

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    Default Re: The 3.5 Shapechange Handbook

    You had mentioned wilding clasp. Shouldn't it work solely with wildshaping, and useless for polymophing?

    P.S. Pyroclast dragon has disintegration line.
    Last edited by ayvango; 2018-02-01 at 12:47 PM.

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    Default Re: The 3.5 Shapechange Handbook

    [QUOTE=ayvango;22805474]You had mentioned wilding clasp. Shouldn't it work solely with wildshaping, and useless for polymophing?

    Hmm, strictly speaking that's correct - the item in Magic Item Compendium is specifically worded for use with Wild Shape. That said, you really don't even need the wilding clasps.

    Armor and weapons aside - and a wilding clasp doesn't make the armor bonus available to you regardless - most equipment should Just Work even without a wilding clasp. Shapechange lets you wear/carry your equipment as long as it's physically possible, and Wondrous Items are mostly shape-agnostic as noted in MIC:

    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Item Compendium p219
    Most of the time when a magic item is discovered, a characterís
    size or shape shouldnít be an issue...As a default rule, treat creatures of any shape as having all the
    normal body slots available.
    It then goes on to provide specific guidelines for restricting body slots on particularly unusual shapes - specifically creatures that are amorphous, armless, fingerless, headless, and legless. If your DM really wants to pause combat every round to adjudicate every shapechange form for whether it has the appropriate body slots for all of your gear (including manually recalculating all of your modifiers unless you have some very thorough and detailed automation going), that's her prerogative. I think it would be a much better compromise to just let you pay for wilding clasps and have them work in shapechange.

    Personally, I do also prefer them for style - I feel like it would look silly to run around as a dragon with a purple cape and bangles.

    That said, you're absolutely right that they do not strictly work as I've referenced them in the handbook. I've made a note for myself to correct it. Thank you for pointing it out!

    P.S. Pyroclast dragon has disintegration line.
    Non-core dragons are on my To-Do list. I just haven't gotten to them yet, partly because I can't use them in the game in which I have shapechange and partly because I haven't worked on the handbook much in the last month or two in general. If someone has a specific need for them, I can probably bang them out in the next few weeks if prodded occasionally.

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    Default Re: The 3.5 Shapechange Handbook

    Consider the Phasm. Using its Alternate Form ability, it lets you transform into ANY creature of Large or smaller size and gain this form's (Ex) and (Su) abilities. Some Abominations (epic creatures) are legal targets, including the time-manipulating Phane!

    Getting even more complicated, a Phasm can turn into a Hagunemnon (Protean) and grab the (Ex) effects of any non-deific creatures! Doing this requires a move action each round to maintain, but still may be worth it. (Island of Blades from Tome of Battle's Eternal Blade10 or Cunning Surge from Dungeonscape's Factotum8, anyone?)
    Quote Originally Posted by GPuzzle View Post
    And I do agree that the right answer to the magic/mundane problem is to make everyone badass.
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    Default Re: The 3.5 Shapechange Handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by Endarire View Post
    Consider the Phasm. Using its Alternate Form ability, it lets you transform into ANY creature of Large or smaller size and gain this form's (Ex) and (Su) abilities. Some Abominations (epic creatures) are legal targets, including the time-manipulating Phane!

    Getting even more complicated, a Phasm can turn into a Hagunemnon (Protean) and grab the (Ex) effects of any non-deific creatures! Doing this requires a move action each round to maintain, but still may be worth it. (Island of Blades from Tome of Battle's Eternal Blade10 or Cunning Surge from Dungeonscape's Factotum8, anyone?)
    Are you saying you get the alternate form's Ex and Su abilities? I'm not seeing where it says that, and alternate form says you keep your own Ex qualities, Su, SLA, and spellcasting abilities but get only the Ex special attacks of the new form (it doesn't explicitly say you don't get the new supernaturals, but the implication seems clear that you do not).

    That said, you would keep some of the nice benefits that Phasm gets. 100-ft telepathy, tremorsense, and +4 to Fort and Reflex saves. I could see those being nice when added to a heavy-duty bruiser form you couldn't normally access with shapechange due to hit dice limits or because the destination creature is unique.

    It's nifty, and I'll include it regardless for the expanded form access. I don't have a good list of things I'd use it for (barring me missing something with the Ex and Su abilities) save making yourself look like a god, but it's definitely nifty.

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    Default Re: The 3.5 Shapechange Handbook

    Grell (Lords of Madness 107): Sightless (Ex) makes you immune to gaze attacks, ILLUSIONS, and other effects sight-reliant. That makes Shadowcraft Mages go, "WEHHEWTUKJHNETIUHERWWHE?" (That's a nonsense quote by the way.)

    This may also apply to the Grell Philosopher (or a Grell Patriarch - LoM 109) which is a higher HD version with Wizard levels.

    Phaerimm (Lost Empires of Faerun 187), especially of the Elder (16HD) and Revered Elder (19HD) categories, seems interesting for its continuous true seeing, spell resistance 26 and 29 respectively, 100' telepathy, and 30' flight (perfect maneuverability?). They also cast spells as SLAs and have racial Sorcerer casting of a Sor level equal to their character level. Maybe that helps during shapechange.
    Last edited by Endarire; 2018-04-15 at 10:26 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by GPuzzle View Post
    And I do agree that the right answer to the magic/mundane problem is to make everyone badass.
    Quote Originally Posted by Flickerdart View Post
    If you're of a philosophical bent, the powergamer is a great example of Heidegger's modern technological man, who treats a game's mechanics as a standing reserve of undifferentiated resources that are to be used for his goals.
    My Complete Tome of Battle Maneuver/Stance/Class Overhaul

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    Default Re: The 3.5 Shapechange Handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by Endarire View Post
    Grell (Lords of Madness 107): Sightless (Ex) makes you immune to gaze attacks, ILLUSIONS, and other effects sight-reliant. That makes Shadowcraft Mages go, "WEHHEWTUKJHNETIUHERWWHE?" (That's a nonsense quote by the way.)
    Hmm, somehow I don't have sightless creatures mentioned anywhere in my handbook. There are 3 in the SRD - Grimlocks, Destrachan, and Yrthak.

    I imagine a sane DM would only apply the immunity to visual illusions. Auditory and heat illusions and such should all still work, although RAW does say otherwise.

    There's an interesting thread on ENWorld about illusions and blindsight with some good discussion: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthr...t-vs-Illusions

    Grell specifically doesn't have a whole lot going for it other than the sightlessness. The flight is ok, the range on the blindsight is decent, and immunity to electricity and paralysis is nice, but the physical and other magical defenses are very weak - it's a form you might use when you know you're going to encounter a bunch of illusions, but only if you aren't facing any other kinds of threats. Overall I think you're better off going with a powerful outsider form that has True Seeing. Granted, that's usually only out to a limited range, but that range is usually higher than the range on blindsight, so you can just ignore everything outside the True Seeing radius if you're worried about illusions.

    Immunity to gaze attacks is more potent defensively, but you can also just close your eyes. Any form with blindsight can get the same benefits - they just aren't immune by default.

    I may make a note about sightless creatures with blindsight in the True Seeing section, but I think there are stronger options.

    Of course, if your DM allows sightless creatures to be immune to non-visual illusions simply because they're sightless, that becomes much better.


    Quote Originally Posted by Endarire View Post
    This may also apply to the Grell Philosopher (or a Grell Patriarch - LoM 109) which is a higher HD version with Wizard levels.
    The grell philosopher (including the patriarch) is mostly special for advanced hit dice and wizard levels, neither of which grants much benefit with shapechange.


    Quote Originally Posted by Endarire View Post
    Phaerimm (Lost Empires of Faerun 187), especially of the Elder (16HD) and Revered Elder (19HD) categories, seems interesting for its continuous true seeing, spell resistance 26 and 29 respectively, 100' telepathy, and 30' flight (perfect maneuverability?). They also cast spells as SLAs and have racial Sorcerer casting of a Sor level equal to their character level. Maybe that helps during shapechange.
    Phaerimm, on the other hand, is quite interesting. The flight is nothing special, and any plant creature gets the same immunities, but the vision is quite spectacular - not for true seeing, which is common, but for arcane sight, which is not present anywhere else in my handbook. That is definitely going in - thanks!

    (I'll also probably add it under "Cruel and Unusual Punishment" next to several other creatures that implant eggs or spores which slowly devour victims from the inside. It's hardly unique there, but what the heck.)

    You definitely don't get phaerimm spellcasting because it's not an Ex or Su ability. (Plus, as I mention in the handbook, racial spellcasting starts to fall apart once you start looking at acquiring spells known and resting for spell slots). You can make an argument that it should be able to use other spellcasting as spell-like abilities (with no verbal, somatic, or material components), but I think it's a pretty weak argument since it's keyed explicitly to the innate casting ability (and, indeed, specifically refers to sorcerer spells). It's worth asking your DM, but the answer is almost certain to be no. Further, since phaerimm has no other means of performing somatic components, only a druid with Natural Spell will be able to cast normally - and even that is questionable due to the lack of speech. You'd have to make an argument that you can substitute sounds with the varying wind speed.


    Far more interesting even than phaerimm's vision is the monster on the previous page: the nishruu. Nishruu eats targeted spells to gain hit points (neat), drains charges from charged magic items (counter-productive), negates non-charged magic items until 1d4 rounds after leaving contact (awesome!), eats spell slots from casters with a chance of inflicting feeblemind (fantastic if you have good Charsma, otherwise merely interesting) and negates artifacts (HOLY **** YES PLEASE!).

    The tradeoff is vulnerability to Rods of Absorption and Rings of Spell Turning, which result in a 5% chance of your immediate and utter destruction. Couple with foresight (which you can get for free from shapechanging into an Elemental Weird, although I prefer to just learn the spell because it feels a little less cheesy) so you can reflexively change to something safe if someone starts to pull one out. Note that you need not worry about someone pulling such an item from a handy haversack or bag of holding while engulfed because said extradimensional storage unit will itself be negated.



    Quote Originally Posted by Endarire View Post
    Consider the Phasm. Using its Alternate Form ability, it lets you transform into ANY creature of Large or smaller size and gain this form's (Ex) and (Su) abilities. Some Abominations (epic creatures) are legal targets, including the time-manipulating Phane!

    Getting even more complicated, a Phasm can turn into a Hagunemnon (Protean) and grab the (Ex) effects of any non-deific creatures! Doing this requires a move action each round to maintain, but still may be worth it. (Island of Blades from Tome of Battle's Eternal Blade10 or Cunning Surge from Dungeonscape's Factotum8, anyone?)
    Can you please clarify your meaning with this? See my previous post for the specific questions.

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    Default Re: The 3.5 Shapechange Handbook

    The Phasm and Protean I thought were more useful, but Alternate Form didn't grant all the stuff I initially expected.

    What is this DoE source for strength of the true form?

    Handbook Correction: Will-o-Wisp isn't immune to magic missile nor maze.

    What do you think of the Nagahydra (Serpent Kingdoms 78) as a casting form?

    Fiend Folio 190's Yellow Musk Creeper is a minion factory that makes Plants. Slowly. Monster Manual II 154-157 has the Myconids, but the Soverign is the most interesting with its Animation spores and Potion Making abilities.

    Abominations (Epic Creatures) have a shapechange-legal form including spiffy immunities, resists, 500' blindsight (!), and 1000' telepathy (!). See the Chichemic for details.

    "Dragon" 343 page 42-44 has the Tome Dragons, notable for their free metamagic reducers (+1 to +3 for shapechange within 28 HD), 120'+ (good) flight, and other things. (Other creatures from this issue are spiffy, like the Gray Shiver for an (Ex) CHA bonus to all saves. Undead are auto-neutral or friendly to Nuckaleevee as (Ex). Hex Dragons have Retributive Curse (Su) for (good) flight and the ability to freely curse any creature that hurts it.)

    Hoary Steed (12 HD Epic Creature) has (Su) versions of astral projection and etherealness with minor immunities to Hold and Charm natively and Compulsions due to its continuous magic circle effect.

    Overall, I've found Eggynack's Druid Guide to be a tremendous resource for creatures. That's how I learned about things I've shared! There are probably more interesting creatures in here!
    Last edited by Endarire; 2018-04-18 at 03:45 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by GPuzzle View Post
    And I do agree that the right answer to the magic/mundane problem is to make everyone badass.
    Quote Originally Posted by Flickerdart View Post
    If you're of a philosophical bent, the powergamer is a great example of Heidegger's modern technological man, who treats a game's mechanics as a standing reserve of undifferentiated resources that are to be used for his goals.
    My Complete Tome of Battle Maneuver/Stance/Class Overhaul

    Arseplomancy = Fanatic Tarrasque!

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    Default Re: The 3.5 Shapechange Handbook

    Sorry, thought I'd replied to this already.

    Quote Originally Posted by Endarire View Post
    What is this DoE source for strength of the true form?
    Dragons of Eberron. Page 15 has a table (not mentioned in the Table of Contents) on ways that dragons can be disguised, in which the authors have printed an obscure, extremely cheesable spell.

    Quote Originally Posted by Endarire View Post
    Handbook Correction: Will-o-Wisp isn't immune to magic missile nor maze.
    Corrected in the Go-to Forms section as a footnote. If I think of a decent notation for it that doesn't screw up the formatting, I'll add it to the magical defense tables. The golems have some caveats as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Endarire View Post
    What do you think of the Nagahydra (Serpent Kingdoms 78) as a casting form?
    The fast healing is nice, but unless I'm missing something, it doesn't provide any other advantages. Ah, buried in the Spells block. It's debatable whether you get the one-spell-per-head given that it's in the Spells block, but that's basically following the same format as the original hydra burying the attack-with-all-heads in the descriptive text. I've added it in the relevant places.

    You're going to need that fast healing because the AC is poor and there's no damage reduction.

    Quote Originally Posted by Endarire View Post
    Fiend Folio 190's Yellow Musk Creeper is a minion factory that makes Plants. Slowly.
    I thought about listing this under Minions!, but I decided that you need to stay in Yellow Musk Creeper form in order for the "zombies" to follow you. The zombies aren't actually mindless, but they aren't sentient either, so there really isn't any good argument to be made that you can persuade them of your authenticity as their creator. Imagine trying to convince a strange dog that you've been its master for years - I just don't see it working.

    If you really think it's worth mentioning, I could maybe add it with those caveats. I suppose, if you're willing to invest months in harvesting (with a buddy to move you around and feed you suitable victims), you could start checking in with them once daily to maintain your army and only deploy them when you need to (which requires you to have multiple shapechange castings per day). It just seems like an awful lot of contortion for fairly minor benefit. Admittedly, if you're willing and able to spend up for an arbitrary number of portable holes or can cast teleportation circle, this does become an entertaining gag - if not actually a useful one.

    One other thing worth noting is that the zombies don't actually obey the creeper. They act to protect and nurture it, but you can't command them to do specific things without another ability along the lines of Rebuke Plants from Initiate of Nature.


    Quote Originally Posted by Endarire View Post
    Monster Manual II 154-157 has the Myconids, but the Soverign is the most interesting with its Animation spores and Potion Making abilities.
    Ooooh, free potions! You have my attention :-) It looks like you still have to pay the usual costs for creating them. Brew Potion as a bonus feat is nifty though. Added.

    I think, like Yellow Musk Creeper, maintaining control over the servants may be problematic.


    Quote Originally Posted by Endarire View Post
    Abominations (Epic Creatures) have a shapechange-legal form including spiffy immunities, resists, 500' blindsight (!), and 1000' telepathy (!). See the Chichemic for details.
    The ones you can actually reach with shapechange (which from the SRD I think is just Chichimec) are already in there and have been for some time. Alas, my DM says they're too unique.

    Quote Originally Posted by Endarire View Post
    "Dragon" 343 page 42-44 has the Tome Dragons, notable for their free metamagic reducers (+1 to +3 for shapechange within 28 HD), 120'+ (good) flight, and other things. (Other creatures from this issue are spiffy, like the Gray Shiver for an (Ex) CHA bonus to all saves. Undead are auto-neutral or friendly to Nuckaleevee as (Ex). Hex Dragons have Retributive Curse (Su) for (good) flight and the ability to freely curse any creature that hurts it.)
    Hmm. I haven't been including stuff from random Dragon/Dungeon Magazine issues. That might be worth a mention somewhere though. I do rather like the some of the other creatures in here - quite a bit of good style going on, and most of it isn't all that cheesey.

    Quote Originally Posted by Endarire View Post
    Hoary Steed (12 HD Epic Creature) has (Su) versions of astral projection and etherealness with minor immunities to Hold and Charm natively and Compulsions due to its continuous magic circle effect.
    Nightmare has the same planar travel abilities, and it's easier to access because it's straight Core. The mind-affecting immunities are pretty common and not really worth their own listing. Plenty of forms with those immunities with far better defenses (think Dread Wraith). Misty Breath is neat, but the nightmare's smoke is strictly better. The continuous air walk is nifty, but the flight makes it irrelevant (nightmares have the same flight). The only things that the hoary steed really has over the nightmare are some different style (which should not be discounted!), swapped fire and cold immunity/vulnerability, slightly better touch AC (but still too low to be useful), spell resistance that is too low to rely on, and damage reduction which is hard to bypass but doesn't offer much protection. The hoof damage is better, but you're not doing nightmare or hoary steed for melee damage.


    Quote Originally Posted by Endarire View Post
    Overall, I've found Eggynack's Druid Guide to be a tremendous resource for creatures. That's how I learned about things I've shared! There are probably more interesting creatures in here!
    I do need to look at it more for the special wild shape creatures. Last time I checked there wasn't a whole lot in the way of specifics for shapechange.



    Thanks for the suggestions!

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    Default Re: The 3.5 Shapechange Handbook

    If you are looking into controlling things why not go for a quanlos (MMIV)?
    Thanks a lot Gengy for the awesome... just a sec... avatar. :)

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    Default Re: The 3.5 Shapechange Handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by thethird View Post
    If you are looking into controlling things why not go for a quanlos (MMIV)?
    Mostly because I'd never heard of it, although it suffers from similar problems to the Yellow Musk Creeper - albeit not as badly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Monster Manual IV
    Thralls are freed immediately upon the death of the controlling quanlos.
    When you leave the form, the quanlos that controlled them ceases to exist. You could make an argument that said quanlos resumes existing when you take the form again, but the DM can make an argument that the link has already been broken and therefore you have to re-establish control from the beginning. Being limited to 3/day hurts, too. (One relatively bright spot - your save DC will be higher due to your significantly higher hit dice, and you'll be able to buff Con further to push it a little higher. It's not going to be stellar, but it can be decent.)

    A much better choice overall for arbitrary minions is the Fiend Folio's Blood Fiend Demon, which is already in my handbook. 30-foot range, CL 18 dominate monster at will with no strings attached (30-ft initial range, but no limitation afterward - you should still retain control after changing). Save DC is Charisma-based, so it's fantastic on Sorcerers, Sublime Chords, and Fey Druids. For everyone else, it's as good or bad as their Charisma investment. (This is not unique to Blood Fiend in any way - if you want to use non-physical abilities with shapechange, do not dump Cha.)

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