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RedWarlock
2012-04-08, 04:16 AM
Edit: Added a PEACH. Am I regarded as someone who just wants a pat on the back if I don't put that in the title?

I've been working on my own house-rules for a revamped 3.5-rework that incorporates 4e aspects and a few other other concepts into the mix (like putting skill tricks and maneuvers into the core system). I'm still working through the ideas for those mechanics, but as a base concept so far this concept is still entirely compatible with 3.5, by tweaking it to use the expectations of 3.5 in terms of saves/classes/etc.

In my revamp, I'm working on differentiating the different power sources, and among other things, this was my idea for splitting the Druid into different classes, a Shaman spellcaster, the Ranger absorbing the animal companion focus, and this taking on the melee-combat aspect of Wild shape (though this is more reflective of the ph2 Shapeshift druid crossed with Astral Construct). As long as I'm at it, it also encompasses the concept of making lycanthropes and other shapeshifter concepts viable (like say a half-dragon who was born as a humanoid, but unlocks their true draconic form gradually, alongside multiclassing in DFA for the dragon-specific breathweapon and draconic SLAs).

I'm going to fill out the default class template as best I can, but I'm cutting out stuff I don't have yet rather than leave the template parts incomplete. Some of it might never get filled, like the epic stuff. (I also prefer to fill out my gametext in second person, rather than mess with gendered pronouns, so sorry if it bugs anyone.)

I'm also debating switching the name to something else. I prefer to keep base class names short single-word pieces, rather than long stuff like 'dread necromancer' or 'dragonfire adept'. (I usually rename those something like necromancer/necrolyte and dracolyte/dragonkin in my games) I might even go with something two-word like Beastform or something to keep it from retreading a commonly-used word, but I'd rather go with one word if I can swing it.

SHAPESHIFTER

Shapeshifters are exactly what their name describes, shapechangers who take the form of beasts. Each shapechanger is different, some prefer the flexibility of many different forms, while others concentrate their power to create a single form of incredible destructive potential.

MAKING A SHAPESHIFTER

Abilities: Physical abilities are more prized than mental ones, though the exact mix depends on the shapeshifter and how they spread their forms' abilities. Multiclass shapeshifters often pick up Martial Adept levels to supplement their beast maneuvers, thus making Intelligence and Wisdom a priority, while some supplement their physical power with the abilities of Shamans, Sorcerers, or Warlocks.
Races: Humans, elves, and gnomes are the most common shapeshifters amongst the common races, while orcs and gnolls number among the most common savage shapeshifters.
Alignment: Any. Chaotic shapeshifters are more common than lawful ones, and shapeshifters tend towards neutrality rather than overt good and evil, but anyone can have a touch of the wilderness in their heart.

Hit Die: 1d10

Class Skills:
The Shapeshifter's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (nature) (Int), Listen (Wis), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), and Swim (Str).
Skill Points at 1st Level: (4 + Int modifier) ◊ 4
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 4 + Int modifier










Maneuvers

Maneuvers

Form Stances


Level
BAB
Fort
Ref
Will
Special

Known

Readied

Known


1st
+1
+2
+2
+0
Shapeshift (first form), wild empathy

2

2

1


2nd
+2
+3
+3
+0
Bestial senses

2

2

1


3rd
+3
+3
+3
+1
Shapeshift (standard action)

3

2

1


4th
+4
+4
+4
+1
Shapeshift (second form or extra trait)

3

2

1


5th
+5
+4
+4
+1
ó

4

2

1


6th
+6/+1
+5
+5
+2
Magic fang +1, prime trait

4

2

1


7th
+7/+2
+5
+5
+2
Shapeshift (third form or extra trait)

5

3

1


8th
+8/+3
+6
+6
+2
Shapeshift (swift action)

5

3

1


9th
+9/+4
+6
+6
+3
Magic fang +2

6

3

2


10th
+10/+5
+7
+7
+3
Shapeshift (fourth form or extra trait)

6

3

2


11th
+11/+6/+1
+7
+7
+3
Prime trait

7

3

2


12th
+12/+7/+2
+8
+8
+4
Magic fang +3

7

3

2


13th
+13/+8/+3
+8
+8
+4
Shapeshift (fifth form or extra trait)

8

4

2


14th
+14/+9/+4
+9
+9
+4
Shapeshift (immediate action)

8

4

2


15th
+15/+10/+5
+9
+9
+5
Magic fang +4, prime trait

9

4

2


16th
+16/+11/+6/+1
+10
+10
+5
Shapeshift (sixth form or extra trait)

9

4

2


17th
+17/+12/+7/+2
+10
+10
+5
ó

10

4

3


18th
+18/+13/+8/+3
+11
+11
+6
Magic fang +5

10

4

3


19th
+19/+14/+9/+4
+11
+11
+6
Shapeshift (seventh form or extra trait)

11

5

3


20th
+20/+15/+10/+5
+12
+12
+6
Prime trait

11

5

3



Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: You are proficient with simple weapons, as well as with all natural attacks (claw, bite, and so forth) of any form you assume with shapeshift.

You are proficient with light armor, but can only wear non-metal armor if you intend to take bestial shape. See the Shapeshift special ability.

Bonus Languages: Your bonus language options include Sylvan, the language of fey and woodland creatures, and Druidic, a secret language known only to those who defend nature. These choices are in addition to the bonus languages available to your character because of race. Druidic can also be learned through the Speak Language skill as usual.

Wild Empathy (Ex): You can improve the attitude of an animal. This ability functions just like a Diplomacy check made to improve the attitude of a person. Roll 1d20 and adds your shapeshifter level and your Charisma modifier to determine the wild empathy check result.

The typical domestic animal has a starting attitude of indifferent, while wild animals are usually unfriendly.

To use wild empathy, you and the animal must be able to study each other, which means that you must be within 30 feet of one another under normal conditions. Generally, influencing an animal in this way takes 1 minute but, as with influencing people, it might take more or less time.

You can also use this ability to influence a magical beast with an Intelligence score of 1 or 2, but you take a -4 penalty on the check.

Shapeshift (Su): You gain the ability to transform yourself into the form of a beast. This form represents some aspect of your inner nature, and once chosen, cannot be changed. Choose an animal, vermin, or nonintelligent magical beast. All traits you select for this form must be representative of that creature in some fashion. For example, if your shapeshifted form is a wolf, you cannot choose Entangling Tentacles and Skyborn Wings, but Agile Runner, Brutish Size, Fanged Jaw, Raking Claws, and Night Prowler are all acceptable traits.

At first, changing forms from humanoid to animal, or animal back to humanoid, takes a full-round action, and can be performed at will. At 3rd level, your skill in shapeshifting improves, reducing the time required to a standard action. At 8th level, you can assume a form as a swift action, and at 14th level, you can shapeshift as an immediate action. If you are knocked unconscious or killed, your body reverts to your normal, unchanged form, also known as your prime form. This also applies to any limbs or other parts severed from your body. Any severed body part which your prime form lacks disintegrates into dust.

While shapeshifted, you are considered non-proficient with all armor and non-natural weapons, your bestial limbs are incapable of manipulating any equipment, and your mouth is incapable of speaking command words or any other verbal communication beyond simple animal noises. If you are wearing metal armor, or clothing including metal components, you are prevented from shapeshifting, feeling pain when trying to do so. Metal items which do not encase you, such as weapons or shields, drop at your feet. All other equipment, armor, and weapons meld into your form and become nonfunctional, although these items still occupy your magic item slots. Passive magic bonuses still apply, but triggered effects are nonfunctional.

At first level, you gain your first form. You gain one natural weapon for free, either a Bite, Claw, or Hoof attack, dealing 1d4 damage + 1/2 your Str modifier. All damage listed is for Medium size; adjust as necessary for larger or smaller characters and forms. All natural weapons have normal reach for a long creature of your size unless otherwise noted. Choose three traits from the list below. At 4th level and every third level following, you can choose to either gain an additional shapeshift form, selecting three traits, or to add a single new trait to an existing form, which scales retroactively based on your total levels in Shapeshifter. These traits are locked once chosen.


Agile Runner: You are swift on your feet, able to dash through the battlefield with ease. Your base land speed in this form increases by 10 feet. At 5th level, your base land speed increases an additional ten feet, and you gain the benefit of the Spring Attack feat with a natural weapon. At 9th level, you gain an additional ten feet of movement, and can make an additional attack with another or the same natural weapon, at a -5 penalty, provided they are on separate targets. At 13th level, you gain an additional ten feet of movement, and can make a third attack, as before, at a -10 penalty. At 17th level, you gain an additional ten feet of movement, and a fourth attack, as before, at a -15 penalty.
Armor Hide: Your form has a toughened hide, armor plating, or a thick furred coat. You gain +2 Con, +4 natural armor and DR 2/-. This improves with levels; 4th level, +4 Con, +6 natural armor and DR 3/-; 8th level, +8 natural armor and DR 4/-; 12th level, +6 Con, +10 natural armor and DR 6/-; 16th level, +12 natural armor and DR 8/-; 20th level, +8 Con, +16 natural armor and DR 10/-.
Brutish Size: Your form is a towering beast, perhaps a dire animal. You gain +4 Str, +2 Con, -2 Dex. At 2nd level, you grow by one size category, doubling your height and length, increasing natural attack damage, as well as adding all size-derivative modifiers to attacks, AC, and skills as appropriate. At 8th level, the modifiers improve to +8 Str, +4 Con, -4 Dex, and at 14th level your size increases again to two size categories above normal size. At 20th level, the modifiers improve to +16 Str, +8 Con, -8 Dex.
Crashing Tail: Your form has a large, muscular tail which it uses as a weapon. You gain a tail slam attack which deals 1d8 damage + 1/2 your Str modifier. At 3rd level, you can use this tail slam attack as a move action, and the tail grants you a +4 bonus to balance, jump, and swim checks. At 6th level, the damage improves to 1d10 + your Str modifier, or you can use the tail slam to knock back a foe of equal or lesser size, pushing them back five feet for every five points of damage the attack would normally deal. At 9th level, you can use this tail slam as a swift action special attack rather than a natural weapon (removing it from use in full attacks and maneuvers during the turn the special attack is used), and the bonus to balance, jump, and swim checks improves to +8. At 12th level, the tail slam doubles its reach. At 15th level, the damage improves to 2d6 + 1 and 1/2 times your Str modifier (as a two-handed weapon). At 18th level, the damage improves to 3d6 + double your Str modifier.
Deadly Venom: Choose one natural attack you possess. This attack now deals piercing damage if it didn't already, and if the attack successfully deals damage to the target, injects a venom which slows and debilitates the target. The Fortitude DC is equal to 10 + 1/2 your effective Shapeshifter level + your Con modifier, and is made at the end of your turn. If you have the ability to use this attack multiple times on your turn (either via separate limbs or a maneuver which allows multiple attacks), each repetition increases the DC of the venom by +2 per successful attack. If the target fails the save, they are dazed until the end of their next turn. At 6th level, they are dazed until the end of their next turn, and sickened for rounds equal to your Con modifier. At 13th level, on a failed save, they are stunned as well as dazed, and act as though entangled for rounds equal to your Con modifier. At 20th level, in addition to the previous effects, they fall prone and are paralyzed until the end of their next turn.
Entangling Tentacles: Your form has long tentacles with which it can grapple foes. You gain two tentacle attacks which deal 1d4 damage + your Str modifier. At 3rd level, you gain a +2 bonus to grapple checks, which improves to +4 at 7th level, +8 at 11th level, +12 at 15th level, and +16 at at 19th level. At 5th level, the damage improves to 1d8 + your Str modifier, then again at 9th level to 2d6 + your Str modifier. At 13th level the tentacle attacks double their reach, and the damage improves to 3d6 + your Str modifier, which improves again at 17th level to 4d6 + your Str modifier.
Fanged Jaw: Your form has a strong jaw filled with razor-sharp fangs. You gain a bite attack which deals 1d6 damage + your Str modifier. At 4th level, if you hit with this attack, you can trip as a free action. At 7th level, the bite damage improves to 1d8 + 1 and 1/2 times your Str modifier (as a two-handed weapon). At 10th level, if you successfully trip the target, you can make a second bite attack at -5 to hit. At 13th level, the bite damage improves to 2d6 + 1 and 1/2 times your Str modifier, and the second bite is at no penalty. At 16th level, the bite damage improves to 3d6 + double your Str modifier. At 19th level, if the target is rendered prone, the secondary bite hits automatically.
Fins of the Ocean: Your form is partially or fully aquatic. You can hold your breath equal to four times your Con score. You gain a 10 foot swim speed, and can choose to lose some or all of your land speed, in 10 foot increments, to add this speed to your swim speed. This choice is made once, when you select this trait, and cannot be changed. Your swim speed increases by 10 feet every four levels, starting with 2nd level, then 6th, 10th, etc.
Green of the Wood: This form is some manner of mobile plant. You lose 10ft from your base land speed and cannot run, but gain immunity to critical hits as a plant and two slam attacks that deal 1d6 damage + your Str modifier. At 6th level, your slam attacks double their reach and deal 2d4 + your Str modifier, which improves at 12th level to 2d8 + your Str, and at 18th level, triple their normal reach and 3d8 + your Str modifier damage.
Heart of the Earth: You gain an elemental connection to the living Primal world. You gain immunity to mind-affecting spells and effects. At 3rd level, you gain +4 Con and tremorsense out to 10 feet, which improves to +8 Con and 20ft at 9th level, and +16 Con and 40 ft at 15th level. At 7th level you gain resist 10 to one energy type (acid, cold, electricity, fire, or sonic), which improves to resist 20 at 13th level, and again to resist 30 at 19th level.
Hunter's Senses: You gain the Scent special quality, and can smell creatures out to a range of 30 feet. At 2nd level, you gain a +2 bonus to Listen, Spot, and Wisdom checks for tracking by scent, which improves by +4 every 4 levels after (6th, 10th, 14th, etc). At 10th level, you gain a blindsense of 10 feet, which improves by 10 feet every 4 levels after.
Hybrid Form: You can take a partially-humanoid form, much like a lycanthrope. As a swift action, you take on this hybrid form instead of the full form. This form gains all the standard benefits of the base form, except that all numeric benefits are halved. Movement speeds and distances are halved, and speed and sense improvements gain measures of 5 feet rather than 10 feet. Immunities granted are reduced to half of the typed damage, or a 50% chance of immunity to the given effect. Ability score modifiers are halved, rounding up to the nearest even number. Natural weapons granted by the base form are treated as one size category smaller. You are treated as a tall creature of your size. Your armor and equipment does not meld into this hybrid form, and you can thus wear metal armor without issue.
Jagged Horn: Your form has a single horn or set of horns or antlers which it uses as a weapon. You gain a gore attack which deals 2d4 damage + your Str modifier. (You cannot use this attack in the same attack sequence as a Bite attack, as they are considered equipped to the same limb.) At 2nd level, you deal an additional 1d6 bonus damage with this attack on a charge, which stacks with Powerful Charge and similar abilities. At 5th level, the gore damage improves to 2d6 + your Str modifier. At 8th level, the bonus damage improves to 2d6. At 11th level, the gore damage improves to 2d8 + 1 and 1/2 times your Str modifier (as a two-handed weapon). At 14th level, the bonus damage increases to 3d6. At 17th level, the damage improves to 2d10 + double your Str modifier. At 20th level, the bonus damage increases to 4d6.
Night Prowler: Your form is known for its capacity for stealth and surprise attacks. You gain a +2 bonus to Hide and Move Silently checks, which improves by +2 at 2nd level and every four levels after (6th, 10th, etc). At 4th level, you gain Sneak Attack for 1d6 damage, improving every 4 levels (2d6 at 8th, 3d6 at 12th, etc). At 18th level you gain Hide in Plain Sight.
Raking Claws: Your form has needle-sharp claws. You gain two claw attacks which deal 1d4 damage + your Str modifier each. At 4thd level, you gain Pounce with your natural weapons. At 7th level, the damage improves to 1d6 + your Str modifier. At 10th level, when you charge, you can make two additional rake attacks with your back legs at the same claw damage + 1/2 your Str modifier each. At 13th level, the claw damage improves to 1d8 + your Str modifier. At 16th level, if you hit with any two claw or rake attacks, you can rend for double your claw damage plus 1 and 1/2 your Str damage. At 19th level, the claw damage improves to 2d6 + your Str modifier.
Seaborn Gills: Your form is native to the ocean, and doesn't need to breathe air. You gain the aquatic subtype, and can breathe underwater. At 3rd level, you gain a bite attack that deals 1d8 + your Str modifier, which improves at 9th level to 2d6 + your Str modifier, and again at 15th level to 3d6 + 1 and 1/2 your Str modifier. At 6th level you gain +4 to Swim checks, which at 12th level improves to +8, and improves again at 18 to +16.
Skyborn Wings: Your form has the gift of flight. You reduce in size by one category, reduce your base land speed to 10 feet, and gain a 30 foot flight speed with poor maneuverability. Your flight ability improves every three levels, gaining either a 10ft speed increase or a maneuverability improvement, starting with 2nd level, then 5th, 8th, 11th, etc.


If you take levels in a class other than Shapeshifter, you can add one-half of your non-Shapeshifter class levels to your Shapeshifter levels for the purpose of trait improvements.

Maneuvers: You begin your career with knowledge of two martial maneuvers. The disciplines available to you are Iron Heart, Stone Dragon, Tiger Claw, and if you qualify, Aerial Ace (http://dnd-wiki.org/wiki/Aerial_Ace_(3.5e_Martial_Discipline)).

Once you know a maneuver, you must ready it before you can use it (see Maneuvers Readied, below). A maneuver usable by shapeshifters is considered an extraordinary ability unless otherwise noted in its description. Your maneuvers are not affected by spell resistance, and you do not provoke attacks of opportunity when you initiate one.

You learn additional maneuvers at higher levels, as shown above. You must meet a maneuverís prerequisite to learn it. If you take levels in a class other than Shapeshifter, you can add one-half of your non-Shapeshifter class levels to your Shapeshifter levels for the purpose of initiator level.

Upon reaching 4th level, and at every even-numbered shapeshifter level after that (6th, 8th, 10th, and so on), you can choose to learn a new maneuver in place of one you already know. In effect, you lose the old maneuver in exchange for the new one. You can choose a new maneuver of any level you like, as long as you observe your restriction on the highest-level maneuvers you know; you need not replace the old maneuver with a maneuver of the same level. For example, upon reaching 10th level, you could trade in a single 1st-, 2nd-, 3rd- or 4th-level maneuver for a maneuver of 5th level or lower, as long as you meet the prerequisite of the new maneuver. You can swap only a single maneuver at any given level.

Maneuvers Readied: You can ready both of the maneuvers you know at 1st level, but as you advance in level and learn more maneuvers, you must choose which maneuvers to ready, and for which of your shapeshift forms, including your prime form. You ready your maneuvers by meditating for 5 minutes; this allows you to reconfigure your maneuvers for each of your forms at once. The maneuvers you choose remain readied until you decide to mediate again and change them. You need not sleep or rest for any long period of time to ready your maneuvers; any time you spend 5 minutes in meditation, you can change your readied maneuvers.

You begin an encounter with all your readied maneuvers unexpended, regardless of how many times you might have already used them since you chose them, or in what forms. When you initiate a maneuver, you expend it for this form in the current encounter, so each of your readied maneuvers can be used once per form and per encounter until refreshed. When you shift forms, the expended maneuvers of the prior form remain expended, and the new form's selection of maneuvers becomes available. If you shift back, the expended maneuvers remain expended until you refresh them.

You can refresh your maneuvers by sounding a ferocious roar, screech, or howl, as appropriate to your current form, as a full-round action. If in your prime form, you shout a war-cry of wordless savagery. This does not provoke attacks of opportunity, but is audible to everyone and everything in a 500 foot radius, and possibly further, depending on sound conditions. This refreshes all of your maneuvers for each of your forms.

When an encounter ends, you automatically recover all expended maneuvers. Even a few moments out of combat is sufficient to refresh all maneuvers expended in the previous battle. In the case of a long, drawn-out series of fights, or if you are out of combat entirely, assume that if you make no attacks of any kind, initiate no new maneuvers, and are not targeted by any enemy attacks for 1 full minute, you can recover all expended maneuvers. If you canít avoid attacking or being attacked for 1 minute, you canít automatically recover your maneuvers.

Form Stances Known: You begin play with knowledge of two 1st-level stances from any discipline open to shapeshifters, one for your Prime form, and one for your shapeshifted form. These do not need to be different stances. When you gain new shapeshifting forms, you can select a number of stances for which your qualify for use in that form. At the levels specified above, you can choose additional stances for each form you possess. Unlike maneuvers, stances are not expended, and you do not have to ready them. All the stances you know in a given form are available to you at all times while in that form, and you can change the stance you are currently using as a swift action. A stance is an extraordinary ability unless otherwise stated in the stance description. Unlike with maneuvers, you cannot learn a new stance at higher levels in place of one you already know.

Bestial Senses (Ex): At 2nd level you gain low-light vision if you didn't already possess it, or superior low-light vision if you already did, increasing the range of your vision by one factor. For example, an elf with this ability would be able to see three times farther than a normal human, whereas other elves would only be able to see twice as far. This factor increase stacks with any other low-light vision improvements, including shapeshift traits.

Magic Fang (Su): At 6th level all of your natural attacks derived from shapeshift traits gain a +1 enhancement bonus to attack and damage, as if the spell Magic Fang was cast upon them. This bonus increases every three levels (9th, 12th, 15th, and 18th).

Prime Trait (Su): As you gain more familiarity with shapeshifting, you learn to manifest bestial traits even in your normal form, traits which define you as a shapeshifter compared to other shapeshifters. At 6th level, you can choose one trait from the shapeshift traits list which you can activate as a Swift action by itself, enabling you to benefit from that trait while in your prime form at all times. This trait is automatically activated when you take any of your shapeshifted forms (bypassing the usual restriction about traits needing to match the animal chosen for the form), but can be suppressed while shapeshifting if desired, or as a Swift action once changed. If any form already possesses this trait, you can select a new trait to take its place. You cannot choose Hybrid Form as a prime trait. You may choose an additional prime trait at 11th, 15th, and 20th level.

Regalus
2012-04-08, 12:43 PM
Hello there; while I'm not the greatest at judging balance, everything in this class seems to be okay.

Though I have to ask; why did you choose not to include a refresh mechanic? I mean it could have been something as simple as stating out of that form for a number of rounds before the form refreshed its pool. This way you'd still cause people to prefer having multiple forms over a single powerful one.

More over, when do they actually get their maneuvers back? As it stands it seems as if once you use a maneuver, it's gone forever. If it's meant to be per day you might want to say so. Though if you are adamant on them not having a refresh mechanic, thus causing them to rely on having many forms rather than just one big one, then I'd suggest to at least make them per encounter; other wise, given how few maneuvers they get, this aspect of the class isn't going to see much use.

Speaking of which, I'd suggest raising their maneuvers known a bit. I think 16 might be a nice maximum, but that's just my personal opinion.

Concerning your style choices... I don't have my books with me, but I'm fairly sure iron heart and Stone Dragon can't be used with natural weapons, and I think Tiger claw only works with bites and claws. As such, I'd suggest adding a note or feature that would allow this guy to use his maneuvers with his forms natural weapons. On a side note, you might want to look into this (http://dnd-wiki.org/wiki/Aerial_Ace_%283.5e_Martial_Discipline%29) discipline. Its homebrew, but it would give fliers something extra to make up for the lack of ranged attacks.

Speaking of which I have a few suggestions for possible form traits.
*Tendrils:Could increase in number and/or give better bonus to grapples and, maybe, climbing.
*A projectile attack. Maybe something that could be used to model breath/spit attacks?
*The ability to utilize some kind of howl, roar or cry that can be used to intimidate and/or get bonuses to intimidate. Maybe have it scale up into something ala Frightful Presence.
*Pheromones:Bonuses to animal Empathy and Diplomacy checks, maybe allow it to pull of a Charm _______ or hypnosis effect at higher levels.

Well, those have been my two cents. Hope this helps.

RedWarlock
2012-04-09, 12:31 AM
Hello there; while I'm not the greatest at judging balance, everything in this class seems to be okay.

Though I have to ask; why did you choose not to include a refresh mechanic? I mean it could have been something as simple as stating out of that form for a number of rounds before the form refreshed its pool. This way you'd still cause people to prefer having multiple forms over a single powerful one.

More over, when do they actually get their maneuvers back? As it stands it seems as if once you use a maneuver, it's gone forever. If it's meant to be per day you might want to say so. Though if you are adamant on them not having a refresh mechanic, thus causing them to rely on having many forms rather than just one big one, then I'd suggest to at least make them per encounter; other wise, given how few maneuvers they get, this aspect of the class isn't going to see much use.
Actually, I admit I glossed over my reprinting of maneuvers because I didn't want to dig out and recopy the rules. I'll work to fix it, but my intent was that they get the standard per-encounter refresh, they just don't refresh mid-battle. Instead, because each form has its own list, if they want to refresh, they have to take a different form and reorder themselves.


Speaking of which, I'd suggest raising their maneuvers known a bit. I think 16 might be a nice maximum, but that's just my personal opinion.
I might upgrade them, but I didn't want to overshadow the Bo9S classes. It's not a lot of maneuvers, but they're also getting a lot of stat upgrades and special attacks out of it (trip, pushback, venom, etc)


Concerning your style choices... I don't have my books with me, but I'm fairly sure iron heart and Stone Dragon can't be used with natural weapons, and I think Tiger claw only works with bites and claws. As such, I'd suggest adding a note or feature that would allow this guy to use his maneuvers with his forms natural weapons. On a side note, you might want to look into this (http://dnd-wiki.org/wiki/Aerial_Ace_%283.5e_Martial_Discipline%29) discipline. Its homebrew, but it would give fliers something extra to make up for the lack of ranged attacks.
I don't think there's any weapon restrictions with maneuvers, just with the preferred weapons for the discipline-related feats.

I'll look into that discipline. I was actually also considering writing my own set of maneuvers for beastly actions and special tricks, though it's more likely that it wouldn't be for 3.5, but for my revamp 3.9 rules I talk about in my opening paragraph.



Speaking of which I have a few suggestions for possible form traits.
*Tendrils:Could increase in number and/or give better bonus to grapples and, maybe, climbing.

Yeah, I was thinking about something like that. Combine it with the gills one for an octopus!


*A projectile attack. Maybe something that could be used to model breath/spit attacks?
Maybe, but not as much in favor of that one.


*The ability to utilize some kind of howl, roar or cry that can be used to intimidate and/or get bonuses to intimidate. Maybe have it scale up into something ala Frightful Presence.

That's possible, though it might be better off as a few beast-specific maneuvers. We'll see what happens.


*Pheromones:Bonuses to animal Empathy and Diplomacy checks, maybe allow it to pull of a Charm _______ or hypnosis effect at higher levels.

Meh, not so much in favor of that one. I'd rather keep to existing creature concepts.


Well, those have been my two cents. Hope this helps.
Thanks! It's a lot of help!

RedWarlock
2012-04-09, 04:36 AM
Okay, got that maneuver class ability text fixed. Liberally ripped from the Warblade with form-specific tweaks.

Next up (tomorrow) that tentacles/grappling trait...

RedWarlock
2012-04-09, 04:16 PM
Peached the title and added the tentacles.

Roguenewb
2012-04-09, 04:26 PM
I think you've fixed the mechanic by killing the interest. A lot of players want to play shapeshifters (IME anyway) so that they can say "I change into a ____", popular options being dragon, devil, dinosaur, angel, etc. At best with this one, I feel like you are going to end up with a lot of players saying

Shifter"I shapeshift into a Dragon!"
Other Players"really? cool! Breathe fire on that guy!",
Shifter Well, I'm not *really* a dragon....

These moments seem like feel-bad moments, where most players are going to lament the things they're missing instead of enjoying how close they are to actual shifted forms. I don't know how to fix this problem, sorry.

Secondarily, this class also reminds me of the Pathfinder Summoner and his Eidolon, except applied to the player instead of the Eidolon, and now I wanna play an eidolon as a character...

zegram 33
2012-04-10, 02:52 PM
is it possible to mix and match traits from the list above? maybe either allow 2 new forms to be learned, or 1 new form and allow+1 forms to be used at once?
so you can either have a whole lot of specialised forms, or the capability to gain the benefits of multiple forms at once? that might be how it works, im not quite sure, its a bit conusing as a description (or i find it so, at least).
if that IS how it works, i have 4 suggestions for other forms.

one granting a burrowing speed of say 10ft/4 levels, but reducing land speed by 20ft.
one granting a large climb speed and spider climb.
one granting a large increase in jump hieght/length (could be twinned with climb speed and have spider climb seperatley) say 15ft/4 levels.
and one offering some kind of gliding capability, with flight perhaps being allowed later (say, while using his move action to glide, he can travel 20ft horizontally per 10 ft fallen and is immune to fall damage)

then allow the user to modify the form he's using without reverting back base human form. this seems like it would allow the player to in a way create there own forms (ooh, i'll have movement speend increase, climbing, jumping and gliding to position then switch to a recon type sensory increase once im at a high position, etc)
in that case, id advise creating a lot more traits (tremorsense, and other "utility ones") and giving them every other level.

of course, this may be a totally different vision than you had in mind, in which case sorry for the random essay

RedWarlock
2012-04-10, 05:24 PM
I should edit the table. Each time you have a new form you can choose to add a trait instead of gaining that new form. They all add together.

JackMage666
2012-04-11, 01:01 AM
Green of Wood is too strong. You gain a slew of amazing immunities at level 1, and the -10 ft land speed can be countered immediately by Agile Runner.

Throw on another trait, and you have a VERY excellent dip for pretty much anyone.

I mean, perfect BAB, decent skills, good HD, 2 nice saves boosted, and you can stay in a form that grants you 3 Natural Attacks (2 slams, 1 claw/bite/or hoof), immunity to mind-effecting spells and critical hits, PLUS something else (Brutish Size would be useful for Barbarians, Armored Hide is useful for anyone, Entangling Tentacles increases your natural attacks to 5)

And since you can change whenever you want however many times you want, these may as well count as permanent. Sure, it takes a Full-Round, but you can stay in the form all day so it matters less.

Wavelab
2012-04-11, 01:31 AM
The only nitpick I have is the dead level at 18 and the lack of a capstone. I believe that you should get good benefits for taking a base class all the way. But other than that, it doesn't look that bad.

RedWarlock
2012-04-11, 04:31 AM
You're right, green of the Wood is too strong. I'll split it in half, one side getting the tremorsense, the other the slams. Which of the immunities should I put where? Maybe I should scale them, bonuses to saves first, then high-end immunities?

Re'ozul
2012-04-11, 06:21 AM
I'll only give my brief opinion for now as the class seems good for the most part.

The chassis looks good:
d10 hitdie coupled with fullBAB and good fort/Ref makes for a nice close combatant.

Maneuvers are less than other classes, but thats good since this one has extra abilities. Though I haven't seen any in cambat maneuver refresh rule, so the fullround refresh feat will most likely be mandatory for any player.

Wild empathy: Nothing too big but I've always liked it.

Shapeshift: The different actions are spaced well. I'll talk about the options at the end.

Bestial senses: useful but just okay.

Prime trait: Very useful due to different options.

Shapeshift Traits

Agile Runner: If you are going for speed then an extra 60' movement over 18 levels is awesome, especially as it stacks with ennacement bonuses from items. Coupled with spring attack this is very good.

Armor Hide: Pretty much everyone will take this and most likely make it a prime trait as well. Its just incredible and together with scintillating scales (http://therafimrpg.wikidot.com/scintillating-scales) it becomes even better.

Brutish size: Another candidate for "you must take this", only limited due to size issues in dungeons, but thats what reduce person items are for.
Consider that if you take this together with Armor hide as first form traits.
You will start with +4 Str, +4 Con, -2 Dex, +4 natarm, DR2/-
And at level 20 its +16 Str, +16 Con, -8Dex, +16 natarm, DR10/-

Crashing tail: Interesting one. The ability to use it as a move/swift makes it attractive and the forced movement based on damage is pretty good. Consider that with Brutish size, the final damage would be 6d6+2Str (where you also have that ones straenght increase) and you easily have a final damage of something like 50 at least. Even with DR10/- on an enemy you'd be able to push them 8 squares. Very nice. The skill bonuses are fun too, but tend to lose meaning in later levels when flight is often an option in non-combat situations.

Deadly venom: The save is on the low side, even with Armor hide or brutish size in effect. Especially as you'll only use natural attacks in melee, so you'll be fighting other brutes who usually have good fort-saves. I assume the "multiple use =+5 save DC" is always in effect, not only at lvl 20. That repetition might make it more attractive, but poison resistance/immunity is relatively easy to come by, so its not really something I'd take.

Entangling Tentacles: You gave no initial reach for them, so I have no idea how good the doubling is. While some people might like grappling, I am usually hesitant about it, preferring to deal straight up damage. Would be more attarctive to me if the tentacles could either entangle enemies within reach on a touch attack (or a non-roll attack allowing a saving throw) or were able to grapple targets on their own with a lower modifier (like Kelpstarnd (http://therafimrpg.wikidot.com/kelpstrand))

Fanged Jaw: A good scaling bite, though the logic of tripping with a bite eludes me. How does this impact a character that already chose a bite as his one natural attack of a form (perhaps a bonus or something?)

Fins of the ocean: Useful in aquatic campaigns and the tradeoff is novel, but items can generally give you a good approximation.

Green of the wood: Um, ouch? Seriously, trading 10ft speed for mind affect immunity and crit immunity is really good. Plants have limited weaknesses that can usually be negated somehow. If you want to play a close combatant, then its basically already decided now: You'll take Armor Hide, brutish size and this one. Think about it, overall that gives you a +32 Con and good immunities. Furthermore, at level 20 you'll be huge and as such have a reach of 45 feet. Those three are the ultimate combo for just being a big dumb fighter.

Hunter's Senses: Really good if you are a scout for the party, especially in conjunction with Agile Runner, you'll be able to scout at an insane speed.

Hybrid Form: Depending on what you took for traits this can still be really strong and equipment usually gives great benefit. Definitely something to think about.

Jagged Horn: Straight up damage dealing. Useful, but more a filler trait most of the time probably.

Raking Claws: Together with Jagged Horn, this makes quite the good charger and with agile runner you'll have plenty of speed to target people.

Seaborn gills: Makes no sense as the auatic subtype only really applies to things that have swim speeds and need no checks. Furthermore, it makes fins of the ocean either useless, or the latter makes some of this one unnecessary. Personally i'd roll them into one.

Skyborn wings: So if you want perfect flight you can only get 50' (unless you invest feats). Together with the size decrease it seems a bit strange for a maneuver user.

RedWarlock
2012-04-17, 12:54 PM
Okay, I've split part of Green of the Wood off into Heart of the Earth, and re-arranged the ability gains so they are more evenly spread, which also altered the balance on a couple of other items.

Thanks for the comments, everyone, please keep 'em coming.

(I should also add that Fins of the Ocean and Seaborn Gills are intended to be useable for implementing separate creature concepts. One is for doing semi or fully-aquatic air-breathers who can swim well, like dolphins, seals, and alligators, while the other is for water-breathing creatures explicitly, whether open-ocean swimmers, sharks and squid, or not, like octopus or crabs.)

RedWarlock
2012-04-18, 02:03 AM
Okay, made fixes based on comments on the MinMax forums.

I think I need something else, a class ability for 5th and 17th levels. Doesn't have to be huge, and it's not technically a dead level because there are trait improvements at every level, but they are small, glaring gaps in the progression.

Xzoltar
2012-04-18, 05:51 PM
One of my player (who was a Dragon Adept/Druid) ask to convert is Druid level to Shapeshifter level. I allowed him to do it, so he's now Dragon Adept 5 / Shapeshifter 6 with the traits: Bite (Free), Armor Hide, Brutish Size, Raking Claws, Crashing Tail, Entangling Tentacles (Wings instead of tentacles) and is allowed to use is Breath Attack while in Dragon form. He love is character and in fact everybody think he's a True Dragon. Great class overall, I feel my player could have a stronger character using multiple form instead of focusing on only one, but he just want to mimic a dragon so as long as he have fun.

RedWarlock
2012-04-18, 07:37 PM
One of my player (who was a Dragon Adept/Druid) ask to convert is Druid level to Shapeshifter level. I allowed him to do it, so he's now Dragon Adept 5 / Shapeshifter 6 with the traits: Bite (Free), Armor Hide, Brutish Size, Raking Claws, Crashing Tail, Entangling Tentacles (Wings instead of tentacles) and is allowed to use is Breath Attack while in Dragon form. He love is character and in fact everybody think he's a True Dragon. Great class overall, I feel my player could have a stronger character using multiple form instead of focusing on only one, but he just want to mimic a dragon so as long as he have fun.

Glad to hear it! That was exactly the idea I had tried to build potential for, glad someone took to it! (this is good stuff to put into the adaptation notes, methinks..)

Jaquettie
2012-05-24, 09:41 AM
Just a question, what difference does the animal you choose for you form of the beast make? Do you incorperate their stats, do you have that animals attacks or do only have the ones you have gained. Do you have that animals speed, if they have wings do you have fly speed. Can you choose whale and cheeta and make a rail gun by changing mid sprint.

From what I can see this class looks cool and I intend on useing it, but I don't know what animals I can choose and how that will effect my stats.

Thanks.:smallbiggrin:

RedWarlock
2012-05-24, 12:15 PM
Just a question, what difference does the animal you choose for you form of the beast make? Do you incorperate their stats, do you have that animals attacks or do only have the ones you have gained. Do you have that animals speed, if they have wings do you have fly speed. Can you choose whale and cheeta and make a rail gun by changing mid sprint.

From what I can see this class looks cool and I intend on useing it, but I don't know what animals I can choose and how that will effect my stats.

Thanks.:smallbiggrin:

The choice of animal is entirely aesthetic. You don't get any abilities or attacks from the animal by default, instead choosing your shapeshift abilities to represent that creature.

Faerieheart
2012-06-06, 12:53 AM
I like the class but... ok let me see if I understand this right... if you take say brutish size you have to increase all the way to size huge if you start at medium?

What if you'd like a form that's smaller rather than bigger than your normal form? One that doesn't fly or is more than one size category smaller? Not everyone wants forms for combat. Shoot one of the best forms I could think of for spying ect would be that of a house cat, squirrel or small rodent. The whole point of shape-shifting is versatility.

Also you seem to be completely forgetting slam attacks like say from an ape's strikes or an elephant's trunk. Not everything uses claws, bites, and/or hooves.

RedWarlock
2012-06-06, 09:46 AM
Yeah, small creatures are one area this class kind of missed. The trunk/ape-fist/etc can be just reflavoring, though.

I'm thinking about breaking the traits down into lesser stage-based traits, though that does mean admitting defeat with my stack-based mechanic. (Pick a trait, inherit a version of that trait suitable to your current level, rather than just a minor bonus with the same inherent problems as 3e multiclassing.) I'd love to combine the two, but it might be too complex.. Maybe if handled carefully..

I'll have to see what I can manage. i'm working on combining this class concept into my barbarian, as an all-purpose Berserker, who can go more martial or more primal as the player chooses to build them. I just need to think of a proper mechanic for keeping the shapeshift/rage power from being overpowered, but still keeping the general flavor. Some way to keep it always-on for out-of-combat would be nice, without letting them always be super-powered in-combat.. Maybe some kind of frenzy which is only triggered by combat?

Hmm.

Howler Dagger
2012-06-06, 09:59 AM
I'm sorry if I didn't notice, but is there a duration for shapeshift, and can you use maneuvers in shapeshifted form? Also, could you add a trait or some way of getting a Gore attack? Never mind, noticed jagged horn.

RedWarlock
2012-06-06, 11:06 AM
Yep, right now shapeshift is unlimited duration. The main cost is in assuming the right form at the right time. Each form can use maneuvers, and in fact each form can prep their own distinct selection from overall maneuvers known.

Faerieheart
2012-06-06, 04:57 PM
Yeah, small creatures are one area this class kind of missed. The trunk/ape-fist/etc can be just reflavoring, though.

I'm thinking about breaking the traits down into lesser stage-based traits, though that does mean admitting defeat with my stack-based mechanic. (Pick a trait, inherit a version of that trait suitable to your current level, rather than just a minor bonus with the same inherent problems as 3e multiclassing.) I'd love to combine the two, but it might be too complex.. Maybe if handled carefully..

I'll have to see what I can manage. i'm working on combining this class concept into my barbarian, as an all-purpose Berserker, who can go more martial or more primal as the player chooses to build them. I just need to think of a proper mechanic for keeping the shapeshift/rage power from being overpowered, but still keeping the general flavor. Some way to keep it always-on for out-of-combat would be nice, without letting them always be super-powered in-combat.. Maybe some kind of frenzy which is only triggered by combat?

Hmm.

Ehh not sure I like that idea, the berserker thing. Is a much better concept separated. As is, it is a great class. just needs a few more options for critter builds. Such as the smaller sizes, ect.