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View Full Version : [3.5 Base Class] Protean Adept



Zaydos
2011-06-04, 12:43 AM
Balance Point: I'm aiming for tier 4 to 6.

Intent: I made a, hopefully, tier 2 class with a similar focus and abilities (Form Shifter (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=201430)) and this was originally intended as an NPC class counterpart, similar to Adept compared to full casters. If it's usable in a low op or low tier game that's a cherry on top. As such the intent is a flavorfully different approach to the same concept, a shapeshifting base class, and one that isn't on par with tier 3s that do the same thing (wildshape ranger) or a druid with shapechange.

Fluff (spoilered due to length, and to make ignoring it easier for those who prefer to do so)

Protean Adepts are students of form magic, using specially prepared cards to contain the essence of the shapes they will assume and to focus and channel the transformational energy. Where Form Shifters internalize their power, taking into themselves as if it were a natural portion of their very being, Protean Adepts gain their powers through dedication and training, unlocking new forms and shapes through a detailed understanding of this new shape. In short they are those who push on towards a mastery of Form Magic while having no talent for it.

Adventures: Protean Adepts typically adventure to learn more of their art; for there are few better ways to learn all there is to learn about a creature than by meeting one. Protean Adepts can also adventure out of greed, a noble cause, or other such common motivations.

Characteristics: Protean Adepts have varied powers just as they have varied forms. They gain the ability to physically replicate the forms of select creatures, and eventually even summon them to do battle. A Protean Adept can fight in melee, although their actual role will be dependent upon what forms they select and could just as easily be that of a scout.

Alignment: Protean Adepts typically lean towards Lawful as theirs is a road of hard-earned discipline and study. As those who desire power are more likely to set forth to obtain it, and Evil characters are more likely to hunger for power, they lean somewhat towards Evil. These are merely inclinations, and many exist which are neither Lawful nor Evil.

Religion: Protean Adepts as a whole are as diverse religiously as any others. Those who do serve gods typically graviate towards gods of knowledge and magic. In the default pantheon Boccob is the most common god for a Protean Adept to worship; although evil Protean Adepts often serve Vecna.

Background: Protean Adepts learn their trade through years of practice. Usually this is through an aprenticeship, one man teaching another and handing down the techniques of their craft. Occassionally a particularly powerful or knowledgeable Protean Adept, or Form Shifter, will found a college or school to teach these arts in a large city.

Races: Humans are perhaps the most common Protean Adepts, their adaptability and tenacity which allows them to prosper despite difficulties aiding them greatly in their pursuit. Elves are thought to have invented the art and many study and master it as their lack of physical toughness makes the internalized powers of a Form Shifter more difficult. Gnomes are also common, their natural talent for magic, and general hardiness all make them talented and skilled with Form Magic. Some dwarves take to the art, but few have the inclination to give up their form for another's; even so many find the internalization of a Form Shifter somehow disturbing and even though they have the talent only become Protean Adept's instead. Halflings rarely become Protean Adepts.

Other Classes: Protean Adepts have a special respect for wizards, who have a similar devotion and dedication to their craft. They also respect the power of fighters and barbarians in martial combat, knowing that having an ally beside you is a valuable thing when fighting against the various creatures they encounter and study. Bards are sought out as fonts of strange tales and knowledge that might prove important in the long term to their own studies. They feel a similarity of sorts with druids, even though the two use quite different forms of transformation. Protean Adepts do not get along well with clerics, as some clerics find Protean Adepts' ability to assume the form of celestials as a blasphemy.

Role: Protean Adepts' forms allow them to perform as secondary melee or scouts.

Abilities: Constitution determines how freely you can divide up your time in a given form, and how much damage you can take without dying. Charisma determines how hard many of your forms' powers are to resist (the others are determined by that formís Constitution), as well as your skill at disguise, making it their other main priority. Intelligence is useful for knowledge about the various creatures you turn into and encounter, and as such is often a high stat. Wisdom determines your resistance to mental effects and is important to protect your mind. Dexterity determines your reaction time in your natural form, and Strength determines your combat ability if you remain in your natural form; these are important to beginning Protean Adepts as they cannot rely on remaining in an assumed form for long.


Protean Adept
{table=head]Level|Base Attack<br>Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special

1st|
+0|
+0|
+0|
+2| Specialized Form I, Form Cards

2nd|
+1|
+0|
+0|
+3|Catalouge of Beasts

3rd|
+1|
+1|
+1|
+3|Skill Focus

4th|
+2|
+1|
+1|
+4|Specialized Form II

5th|
+2|
+1|
+1|
+4| Beastís Tongue

6th|
+3|
+2|
+2|
+5|Invoke Form

7th|
+3|
+2|
+2|
+5|Specialized Form III

8th|
+4|
+2|
+2|
+6|Quickened Changed

9th|
+4|
+3|
+3|
+6|Skill Focus

10th|
+5|
+3|
+3|
+7|Specialized Form IV

11th|
+5|
+3|
+3|
+7| Summon Trump

12th|
+6|
+4|
+4|
+8|-

13th|
+6|
+4|
+4|
+8|Specialized Form V

14th|
+7|
+4|
+4|
+9|Effortless Change

15th|
+7|
+5|
+5|
+9|Skill Focus

16th|
+8|
+5|
+5|
+10|Specialized Form VI

17th|
+8|
+5|
+5|
+10|-

18th|
+9|
+6|
+6|
+11|Evershifting

19th|
+9|
+6|
+6|
+11|Specialized Form VII

20th|
+10|
+6|
+6|
+12|-[/table]

HD type d6.

Skill Points per Level: 4 + Int

Class Skills: Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Disguise (Cha), Gather Information (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Int), Knowledge (any, all skills taken individually) (Int), Move Silently (Dex), Listen (Wis), Profession (Wis), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), and Swim (Str).

Weapons and Armor Proficiencies: A Protean Adept is proficient in daggers, clubs. quarterstaffs, and light and heavy crossbows. They are also proficient in light armor, but not in shields.

Specialized Form (Su): A Protean Adept has the ability to take on several forms. Unlike Form Shifters who internalize these shapes, Protean Adepts must keep the essence of these shapes in cards (see below) which you study on a daily basis. Due to this your ability to take Specialized Forms differs from that of a Form Shifter in several ways. You begin only with Tier 1 forms, but at 4th level, and every 3rd level afterwards, you gain a new tier of forms till you gain Tier 7 forms at 19th level. The appearance of each of these forms is set when you first obtain it, and once you have selected a form it cannot be changed. You gain Ex and Su abilities of the forms assumed through this ability, but lose your own racial Ex and Su abilities when doing so. Assuming a specialized form is a full round action and you may retain it for up to 1 minute per class level per day, although this time does not have to be continuous you may only assume the same form a number of times per day equal to your Constitution modifier in your natural form (so if you have a +5 Con, you could take it for 2 rounds/class level on 5 different occasions); you may remain in each Tier 1 form for up to 1 hour per class level per day instead of a mere minute. Unlike with a Form Shifter, returning to your natural form is a free action. Any items worn during the transformation are integrated into you and become non-functional.

Limitations:
If assuming the form of a mindless creature, or a creature immune to mind-affecting effects by virtue of its type, you gain neither mindless nor immunity to mind-affecting effects.
If assuming the form of an undead creature you become vulnerable to turn/rebuke undead, and do not gain any create spawn ability.
You never gain any spellcasting, or spell-like abilities of the creature.
Should the creature have Spell Resistance greater than your class level +10 its spell resistance is reduced accordingly (this includes the magic immunity of golems which simply becomes SR 10 + character level).
Damage Reduction granted by a form is limited to your character level/X.
If you would gain Damage Reduction that is penetrable by your alignment then it becomes your alignment or the opposite alignment. For example if a good aligned Protean Adept turned into a Lemure (DR 5/silver or good) they would have DR 5/silver or good or evil, if he had changed into a rakshasha (DR 15/piercing and good) he would have DR 15/piercing and evil or piercing and good. If the form has regeneration penetrable by spells or weapons of your alignment then it is also penetrable by those of the opposing alignment; for example if the same Protean Adept assumed the form of an ice devil he would have DR 10/good or evil and regeneration which functions against all damage which is not good or evil.

Available form:
I (1st level):
Wolf
Dire Rat
Light Warhorse
Riding Dog
Medium Viper
Small Fire Elemental
Small Water Elemental
Medium Monstrous Scorpion
Medium Monstrous Spider
Wolf Skeleton
Giant Ant Worker
Small Animate Object (hardness 0 objects that may have one of blind or constrict only, does not gain mindless or immunity to mind-affecting effects)
Gnoll
Merfolk
Stirge
Medium Shark
Badger (may not activate or deactivate Augmented Form, or use Assume Form, Specialized Form, or return to your natural form while raging; this rage lasts up to 7 rounds)
Githyanki
Githzerai
Aasimar
Tiefling

II (4th level):
Hell Hound
Dretch
Nixie
Deinonychous
Black Bear
Giant Ant Solider
Constrictor Snake
Ogre Zombie
Large Monstrous Spider
Medium or Large Animate Object (hardness 5 or lower materials only, non-wheeled objects only, no more than one of blind, constrict, or improved speed; may not choose tall objects if large; does not gain mindless or immunity to mind-affecting effects)
Bugbear
Darkmantle
Lemure
Dire Badger (may not activate or deactivate Augmented Form, or use Assume Form, Specialized Form, or return to your natural form while raging; this rage lasts up to 9 rounds)
Dire Weasel
Grick
Ochre Jelly (loses Split ability)
Sahaugin
Skum
Grig
Troglodyte
Worg
Yuan-ti Pureblood
Crocodile
Leopard
Large Shark
Wolverine (may not activate or deactivate Augmented Form, or use Assume Form, Specialized Form, or return to your natural form while raging; this rage lasts up to 9 rounds)
Huge Viper (snake)
Pseudodragon (must be Good)
Otyugh
Medium Elemental (Fire or Water)

III (7th level):
Giant Owl
Owlbear
Giant Wasp
Unicorn
Dire Wolf
Lion
Dire Bat
Griffon
Blink Dog
Giant Eagle
Rust Monster
Giant Praying Mantis
Phantom Fungus
Violet Fungus
Gray Render Zombie
Medium Elemental (Air, or Earth)
Large Elemental (Fire or Water)
Large Monstrous Scorpion
Mind Flayer
Pegasus
Large Animate Object (hardness 5 or lower materials only; it may have either blind and constrict, or improved speed/wheels; does not gain mindless or immunity to mind-affecting effects)
Displacer Beast
Gargoyle
Janni
Green Hag
Hippogriff
Homunculus
Magmin
Black Pudding (loses Split ability)
Thoqqua
Wight
Winter Wolf
Yuan-ti Half-blood
Huge Shark
Very Young White Dragon
Wyrmling Blue Dragon
Wyrmling Green Dragon
Very Young Black Dragon
Ogre
Drider
Pixie
Coatl (loses Ethereal Jaunt)
Brown Bear
Polar Bear
Rhinocerous
Giant Stag Beetle
Djinni

IV (10th level):
Minotaur
Dire Lion
Giant Constrictor Snake
Wyvern
Succubus
Hound Archon
Huge Monstrous Spider
Rakshasha
Chimera
Hellcat
Dire Wolverine (may not activate or deactivate Augmented Form, or use Assume Form, Specialized Form, or return to your natural form while raging; this rage lasts up to 9 rounds)
Dragonne
Bralani Eladrin
Large Elemental (Air, or Earth)
Gray Render
Annis
Mummy
Dark Naga
Spider Eater
Giant Constrictor Snake
Very Young Copper Dragon
Wyrmling Gold Dragon
Young White Dragon
Wyrmling Red Dragon
Very Young Blue Dragon
Very Young Green Dragon
Young Black Dragon
Hill Giant
Efreeti
Flesh Golem
Night Hag (does not get a heartstone)

V (13th level):
Chain Devil
Bone Devil
Gargantuan Monstrous Spider
Lammasu
Troll
Huge Monstrous Scorpion
Bulette
Elasmosaurus
Megaraptor
Dire Tiger
Dire Bear
Huge Elemental (Air, Earth, Fire, or Water each taken separately)
Ettin
Harpy
Invisible Stalker
Lamia
Guardian Naga
Spirit Naga
Ogre Mage
Elder Black Pudding (loses Split ability)
Yuan-ti Abomination
Elephant
Giant Crocodile
Orca
Young Copper Dragon
Very Young Gold Dragon
Juvenile White Dragon
Very Young Red Dragon
Young Blue Dragon
Young Green Dragon
Juvenile Black Dragon
Young Bronze Dragon
Erinyes
Avoral
Red Slaad
Tyrannosaurus
Triceratops
Stone Giant
Clay Golem

VI (16th level)
Hezrou
Trumpet Archon (does not get trumpet)
Barbed Devil
Treant
Dragon Turtle
Greater Elemental (Select one)
Young Adult White Dragon
Juvenile Copper Dragon
Nymph
Roc
Ice Devil
Blue Slaad
Leonal (CL for roarís Holy Word effect is character level -3)
Ghaele Eladrin
Gorgon
Fire Giant
Frost Giant
Stone Golem
Umberhulk
Will-o'-wisp
Athach
Gargantuan Monstrous Scorpion
Colossal Monstrous Spider

VII (19th level)
Kolyarut Inevitable
Death Slaad
Cloud Giant
Frost Worm
Elder Elemental (Select one)
Mohrg
Purple Worm
Iron Golem
Young Gold Dragon
Young Red Dragon
Juvenile Blue Dragon
Juvenile Green Dragon
Young Adult Black Dragon
Juvenile Bronze Dragon
Young Silver Dragon
Juvenile Brass Dragon
Gauth Beholderkin
Colossal Monstrous Scorpion
Nightwing

Form Cards: Unlike a Form Shifter, who can naturally transform, a Protean Adept requires a deck of special illustrated cards which contain the essence of the creatures they desire to transform into. From this deck they must select a set of trumps, doing so requires 1 hour of meditation and must be done after resting for 8 or more hours. If they do not prepare in this way then they retain any left over time and transformations from the day before, but do not regain any and cannot change which forms are available to them. These trumps represent which forms they may transform into on that day, a select subset of their deck. To add a new form to their deck requires them to permanently sacrifice a form of the same tier from their deck, and they must either have anotherís form card of that creature or a piece of flesh or bone from such a creature. Even so the materials to create a card cost 500 GP per tier, and the act of imbuing it with transformational energy costs 300 XP per tier; a Wish spell can be used to change up to 1 card of each tier without having a copy or creature. They may create their cards gained from level up, which is equal to their maximum number of forms known, at no cost. If they lose a card they may recreate it from memory at a cost of 500 GP per tier.

To facilitate making these cards a Protean Adept gains 1 rank in Craft (painting) per level, 4 at their first level in this class. This may never increase their ranks in this skill above their maximum ranks.

The table spoilered below shows how many cards of each tier they have in their deck, and in parenthesis how many trumps they may select from the deck each day.

{table=head]Level|1|2|3|4|5|6|7

1st|
3 (2)|
-|
-|
-|
-|
-|-

2nd|
4 (2)|
-|
-|
-|
-|
-|-
3rd|
5 (2)|
-|
-|
-|
-|
-|-
4th|
6 (2)|
2 (1)|
-|
-|
-|
-|-
5th|
6 (2)|
3 (1)|
-|
-|
-|
-|-
6th|
7 (2)|
4 (2)|
-|
-|
-|
-|-
7th|
7 (3)|
5 (2)|
2 (1)|
-|
-|
-|-
8th|
7 (3)|
6 (2)|
3 (1)|
-|
-|
-|-
9th|
8 (3)|
6 (2)|
4 (1)|
-|
-|
-|-
10th|
8 (4)|
7 (3)|
5 (1)|
2 (1)|
-|
-|-
11th|
8 (4)|
7 (3)|
6 (1)|
3 (1)|
-|
-|-
12th|
9 (4)|
8 (3)|
7 (1)|
4 (1)|
-|
-|-
13th|
9 (5)|
8 (4)|
8 (2)|
5 (1)|
2 (1)|
-|-
14th|
9 (5)|
8 (4)|
8 (2)|
6 (1)|
3 (1)|
-|-
15th|
9 (5)|
9 (4)|
8 (2)|
7 (1)|
4 (1)|
-|-
16th|
9 (6)|
9 (5)|
8 (3)|
8 (2)|
5 (1)|
2 (1)|-
17th|
10 (6)|
9 (5)|
9 (3)|
8 (2)|
6 (1)|
3 (1)|-
18th|
10 (6)|
9 (5)|
9 (3)|
8 (2)|
7 (1)|
4 (1)|-
19th|
10 (6)|
10 (5)|
9 (4)|
9 (3)|
8 (2)|
5 (1)|2 (1)
20th|
10 (6)|
10 (5)|
9 (4)|
9 (3)|
9 (2)|
6 (1)|4 (1)[/table]

Catalouge of Beasts (Ex): A Protean Adept's knowledge of the various monsters that make up their world is amongst the finest found throughout it. At 2nd level you gain a +5 to all Knowledge checks made to identify a creature, but not knowledge checks made for another purpose.

Skill Focus (Ex): A Protean Adept studies creatures widely. At 3rd, 9th, and 15th level they gain Skill Focus as a bonus feat. They must select one of the following Knowledge skills: Arcana, Dungeoneering, Local, Nature, Religion, or the Planes.

Beastís Tongue (Ex): Beginning at 5th level you may talk while within any specialized form you assume, even if the creature could not normally speak.

Invoke Form (Su): Beginning at 6th level, as a swift action, you may assume the form of any creature whose card you possess, even one whose trump you have not prepared or which is not in your deck, as long as you have its card in hand or melded into your current form and it is of a tier available to you. You lose all your racial Extraordinary and Supernatural abilities, but gain all those of the form you change into as well as its physical ability scores and abilities (you do not gain spell casting or Spell-like abilities). Doing so causes 1 point of Con burn per round, or portion of a round, the form is maintained.

Quick Change: Beginning at 8th level you may use Specialized Forms more quickly. It is now a Standard action to change into or out of one of your Specialized Forms.

Summon Trump (Su): As a standard action you may summon a creature from a trump you hold that is below your highest tier (it must be in hand, it may not be assumed into your form). If you do so you can no longer transform into that creature until you once again prepare your trumps. The creature remains summoned up to 1 minute per class level, and can only be summoned once per day. It acts in all regards as a summoned creature native to whatever plane you are from. You experience all things the creature experiences and can see through its eyes and ears as well as have complete control over its actions. The creature uses your Will saves, but if either of you fail a Will saving throw you both are affected by the effect; if you both have to make a Will save against the same effect you make 1 saving throw for both. The creature uses your Skill Ranks instead of its own.

Effortless Change: At 14th level you may use a Specialized Form as a Swift Action, although you may only use it once per turn.

Evershifting: Beginning at 18th level you may now remain in a Specialized Form indefinitely and may transform into one any number of times per day. You still must prepare it as a trump.

PersonMan
2011-06-04, 06:08 AM
Looking over it at the moment, the first thing that jumped out at my is that you forgot a [/table] tag on your Form Cards table.

Adding in the tag, it doesn't seem like the table works right, either...

I'm not entirely sure if this is right, but it seems like this more what you wanted:

{table=head]Level|Tier 1|Tier 2|Tier 3|Tier 4|Tier 5|Tier 6|Tier 7
1|3(2)|-|-|-|-|-|-|
2|4(2)|-|-|-|-|-|-|
3|5(2)|-|-|-|-|-|-|
4|6(2)|2(1)|-|-|-|-|-|
5|6(2)|3(1)|-|-|-|-|-|
6|7(2)|4(2)|-|-|-|-|-|
7|7(3)|5(2)|2(1)|-|-|-|-|
8|7(3)|6(2)|3(1)|-|-|-|-|
9|8(3)|6(2)|4(1)|-|-|-|-|
10|8(3)|7(3)|5(1)|2(1)|-|-|-|
11|8(4)|7(3)|6(1)|3(1)|-|-|-|
12|9(4)|8(3)|7(1)|4(1)|-|-|-|
13|9(5)|8(4)|8(2)|5(1)|2(1)|-|-|
14|9(5)|8(4)|8(2)|6(1)|3(1)|-|-|
15|9(5)|9(4)|8(2)|7(1)|4(1)|-|-|
16|9(6)|9(5)|8(3)|8(2)|5(1)|2(1)|-|
17|10(6)|9(5)|9(3)|8(2)|6(1)|3(1)|-|
18|10(6)|9(5)|9(3)|8(2)|7(1)|4(1)|-|
19|10(6)|10(5)|9(4)|9(3)|8(2)|5(1)|2(1)|
20|10(6)|10(5)|9(4)|9(3)|9(2)|6(1)|4(1)|[/table]

The rest of the class seems good, but I'm not really sure about some things with the shapeshifting ability.


Assuming a specialized form is a full round action and you may retain it for up to 1 minute per class level per day, although this time does not have to be continuous you may only assume the same form a number of times per day equal to your Constitution modifier in your natural form (so if you have a +5 Con, you could take it for 2 rounds/class level on 5 different occasions); you may remain in Tier 1 forms for up to 1 hour per class level per day instead of a mere minute. Unlike with a Form Shifter, returning to your natural form is a free action.

Does this mean that, once you select your trumps, you can assume each form for 1 minute/class level, or that you can spend 1 minute/class level in each tier of forms apart from 1?

Zaydos
2011-06-04, 11:17 AM
Looking over it at the moment, the first thing that jumped out at my is that you forgot a [/table] tag on your Form Cards table.

Adding in the tag, it doesn't seem like the table works right, either...

I'm not entirely sure if this is right, but it seems like this more what you wanted:

{table=head]Level|Tier 1|Tier 2|Tier 3|Tier 4|Tier 5|Tier 6|Tier 7
1|3(2)|-|-|-|-|-|-|
2|4(2)|-|-|-|-|-|-|
3|5(2)|-|-|-|-|-|-|
4|6(2)|2(1)|-|-|-|-|-|
5|6(2)|3(1)|-|-|-|-|-|
6|7(2)|4(2)|-|-|-|-|-|
7|7(3)|5(2)|2(1)|-|-|-|-|
8|7(3)|6(2)|3(1)|-|-|-|-|
9|8(3)|6(2)|4(1)|-|-|-|-|
10|8(3)|7(3)|5(1)|2(1)|-|-|-|
11|8(4)|7(3)|6(1)|3(1)|-|-|-|
12|9(4)|8(3)|7(1)|4(1)|-|-|-|
13|9(5)|8(4)|8(2)|5(1)|2(1)|-|-|
14|9(5)|8(4)|8(2)|6(1)|3(1)|-|-|
15|9(5)|9(4)|8(2)|7(1)|4(1)|-|-|
16|9(6)|9(5)|8(3)|8(2)|5(1)|2(1)|-|
17|10(6)|9(5)|9(3)|8(2)|6(1)|3(1)|-|
18|10(6)|9(5)|9(3)|8(2)|7(1)|4(1)|-|
19|10(6)|10(5)|9(4)|9(3)|8(2)|5(1)|2(1)|
20|10(6)|10(5)|9(4)|9(3)|9(2)|6(1)|4(1)|[/table]

The rest of the class seems good, but I'm not really sure about some things with the shapeshifting ability.



Does this mean that, once you select your trumps, you can assume each form for 1 minute/class level, or that you can spend 1 minute/class level in each tier of forms apart from 1?

Thanks for the catch on the table and the awkward wording.

It's meant to be 1 minute/class level for each form so I changed it from


you may remain in Tier 1 forms for up to 1 hour per class level per day instead of a mere minute.

To:
you may remain in each Tier 1 form for up to 1 hour per class level per day instead of a mere minute.

Since I thought that was the part most likely to lead to confusion.

Thank you.