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NeoSeraphi
2011-10-16, 08:09 PM
So I've got a game coming up and I need a DM PC (partly because there's only three players, partly because I enjoy combat too much to just sit there and play the monsters who always lose).

To be clear: this character will never speak outside of combat, pretty much. He'll just stay with the party and fight when there's a fight. Otherwise, I want him to be completely stagnant, because I'm focusing on my players here.

Incidentally, here's the party: modified soulknife (full Int-based psychic warrior manifestation, can turn his mindblade into anything starting at level 1, trapfinding as a rogue and 6+Int skill points per level), warblade, and blaster/healer.

The approved sourcebooks: The Book of Vile Darkness, Champions of Ruin, and all true 3.5 material. (No Pathfinder, no 3rd party books, and no 3.0 material that got grandfathered in to 3.5 without proper updates other than the two books listed above)

The idea: I want a purely combat-based lycanthropic character. So I decided to change around the shapeshift druid from PHB II. So far, the chassis is d8 HD, 2+int skill points per level, with ranger class skills, full BAB and good Fort and Reflex saves.

The Proficiencies: No armor, proficient with all natural weapons it obtains, but no manufactured weapons.

The Class Features: As of right now, the Shapeshift mechanic and all forms that are listed with it in the PHB II (No spellcasting, no nature sense, no druid, period)

So that leaves me with plenty of dead levels. Dead levels are fine with me, but in order to make this feel more like a class I'd like to have some other class features to flesh it out besides shapeshift, and possibly some other forms. (I don't want a scout form or a disguise form or a swimmer, combat forms only)

Any suggestions? Starting level is 3, and the game takes place within the Nine Hells of Baator. Also, my character must be evil, of some kind.

NeoSeraphi
2011-10-16, 08:10 PM
Important: The mechanics listed below are all published and are the intellectual property of Wizards of the Coast. I do not claim to have invented them in any way.

All the following calculations assume a base creature of Medium size.

HD: d8

Class Skills: The shapeshifter's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Knowledge (dungeoneering) (Int), Knowledge (geography) (Int), Knowledge (nature) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Search (Int), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str), and Use Rope (Dex).

Skill Points: 2+Int per level

{table=head]Level|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special

1st|+1|+2|+0|+2|Shapeshift, Predator Form, Body of the Beast

2nd|+2|+3|+0|+3|Eyes of the Beast

3rd|+3|+3|+1|+3|Track

4th|+4|+4|+1|+4|Improved Predator Form, Beast's Rage 1/day

5th|+5|+4|+1|+4|Aerial Form

6th|+6/+1|+5|+2|+5|

7th|+7/+2|+5|+2|+5|Improved Aerial Form

8th|+8/+3|+6|+2|+6|Ferocious Slayer Form, Beast's Rage 2/day

9th|+9/+4|+6|+3|+6|Pounce

10th|+10/+5|+7|+3|+7|Improved Ferocious Slayer Form

11th|+11/+6/+1|+7|+3|+7|Power of the Wild, Greater Beast's Rage

12th|+12/+7/+2|+8|+4|+8|Forest Avenger Form, Beast's Rage 3/day

13th|+13/+8/+3|+8|+4|+8|

14th|+14/+9/+4|+9|+4|+9|Improved Forest Avenger Form

15th|+15/+10/+5|+9|+5|+9|

16th|+16/+11/+6/+1|+10|+5|+10|Elemental Fury Form, Beast's Rage 4/day

17th|+17/+12/+7/+2|+10|+5|+10|

18th|+18/+13/+8/+3|+11|+6|+11|Improved Elemental Fury Form

19th|+19/+14/+9/+4|+11|+6|+11|

20th|+20/+15/+10/+5|+12|+6|+12|Might Beast's Rage, Beast's Rage 5/day

[/table]

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The shapeshifter is proficient with all natural weapons he acquires through his Shapeshift class feature. He is proficient with no manufactured weapons, armor or shields.

Shapeshift (Su): As the druid variant in the PHB II

Predator Form: While in predator form, you gain a bite attack that deals 1d6 damage. You have a reach of a long creature of your size. You gain a +4 enhancement bonus to your Strength score and your natural armor bonus improves by 4. Your base land speed becomes 50 feet. You gain the scent extraordinary quality. You gain a +4 racial bonus to Hide and Move Silently in this form.

Body of the Beast (Ex): A shapeshifter's control over his physical form often causes strange and interesting results. In addition to the bonus on attack and damage rolls from the shapeshift feature, the shapeshifter also gains a bonus to his natural armor score equal to 1/2 his class level (minimum +1) This bonus is enhanced by his shapeshifting as usual. (A level 1 human shapeshifter who assumed the predator form would have a +5 natural armor bonus)

The +1/4 levels bonus to attacks and damage from shapeshift now applies to each of the shapeshifter's saving throws.

Eyes of the Beast (Ex): The shapeshifter is a feral hunter, and his senses are more animal than man. Starting at 2nd level, the feral hunter gains the low-light vision special quality. If he already had low-light vision, he can now see three times as far as a human can in the twilit conditions, rather than twice as far.

Track (Ex): A 3rd level shapeshifter gains the Track feat as a bonus feat. He receives a +2 bonus per form he has access to on Survival checks made to follow tracks (for example, a 3rd level shapeshifter gains a +2 bonus on Survival checks from his predator form, while a 12th level shapeshifter gains a +8 bonus from his four different forms)

Improved Predator Form (Ex): At 4th level, you gain Mobility as a bonus feat while in predator form, ignoring prerequisites. You can also Sprint once per hour while in your predator form (as a cheetah). This hour-long cooldown cannot be reset or shortened by returning to your own form or changing forms.

Beast's Rage (Ex): While a shapeshifter goes feral, he can adopt the true fury of the animal and lose himself, allowing him to rage like a barbarian of his level once per day, but only when shifted. He gets an additional daily use of rage every 4 levels after 4th. This ability functions in every way like the barbarian's rage, except that it does not fatigue the shapeshifter. (When his rage ends, however, the shapeshifter is forcibly returned to his true form and must remain that way for one hour)

Aerial Form: At 5th level, you can assume an aerial form. While in aerial form, you gain a talon attack that deals 1d6 points of damage. You have reach of a long creature of your size. You gain a +2 enhancement bonus to your Strength and a +2 enhancement bonus to your Reflex saves. Your natural armor increases by +2. You gain a fly speed 40' with good maneuverability. You gain a +8 racial bonus to Spot checks in this form.

Improved Aerial Form (Ex): At 7th level, you gain the Flyby Attack feat while in Aerial Form.

Ferocious Slayer Form: At 8th level, you can assume a ferocious slayer form. While in a ferocious slayer form, you gain a primary bite that deals 1d8 points of damage, and two secondary claw attacks that deal 1d6 points of damage each. Your size increases by one step (to a maximum of Colossal) and you have reach for a long creature of your size. You gain a +8 enhancement bonus to your Strength, and a +4 enhancement bonus on Fortitude saves. Your natural armor improves by 8 and your movement speed changes to 40'. You gain the scent extraordinary quality.

Pounce (Ex): At 9th level, you may deliver a full attack at the end of a charge, as long as you are in any one of your shapeshift forms.

Improved Ferocious Slayer Form (Ex): At 10th level, you gain Improved Critical (Bite) and Improved Critical (Claw) while in ferocious slayer form, ignoring prerequisites. You also gain the Improved Grab ability, which functions on any creature you hit with your bite attack, regardless of size.

Power of the Wild (Ex): Starting at 11th level, the shapeshifter automatically deals damage with his natural weapons as if he were one size category larger, no matter what form he is in or how many natural weapons it has. (The damage values for the forms that come after this one do not take this class feature into account)

Greater Beast's Rage (Ex): Starting at 11th level, the bonus from Beast's Rage increases to +6 Str, +6 Con, +3 Will.

Forest Avenger Form: At 12th level, you can assume a forest avenger form. While in a forest avenger form, you gain a pair of primary slam attacks that deal 1d8 damage each. Your size increases by one category (to a maximum of Colossal) and you have reach for a tall creature of your size. You gain a +12 enhancement bonus to your Strength and a +4 enhancement bonus on Fortitude and Will saves. Your natural armor bonus improves by 12. Your base land speed becomes 20'. You gain fast healing equal to half your class level, rounded down.

You gain DR 5/Slashing while in forest avenger form.

Improved Forest Avenger Form (Ex): At 14th level, you gain the benefits of the Improved Overrun feat while in the forest avenger form, ignoring prerequisites. You also gain the Improved Grab special attack while you are in this form, which activates when you succeed on an attack with your slam attacks, regardless of the creature's size category. You also gain a constrict attack, which deals 2d6 damage plus 1 1/2 times your Strength on a successful grapple check.

Elemental Fury Form: At 16th level you gain access to the elemental fury form. Each time you shapeshift, you choose fire, earth, air or water and assume that form.

While in elemental fury form, you gain a pair of primary slam attacks that deal 2d6 points of damage each. Your size category increases by 2 (to a maximum of Colossal) and you have reach for a tall creature of your size. You gain a +16 enhancement bonus to your Strength, as well as a +4 enhancement bonus to Fortitude, Reflex and Will saves while in elemental fury form. Your natural armor bonus improves by 16, and your land speed remains the same as it was. You gain darkvision out to 60', or if you already had darkvision, your range of sight increases by 30'.

You gain immunity to critical hits, as well as immunity to the element of the chosen form (air = electricity, water = cold, fire = fire, earth = acid). You don't need to breathe while in elemental fury form.

Improved Elemental Fury Form (Ex): At 18th level, you gain Great Cleave as a bonus feat while in Elemental Fury form, ignoring prerequisites.

Mighty Beast's Rage (Ex): At 20th level, the shapeshifter's bonuses from Beast's Rage increase to +8 Str, +8 Con, +4 Will.

Grod_The_Giant
2011-10-16, 11:56 PM
I made a shapeshift variant of my Beastman class a while back (see my sig). A few suggestions you could steal:

*Pounce
*Natural Weapons count as magic/adamantine, at later levels.

Also, as I side note, I suggest giving him a Vow of Poverty, to avoid fights/guilt over loot. Don't even claim gold to donate to charity- deduct it from the treasure drops to preserve balance.

NeoSeraphi
2011-10-17, 12:29 AM
I made a shapeshift variant of my Beastman class a while back (see my sig). A few suggestions you could steal:

*Pounce
*Natural Weapons count as magic/adamantine, at later levels.

Also, as I side note, I suggest giving him a Vow of Poverty, to avoid fights/guilt over loot. Don't even claim gold to donate to charity- deduct it from the treasure drops to preserve balance.


My character must be evil of some kind

No VoP.

The shapeshift variant already grants magic natural weapons starting at 4th level. Pounce is interesting, and I suppose a Rake attack would be good too...Guess I'll put those in...

Edit: Wait, darn. Only my Ferocious Slayer form has claws. No rake attacks. But I put Pounce in at level 9.

jiriku
2011-10-17, 01:33 AM
Bamf! I have been summoned.

Scent. (in predator and ferocious slayer form)
Track as a bonus feat. (in predator and ferocious slayer form)
Bonuses to Survival when tracking by scent. (in predator and ferocious slayer form)
Low-light vision.
Bonuses to Spot in avian form.
Darkvision 60 ft in elemental form.
Level-based enhancement bonuses to attack, damage, AC, and saves in all forms (the granted natural AC doesn't compensate for the loss of gear, and unlike the druid, the character can't fill the gap with spells).

NeoSeraphi
2011-10-17, 01:40 AM
Bamf! I have been summoned.

Reading now. Will edit this post.

Scent. (in predator and ferocious slayer form)
Track as a bonus feat. (in predator and ferocious slayer form)
Bonuses to Survival when tracking by scent. (in predator and ferocious slayer form)
Low-light vision.
Bonuses to Spot in avian form.
Darkvision 60 ft in elemental form.
Level-based enhancement bonuses to attack, damage, AC, and saves in all forms (the granted natural AC doesn't compensate for the loss of gear, and unlike the druid, the character can't fill the gap with spells).

Still reading. Will continue to edit.

The shapeshift variant itself grants a +1/4 level enhancement bonus to attack and damage with all natural weapons (it's a giant wall of text that I did not feel like typing into this forum)

The rest of your suggestions all make great sense, editing now.

jiriku
2011-10-17, 01:45 AM
Improved Natural Attack for all natural weapons (at a high level) to help damage keep the pace.
Modest bonus to Hide and Move Silently in predator form.
Fast healing, possibly limited. Perhaps only in forest avenger form.
Improved Grab as an advancement for ferocious slayer form, and possibly forest avenger form as well. Possible additional advancement of Constrict for forest avenger form in this case.
Sprint (as cheetah) as an advancement for the predator form.
Capstone at level 20 to assume an elemental version of the predator, avian, ferocious slayer, or forest avenger form. Thus, a fire avian, water avenger, etc.. Would stack all benefits of both forms, (but still take the better of the two for non-stacking values such as natural armor or enhancement bonuses to Strength).

NeoSeraphi
2011-10-17, 02:00 AM
Improved Natural Attack for all natural weapons (at a high level) to help damage keep the pace.
Modest bonus to Hide and Move Silently in predator form.
Fast healing, possibly limited. Perhaps only in forest avenger form.
Improved Grab as an advancement for ferocious slayer form, and possibly forest avenger form as well. Possible additional advancement of Constrict for forest avenger form in this case.
Sprint (as cheetah) as an advancement for the predator form.
Capstone at level 20 to assume an elemental version of the predator, avian, ferocious slayer, or forest avenger form. Thus, a fire avian, water avenger, etc.. Would stack all benefits of both forms, (but still take the better of the two for non-stacking values such as natural armor or enhancement bonuses to Strength).

Okay, added all of those but the capstone (I really don't expect us to reach 20th level)

Thanks for your help jiriku!

YouLostMe
2011-10-17, 01:49 PM
Well, it's crying for active abilities... I don't know what those could be, though. I would suggest Tiger Claw maneuvers, but that's a no-no.

Let's see... bleed damage, bonus to bullrush, some sort of bloodscent/rage, poison, free readied actions to interrupt charges and melee attacks... that's all that I can think of.

NeoSeraphi
2011-10-17, 02:17 PM
Well, it's crying for active abilities... I don't know what those could be, though. I would suggest Tiger Claw maneuvers, but that's a no-no.

Let's see... bleed damage, bonus to bullrush, some sort of bloodscent/rage, poison, free readied actions to interrupt charges and melee attacks... that's all that I can think of.

I was actually thinking about making a serpent form for combat between 1st and 8th level, but as all of our enemies are going to be devils (and devils are immune to poison) that idea got scrapped.

As for active abilities, they aren't really important. I want to enjoy combat, but I personally love the idea of lycanthropy so much that the act of shifting and fighting as a beast is more than enough for me. The Improved Grab abilities and the Constrict will definitely give me plenty of options for higher level. (Plus, again, I'm a DM PC. I really want to find the right balance between PC and NPC, something effective, but not overly so, because A) attack options are much more real life time-consuming than just move and attack and B) I want to fight, but I don't want to kill, that's my players' jobs)

Your ideas are all good, it's just....really difficult to homebrew and critique something that is not supposed to stand out or be completely effective at its job. I mean, I'm basically trying to make a Tier 5 character that will simply be interesting enough.

The rage ability is nice though, so I'm going to add that in. Thank you!

Grod_The_Giant
2011-10-17, 02:28 PM
Also, it might not be a bad idea to drop the BAB and bump up the HD. The strength boosts from shapeshifting should make up for a lot of the loss, and the improved health will mean the PCs don't have to worry about you so much.

NeoSeraphi
2011-10-17, 02:32 PM
Also, it might not be a bad idea to drop the BAB and bump up the HD. The strength boosts from shapeshifting should make up for a lot of the loss, and the improved health will mean the PCs don't have to worry about you so much.

Ha ha ha you say that like I plan to keep track of my own character's health, rather than just use him as a target for when the monsters need someone to attack and the PCs would all die from one hit!

*shakes head* Silly Grod!

jiriku
2011-10-17, 05:02 PM
Beast of Burden: Carrying capacity is doubled while shapeshifted. Because they will use you as a pack mule.

NeoSeraphi
2011-10-17, 05:45 PM
Beast of Burden: Carrying capacity is doubled while shapeshifted. Because they will use you as a pack mule.

Huh? I thought carrying capacity was already doubled for a quadruped of any kind?

Edit:
Quadrupeds can carry heavier loads than characters can. Instead of the multipliers given above, multiply the value corresponding to the creature’s Strength score from Table: Carrying Capacity by the appropriate modifier, as follows: Fine ×¼, Diminutive ×½, Tiny ×¾, Small ×1, Medium ×1½, Large ×3, Huge ×6, Gargantuan ×12, Colossal ×24.

YouLostMe
2011-10-17, 08:01 PM
Huh? I thought carrying capacity was already doubled for a quadruped of any kind?

I think the point of that was "CARRY AS MUCH WEIGHT AS POSSIBLE" for maximum loot transportation. Also, it may have been a joke. I certainly laughed.

YouLostMe
2011-10-17, 08:12 PM
Double Post, my bad.

C'nor
2011-10-18, 01:56 AM
Hm. So, combat forms? I might have some more ideas later. For now, how's this?

Form Thief: Any innate characteristic that is used on the shapeshifter, or that they are able to take 2d20+4 hours studying, may be utilized by them.

If an innate characteristic allows one to use an ability, for example, a Rake attack, this ability may only be taken through normal leveling or having the ability used on you, unless you make an Intelligence or Wisdom check with a DC of 18+Ability's Level.

(Or whatever is a reasonably tough check for the shapeshifter)

NeoSeraphi
2011-10-18, 02:03 AM
Hm. So, combat forms? I might have some more ideas later. For now, how's this?

Form Thief: Any innate characteristic that is used on the shapeshifter, or that they are able to take 2d20+4 hours studying, may be utilized by them.

If an innate characteristic allows one to use an ability, for example, a Rake attack, this ability may only be taken through normal leveling or having the ability used on you, unless you make an Intelligence or Wisdom check with a DC of 18+Ability's Level.

(Or whatever is a reasonably tough check for the shapeshifter)

See, that would be a fantastic idea for a PC, but as an NPC, I'd rather not have anything that intrisic or varied. And what's the ability's level, anyway?

C'nor
2011-10-18, 02:12 AM
I was thinking the level one would need to be to take that ability normally. If that's not workable (or, say, doesn't exist, which is always possible.), substitute something appropriate in.

NeoSeraphi
2011-10-18, 02:13 AM
I was thinking the level one would need to be to take that ability normally. If that's not workable (or, say, doesn't exist, which is always possible.), substitute something appropriate in.

Er, well, I mean, what "level" does a PC get Rake? it's a monster ability.

C'nor
2011-10-18, 02:18 AM
Good point... Perhaps the level at which something like a druid with wildshape would be able to get it? Or the average CR of the monsters that have it?

NeoSeraphi
2011-10-18, 02:21 AM
See, I was thinking about that, but other than Pounce and Improved Grab, there don't really seem to be any other monster abilities that would fit.

Rake and Rend are both nice, but as it stands, there is only one form that grants natural claw attacks, so that's shot. Swallow Whole is pretty much useless unless you're Huge or larger, as is Trample, and I don't see an Elemental gaining either of those attacks.

C'nor
2011-10-18, 02:35 AM
A lot of this would depend on what sorts of enemies you're fighting, since it would let you steal their claws if they had any. (Of course, that's assuming that we're still talking about Form Thief, though I'm pretty sure we are.)

As for the Elementals, that depends on how you fluff them, and how literal you are about the abilities. In one of my games, I have Earth Elementals fluffed as something almost like animated statues, including, for example, one of a Chinese dragon, and I can certainly see that getting Trample and Swallow Whole. But if you have them as something more like massive collections of rocks, then obviously that wouldn't work. A Water Elemental could get Swallow Whole and you simply rewrite the fluff for that ability in that form to say that it draw you into itself.

Tl;Dr: What's the fluff for your Elementals, and what sorts of things are you going to be fighting?

NeoSeraphi
2011-10-18, 02:38 AM
A lot of this would depend on what sorts of enemies you're fighting, since it would let you steal their claws if they had any. (Of course, that's assuming that we're still talking about Form Thief, though I'm pretty sure we are.)

As for the Elementals, that depends on how you fluff them, and how literal you are about the abilities. In one of my games, I have Earth Elementals fluffed as something almost like animated statues, including, for example, one of a Chinese dragon, and I can certainly see that getting Trample and Swallow Whole. But if you have them as something more like massive collections of rocks, then obviously that wouldn't work. A Water Elemental could get Swallow Whole and you simply rewrite the fluff for that ability in that form to say that it draw you into itself.

Tl;Dr: What's the fluff for your Elementals, and what sorts of things are you going to be fighting?

We're going to be fighting devils. Devils exclusively. Creatures in the Devil section of the Monster Manual and creatures listed in the the Tyrants of the Nine Hells book. Nothing else.

As for the elementals, we're starting at level 3, I don't think we're going to get that far.