View Full Version : The Metabolist, a new base class (PEACH)

2010-01-28, 04:56 PM
I wanted to play a psionic tank with a penchant for shapechanging in a Dark Sun (http://athas.org/) game we just started, so I threw together a class. We're using the modified shapechange rules from Dreamscarred Press, (http://dreamscarredpress.com/dragonfly/index.php) at the core of which is Assume Form (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/assume-form), with Metamorphosis and Metamorphic Transfer removed. That fixes a large source of the brokenness of shapechanging, and I believe makes such a build possible and balanced. This is my current version; it will be updated as comments come in.

The Metabolist
"Ah, yes, but you have forgotten about Rule Number One: never get in a fight with an unarmored, unarmed old man."
- Lu-Tze, shortly before the Massacre at Magras Keep

"An eye for an eye is a good rule. It is a better rule when you can regrow your eye."
- old metabolist proverd

Ages ago, long before the study of psionics was invented, codified, and organized into centers of learning, there were certain members of the many races that could change their bodies in unusual ways. While a student of modern psionics recognizes these techniques as a subset of modern psionics, specifically the discipline of psychometabolism, a metabolist encountering a psion would not understand the intricacies of the developed craft.

A metabolist relies upon a deep physical reserve which enables them to change and adjust their bodies in surprising, and deadly, ways. With a moment's focus, their bones pop out of alignment, their muscles change, and deadly claws grow from her fingertips. Where a nondescript traveller once stood, now there is a frightful beast.

Adventures: With their profound physical resilience, many metabolists adventure to test themselves against the dangers of the wider world. Each foe beaten, each wound received, teaches the the metabolist a valuable lesson about the limits of her own body, and how to surpass those limits. While some recognize that careful study of their own mind might yield similar effects, metabolists are generally too action-oriented to sit down for too long. Good metabolists are frequently motivated by the desire to help weaker creatures fight injustice, while evil practitioners might seek to apply their own brand of justice on others.

Characteristics: The metabolist draws power directly from her own physical fitness. Unlike psions, who achieve similar aims through the expression of their will on reality, a metabolist's power is rooted in the body itself. Therefore, their power list is extremely limited, but they enjoy a far greater freedom in choosing those powers. Unable to affect others' minds directly or change the course of a battle through indirect means, the metabolist rushes towards her target, putting herself between danger and those she protects.

Alignment: The power a metabolist wields is one of change. Frequently, this adaptability of body leads her to a worldview which doesn't respect confining societal structures. For that reason, most metabolists are Chaotic, but not necessarily so. Metabolists can be either good or evil.

Religion: Metabolists are not inherently drawn toward any particular deity, if at all, but sometimes they consider their abilities a gift from a god, making them into zealous executioners of a divine will.

Background: The core abilities of a metabolist generally show up at an early age; sometimes a play fight between children can turn deadly as one grows wicked claws. By puberty, the powers are more pronounced. In either case, such abilities can be the subject of derision and contempt, leading many young metabolists to live a life of exile, wandering the lands in search of acceptance. Some learn to hide their powers and turn away from their destined path, but for most the changes are too strong to ignore. Sometimes, when an aspiring metabolist is identified, they are asked (or forced) to join a psionic academy to gain control over their abilities, leading them to be a psion.

Races: The inborn gift for psychometabolism is unpredictable, and can occur in any race, although naturally psionic races are more likely to develop it. However, it sometimes occurs even in non-psionic races, of which humans are a prime example.

Other classes: Metabolists enjoy the company of barbarians, soluknives monks, and other classes which find strength in their own bodies. While the combat abilities of weapon- and armor-focused classes like the fighters and rangers tends to be respected, their reliance on equipment can be seen as a crutch. Psions can be seen as too physically weak for their own good, leading to the moniker "body carrying brains," meant as an insult. However, their capabilities can be a boon, and are alternately derided or looked up to as masters of their own minds. Wilders are a curious group generally lumped together with psions, but most metabolists feel that emotions should not be the driving force in one's life. They are naturally suspicious of spellcasting classes.

Role: Metabolists are nearly always front line combatants, trading blows with the most dangerous creatures to protect other characters. However, they can also support a party with healing and restoration, if they have chosen those powers that day.

The Metabolist HD:d6
{table]Level|BAB|Fort|Ref|Will|Special|PP|Powers Known|Max Level Known
1st|+0|+2|+0|+0|Psionic Body|2|1|1st
2nd|+1|+3|+0|+0|Rapid Metabolism|6|2|1st
4th|+3|+4|+1|+1|Regulated Metabolism (+1)|17|3|2nd
7th|+5|+5|+2|+2|Superior Assume Form|46|4|4th
8th|+6/+1|+6|+2|+2|Regulated Metabolism (+2)|58|5|4th
11th|+8/+3|+7|+3|+3|Superior Animal Affinity|106|6|6th
12th|+9/+4|+8|+4|+4|Master Formbinder, Regulated Metabolism (+3)|126|7|6th
14th|+10/+5|+9|+4|+4|Superior Assume Ability|170|8|7th
15th|+11/+6/+1|+9|+5|+5|Extended Change|195|8|8th
16th|+12/+7/+2|+10|+5|+5|Regulated Metabolism (+4)|221|9|8th
17th|+12/+7/+2|+10|+5|+5|Infinite Variety|250|9|9th
20th|+15/+10/+5|+12|+6|+6|Enduring Change, Regulated Metabolism (+5)|343|11|9th
Class Skills (4 + Int modifier, x4 at 1st level): Autohypnosis, Climb, Concentration, Craft, Disguise, Heal, Intimidate, Jump, Knowledge (nature), Knowledge (psionics), Listen, Profession, Spot, Survival, and Swim.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Metabolists are proficient with the all simple weapons. They are also proficient with all natural attacks of any form they assume through a Formbound or Shapechanging power. Metabolists are not proficient with any armor or shields.

Power Points per Day: A metabolist’s ability to manifest powers is limited only by the power points he has available. His base daily allotment of power points is given on Table: The Metabolist. In addition, he receives bonus power points per day if he has a high Constitution score, if his race provides bonus power points, or through certain feats and items.

Power’s Known: A metabolist knows all the powers available to him in his class list up to his maximum level known, but on any given day only has access to as many powers as can be seen on Table: The Metabolist. Each day, when a metabolist rests to recover power points the character can choose to rotate one or more powers onto their powers known list so long as they rotate an equal number of powers off of their known powers list to end up at the total on Table: The Metabolist. Each power rotated in this manner must be found on the metabolist’s class list. Essentially, the metabolist knows their entire class list of powers but must choose each day a small subset of those powers to be available for the day. A metabolist who wishes to make use of a class feature that keys off of the Formbound descriptor must have at least one Formbound power selected as available for the day. The feats Expanded Knowledge and Epic Expanded Knowledge allow a metabolist to learn powers on other class lists, but any powers chosen this way must be within the discipline of psychometabolism, or the subdisciplines of Healing or Shapechanging, and are not eligible to be switched out after each rest. This is an exception to the feat's description. To manifest a power, the metabolist's Constitution score must be 10 + the power's level. The Difficulty Class for saving throws against the metabolist’s powers is 10 + the power’s level + the metabolist’s Constitution modifier.

Psionic Body (Ex): At 1st level a metabolist gains access to the Psionic Body feat.

Rapid Metabolism (Ex): At 2nd level, the metabolist gains the Rapid Metabolism feat.

Regulated Metabolism (Ex): At 4th level, the metabolist has learned to carefully control the changes in her body, enabling her to make her powers last longer. Her manifester level for personal range psychometabolism powers is considered one higher for the purposes of calculating power duration. This bonus increases by one every four levels beyond 4th.

Formbinder (Ex): At 5th level a metabolist gains access to the Formbinder (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/formbinder)feat.

Superior Assume Form (Ex): At 7th level the metabolist gains the following augments to the assume form power:
• If you spend an additional 6 power points, this power’s duration becomes “1 hour (D)”.
• If you spend an additional 2 power points, you gain all the natural and extraordinary senses of the form you assume, including blindsense, blindsight, darkvision, lowlight vision, scent, and tremorsense as applicable. You also gain the creature’s racial bonuses on skill checks.

Superior Animal Affinity (Ex): At 11th level, the metabolist can manifest the animal affinity power with the following additional augments:
1. For an additional 6 power points, this power’s duration becomes “1 hour (D)”.
2. If you spend one additional power point, you gain a +2 competence bonus to whichever physical ability score(s) animal affinity is providing an enhancement bonus to. Every additional power point spent increases this bonus by 2. This competence bonus cannot increase an ability score beyond the norm for whatever form you are in. For instance, this augment provides no additional benefit if you are in your normal form. If you assume the form of a stronger creature, this augment may allow you to increase your Strength to any value up to that form's strength. This benefit is redetermined each time you change shape.

Master Formbinder (Ex): At 12th level, the metabolist gains the Master Formbinder (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/master-formbinder) feat, even if she doesn't meet the prerequisites.

Superior Assume Ability (Ex): At 14th level, the metabolist can manifest assume ability with the following additional augments.
1. For an additional 6 power points, this power’s duration becomes “1 hour (D)”
2. For every additional power point you spend, you may assume an additional extraordinary ability of the imprinted creature. This augment supersedes assume ability's existing augment.

Extended Change (Ex): At 15th level the duration of the metabolist’s assume form power changes to “1 min / level (D)”.

Infinite Variety (Ex): At 17th level, the metabolist is no longer restricted to adopting the abilities of a single creature at a time. When manifesting Formbound powers of the Shapechanging subdiscipline while under an effect that grants another creature’s form, the savant can choose a different imprinted creature than the one that she is currently transformed into, ignoring the restrictions of the power.

Enduring Change (Ex): At 20th level, the metabolist can manifest assume form with the following augment:
1. For an additional 10 power points, this power's duration changes to “Permanent (D)”.

Metabolist Powers

Sourcebooks: CP - Complete Psionic, FM - Formbound Mysteries, WM - High Psionics: The Worldthought Medic, UP - Untapped Potential
Adrenaline BoostA CP
Assume Natural AttackA FM
Bite of the Wolf (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/bite-of-the-wolf)A
Claws of the Beast (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/claws-of-the-beast)A
Compression (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/compression)A
Expansion (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/expansion)A
Grip of Iron (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/grip-of-iron)A
Hammer (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/hammer)A
Mending Touch (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/mending-touch)A
Metaphysical Claw (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/metaphysical-claw)A
Vigor (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/vigor)A
Prevenom (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/prevenom)A
Synesthete (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/synesthete)
Thicken Skin (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/thicken-skin)A

Animal Affinity (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/animal-affinity)A
Biofeedback (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/biofeedback)A
Body Adjustment (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/body-adjustment)A
Body Equilibrium (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/body-equilibrium)
Chameleon (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/chameleon)
Elfsight (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/elfsight)
Everyman (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/everyman)A
Malleable Form (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/malleable-form)A
Psionic Scent (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/psionic-scent)
Secure Life UP
Strength of My Enemy (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/strength-of-my-enemy)A
Sustenance (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/sustenance)

Assume Form (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/assume-form)A
Bloody MurderA (new power)
Body Purification (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/body-purification)
Duodimensional Claw (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/duodimensional-claw)
Endorphin Surge (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/endorphin-surge)
Energy Adaptation, Specified (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/energy-adaptation-specified)A
Hustle (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/hustle)
Painful Strike (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/painful-strike)A
Physical Acceleration (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/physical-acceleration)A
Psionic Lion’s Charge (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/psionic-lion-s-charge)A
Touchsight (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/touchsight)A

Bestow FormA FM
Claws of the Vampire (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/claws-of-the-vampire)
Energy Adaptation (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/energy-adaptation)A
Exhalation of the Black Dragon (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/exhalation-of-the-black-dragon)A
Graft Weapon (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/graft-weapon)
Inanimate Transformation (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/inanimate-transformation)
Morphic (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/morphic)A
Psychic Vampire (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/psychic-vampire)
Wither (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/wither)A

Adapt Body (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/adapt-body)
Assume Ability (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/assume-ability)A
Dissolving Touch (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/dissolving-touch)A
Impose FormA FM
Psionic Revivify (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/psionic-revivify)A,X
Psychofeedback (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/psychofeedback)
Restore Extremity (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/restore-extremity)
Truevenom (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/truevenom)

Defer Fatality
Fuse Flesh (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/fuse-flesh)A
Heal Injuries
Restoration, Psionic (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/restoration-psionic)
Suspend Life (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/suspend-life)
Zealous Fury (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/zealous-fury)A

Evade Burst (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/evade-burst)
Fission (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/fission)
Oak Body (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/oak-body)

Form of Doom (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/form-of-doom)A
Fusion (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/fusion)X
True Metabolism (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/true-metabolism)
Breath of the Black Dragon (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/breath-of-the-black-dragon)A

Assimilate (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/assimilate)
Fluidic Form (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/fluidic-form)
Fusion, Hostile (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/fusion-hostile)X
Regenerative Aura (http://dsp-d20-srd.wikidot.com/regenerative-aura)

New Feats

Flexible Metabolism
Prerequisite: Wis 13, Metabolist

Choose a power of any level up to the highest-level power you can manifest from the metabolist power list. This power no longer counts towards your daily limit of powers known.

Special: You can gain this feat multiple times.

New Powers

Bloody Murder
Level: Egoist 3, Metabolist 3, Psychic Warrior 2
Display: Olfactory, Visual (see text)
Manifesting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Personal
Target: You
Duration: 1 round/level (D)
Power Points: Egoist 5, Metabolist 5, Psychic Warrior 3

The smell of blood unlocks the feral part of your mind, and your eyes become bloodshot with murderous rage. You gain a +2 morale bonus to Strength and Constitution, a +1 morale bonus on Will saves, and a -2 penalty to AC. The effect is otherwise identical to a barbarian’s rage, except that you aren’t fatigued at the end of the rage.

Augment: For every 6 additional power points you spend, the bonus to Strength and Constitution increases by 2, and the bonus to Will saves increases by 1.

EDIT 1/28/10: Cleaning up, started adding links to powers.
EDIT 1/29/10: Moved Superior Assume Form to 7th level. Removed Complete Psionics powers, finished adding links to powers.

2010-01-28, 05:07 PM
Possible Changes:

As much as I like Extended Change and Enduring Change, I'm thinking the class is a bit too shapechange-focused and it needs a bit more emphasis on self-healing through class features.
Along the above lines, I am considering one or more of the following:

Engage Metabolism: As a swift action, the metabolist can put her body's natural healing process into high gear, gaining Fast Healing 1. This ability increases in potence as the metabolist gains levels, increasing by one for every 5 class levels. The metabolist can use this ability for a number of rounds per day equal to her class level plus her Constitution modifier.
Perfect Metabolism: At 20th level, the metabolist has perfected the healing processes of her own body. She gains Regeneration 1, but is affected normally by fire or acid damage.

Should this class have d8 hit die?
I would like to have high Fort and Will saves, but I want input on this idea.

2010-01-28, 11:57 PM
First off, I really like the idea of the class. It's very flavorful and makes for a neat psionic class.

However, as it stands, it feels incredibly unbalanced with the standard XPH classes. It is to the psychic warrior as the druid is to most melee characters. It has the same BAB as the PW, 9th-level powers as opposed to 6th, anywhere from 2 to 5 times as many power points, more skill points, and more class features. The only pros a psychic warrior had compared to the metabolist is a slightly larger Hit Die and more weapon/armor proficiencies. And when you take into account that the metabolist a) casts off Constitution and b) will be using natural weapons 95% of the time, even those small advantages melt away.

The first thing I'd recommend is either changing the casting stat from Constitution over to Wisdom, or possibly making both stats casting stats (power levels/bonus PP off Con, power DC off Wis). As it stands, the metabolist only cares about Constitution. His shapeshifting, even modified, reduces the need for Dex and Str, and he has no use for any mental stat.

The second thing I'd suggest is reducing him to a partial manifester like the psychic warrior. If his main role is that of a front-line combatant, the full manifesting is overkill. Rescaling his power progression and PP per level to be more in line with the PW would help balance him out.

On a lesser note, you might want to spread the class's dead levels out more. You have two or three levels in a row with class features, followed by two without. Adjusting the level of some of those features up or down one would make it better for actual play.

2010-01-29, 12:43 AM
Thank you for the feedback, Khabeum! Let me address you comments paragraph by paragraph.

Yes, he does initially seem far more powerful than the Psychic Warrior. However, there are a few mitigating circumstances. First of all, the Psychic Warrior gets a restricted power list, but he also gets many powers at lower level, aka sooner and for less PP. This offsets the higher power level and PP somewhat -- ia metabolist simply has to pay more for an equivalent effect. This has the side effect of allowing less augmenting -- Breath of the Black Dragon is a 6th level power for a psychic warrior, so he can augment it with an additional 9PP, but a metabolist can only thow in another 5PP, despite getting the power at the same level. Second, the power list for the metabolist is *extremely* restrictive-- they can't even manifest detect psionics! This has the effect, for example, of never being able to manifest inertial armor-- metabolists have no armor proficiencies, and any armor worn becomes non-functional when they change shape (read assume form carefully). At the expense of never having any access to utility powers outside of psychometabolism, the metabolist can manifest powers within the discipline quite well.

EDIT: Actually, the class was based on a Wilder -- 3/4 BAB, d6 HD, 1 good save, 4 skills per level, full manifesting. Restrict the power list, remove class abilities, add some additional augmentations to 3 specific powers and the ability to change powers, and boom!, you have a Metabolist.

As for manifesting stats, I really wanted CON for flavor-- note that very very few psychometabolism powers even have a save DC, so that's a non-issue. Furthermore, assume form does *not* replace your physical stats, making Str and Dex very important for a metabolist!

I don't think making the metabolist a half-caster would work, since all of the crucial shapechanging powers are at least 3rd level.

As for dead levels -- yeah, I know! I'm posting here to get ideas on how to make this class more exciting to take!

Again, thanks!

2010-01-29, 07:17 AM
Dead levels for this class only really exist when you don't gain a Psionic power. Levels that grant NO abilities are dead levels...

As it is, you probably only have to shift a couple of the abilities one or two levels up or down to balance out most of this; you've doubled up, which in itself is not a great design practice and it makes your stock of abilities seem smaller than it actually is.

2010-01-29, 10:36 AM
Dead levels for this class only really exist when you don't gain a Psionic power. Levels that grant NO abilities are dead levels...

As it is, you probably only have to shift a couple of the abilities one or two levels up or down to balance out most of this; you've doubled up, which in itself is not a great design practice and it makes your stock of abilities seem smaller than it actually is.

Actually, on even levels metabolists get more powers per day, and on odd levels new levels of powers. Since they can change out powers daily, you're pretty much getting something every level.

However, I did forget to move Superior Assume Form to 7th. Fixing that now.