View Full Version : The Wild Shaper Base Class (Help wanted) [3.5]

Black Mage
2008-10-01, 07:05 PM
This is actually a alteration of a base class called a Limit Freak that I found a while back on the Wizards boards. I wanted to change it into more of a wildshaping barbarian type class though. I would really appreciate any help and input that anyone has to offer, especially with adding more Transformation Abilities.

Here's a link to the original: Limit Freak (http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=917670)

Wild Shaper

"Transformation is changing beyond your form. I go beyond even that."

There are stories of men who transform into wolves, bears, or tigers when the moon is full. Some of those stories are enough to scare anyone. Springing up lately, though, are stories that put those to shame. Men who can transform seemingly at will into unrecognizable creatures. Creatures that are sometimes completely inhuman. Where they gained these abilities, no one knows. The most frightening thing, though, is that they could be anyone you see on the street.

Early forms are most commonly used as "tool" forms, providing bonuses to their skills. This provides a cheap bonus to skills later in the game, while allowing you to save higher level forms for combat. With a myriad of abilities to add to your forms, though, it's difficult to lay down a strategy for how to build a Wild Shaper.
Abilities: Constitution is definitely your biggest concern. You'll want hit points in order to allow you to take more hits to let you transform. You may also want dexterity since you can't transform with armor on.
Races: Almost all Wild Shapers are humanoid. Other races are extremely rare.
Alignment: Any nonlawful.
Starting Gold: 4d4 x10gp (100 gp)
Starting Age: As barbarian (PH 109)

Class Skills
The Wild Shaper’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are: Balance (DEX), Climb (STR), Craft (INT), Handle Animal (CHA), Intimidate (CHA), Jump (STR), Listen (WIS), Ride (DEX), Sense Motive (WIS), Spot (WIS), Survival (WIS), Swim (STR)
Skills Points at 1st Level : (4 + INT)x4
Skills Points at Each Additional Level : 4 + INT

Hit Dice: d12

BAB Fort Ref Will Abilities Forms Known
1. +1 +2 +0 +0 Limit Gauge, Transform 1
2. +2 +3 +0 +0 2
3. +3 +3 +1 +1 Minor Shape Change 3
4. +4 +4 +1 +1 4
5. +5 +4 +1 +1 Permanent Change 5
6. +6 +5 +2 +2 6
7. +7 +5 +2 +2 7
8. +8 +6 +2 +2 8
9. +9 +6 +3 +3 9
10. +10 +7 +3 +3 Permanent Change, Safe Change 10
11. +11 +7 +3 +3 11
12. +12 +8 +4 +4 12
13. +13 +8 +4 +4 13
14. +14 +9 +4 +4 14
15. +15 +9 +5 +5 Permanent Change 15
16. +16 +10 +5 +5 16
17. +17 +10 +5 +5 17
18. +18 +11 +6 +6 18
19. +19 +11 +6 +6 19
20. +20 +12 +6 +6 Berserk, Permanent Change 20

Weapon Proficiencies:
Wild Shaper are proficient with all simple weapons, and may additionally choose to be proficient with any three martial weapons as well. They are also proficient with light armor even though it hinders their transformation abilities. They cannot use any shields.

Transformation Gauge:
Wild Shaper’s use their Transform ability by depleting their Limit Gauge. Wild Shapers’ Transformation Gauges begins at Ό of your gauge max each day. As you take damage, you add whatever amount of damage you took to your Transformation Gauge. For example, if Vincent takes 14 damage, he would add that to whatever he already had in his Transformation Gauge. The maximum amount that your Transformation Gauge can go to is your classes HD (d12) times 10, to a max of 240 at level 20. Your Transformation Gauge refreshes back to Ό max at each dawn, regardless of whether you've rested or not.

A Wild Shaper’s signature ability is Transform. This lets a Wild Shaper change into one of his many learned forms in order to gain an advantage in battle. When they transform into one of their forms, it depletes their Transformation Gauge. The amount it depletes their gauge is equal to how many Form Points (FP) were used to build the form. When building a form, you get a number of FP equal to your class level. At first level you only have 1 FP to build a form with, at second level you get 2 FP, and so on.
When you use transform, you can choose any of your forms that you've created. If you're level 16, you can use a form built with 6 FP if you like. In order to fuel your form, you need a minimum of points in your limit gauge equal to the amount of FP for the build. You can stay in any form for a number of rounds equal to your constitution modifier. If you wish to stay in this form longer, you must pay the full cost of the form every round beyond your constitution. If you lack the points to pay for the form, you automatically revert to your normal self.
The actual act of transforming is a swift action that provokes attacks of opportunities. Reverting back to your normal form is also a swift action. Transforming from one form to another is a move action. If switching from one form to the other, you pay half of each form from your limit gauge (rounding up).
You may not transform if wearing any armor. All effects and abilities gained from a form disappear whenever not in that form.
You may choose any humanoid appearance that you like for each form. You may change skin color, height, weight, gender, and any other cosmetic aspects of your character, even if it's fantastical, such as purple skin with green hair.

Transform Abilities
1 point abilities:1 FP
• Alertness : You gain a +1 bonus to initiative and a +3 bonus to listen checks. You may take this ability multiple times.
• Bite : You gain a bite attack at your highest attack bonus which deals 1d4 piercing damage. You may take this ability twice more, each time raising the die size by one (to 1d6 then 1d8).
• Callused : You gain a +3 bonus to all climb and tumble checks. You may take this multiple times.
• Claws : You grow claws that you can attack with. The claws do 1d6 slashing damage. You may take this ability twice more, each time raising the die size by one (to 1d8 then 1d10).
• Climb : You gain a climb speed equal to your unmodified land speed.
• Darkvision : You gain darkvision out to 30 feet. You may take this ability multiple times.
• Digitigrade : You gain a +3 bonus to all jump and move silently checks. You may take this ability multiple times.
• Disfigured : You gain a +3 bonus to all disguise and intimidate checks. You may take this ability multiple times.
• Durable : You gain a +1 bonus to your Constitution ability score. You may take this ability up to 10 times.
• Energy Resistance : You gain one point of one type of energy resistance. The type must be chosen when the form is created. This may be taken multiple times, each time choosing a new type of energy, or increasing one resistance by another point.
• Gills : You may breathe water as though it were air.
• Horns : You gain a gore attack which deals 1d8 piercing damage at a -5 attack penalty.
• Improved Flight : If you have some sort of flight, this ability improves your maneuverability by one grade and increases your speed by 10 feet. This may be taken multiple times, but your maneuverability may not exceed perfect.
• Nimble : You gain a +1 bonus to your Dexterity ability score. You may take this ability up to 10 times.
• Oily : You gain a +3 bonus to all escape artist and swim checks. You may take this ability multiple times.
• Slow Fall : You gain the ability slow fall as a monk (PHB 41). This may be taken multiple times, each time allowing 20 feet of slow fall.
• Sniff : You may use detect magic at will by sniffing it out as a move action.
• Strong : You gain a +1 bonus to your Strength ability score. You may take this ability up to 10 times.
• Swim : You gain a swim speed equal to your unmodified land speed.
• Tail : You gain a +3 bonus to all balance and handle animal checks. You may take this multiple times.
• Thick Skin : You gain a +1 bonus to your natural AC. You may take this ability multiple times.
• Track : You gain the Track feat for free.
• Vigor : You gain 5 temporary hit points. This may be taken multiple times.
• Withdrawn : You gain a +3 bonus to all hide and spot checks. You may take this ability multiple times.
2 point abilites: 2 FP
• Blindsight : You gain blindsight out to 20 feet. This may be taken multiple times.
• Breath Weapon : You gain a breath weapon. It's default type is fire (but will be overridden if you have a different type chosen for Elemental) and is a 15 foot cone that deals 1d6 damage. A successful reflex save halves the damage dealt; the save DC is equal to 10 + your class level + your CON modifier. You may use this attack only once every 1d4+1 rounds. This ability may be taken multiple times, each time adding 1d6 damage. If taken 6 times, it increases to a 30 foot cone. If taken 10 times, it increases to a 60 foot cone.
• Elemental : You choose one elemental type and make it your subtype. Additionally, all attacks you make in this form deal damage of that type.
• Exoskeleton : You gain damage reduction 1/--. You may take this multiple times.
• Large : You are a size category larger than normal, gaining +2 STR, +4 to grapple, -2 DEX, -4 to hide, -1 to hit, and -1 to AC. Your space and reach are now 10 feet. Refer to the enlarge person spell (PHB 226) for more details.
• Metallic : You become immune to critical hits, but sink in water.
• Monstrous : You may take one monstrous feat (such as those from the Monster Manual) as long as you meet the prerequisites.
• Quick : You gain a +5 bonus to your land speed that stacks with all others.
3 point abilities: 3 FP
• Armored : You may wear armor while in this form.
• Fast Healing : You gain fast healing 1. This may be taken multiple times.
• Haste : You are hasted while in this form. See PHB 239 for more details.
• Invisibility : You gain the benefits of the invisibility spell (PHB 245) at will.
• Spider Climb : You gain the benefits of a spider climb spell (PHB 283).
• Tremorsense : You gain tremorsense out to 10 feet. This may be taken multiple times.
• Venom Immunity : You are immune to all poisons.
4 point abilities:4 FP
• Extra Arms : You gain two additional arms. If using them to wield weapons, consider taking Monstrous for the Multiweapon Fighting feat tree. You may take this ability twice.
• Huge : You grow two size categories, gaining +4 STR, +8 to grapple, -4 DEX, , -8 to hide, -2 to hit, and -2 to AC. Your space and reach are now 15 feet. Refer to the enlarge person spell (PHB 226) for more details.
• Resistance : You gain either spell or psionic resistance equal to 10 + the number of FP used to make this form. If this is a 18 FP form, you gain 28 spell or psionic resistance. This may be taken twice, once for spell and the second for psionic.
5 point abilites:5 FP
• Blink : You gain the benefits of the blink spell (PHB 206).
• Fireball : As a standard action, you may make an attack similar to that of a fireball spell (PHB 231). You must wait 1d3 rounds before using this attack again. Your caster level is equal to how many FP this form was built with. The save DC is 10 + class level + CON modifier. If you have Elemental, the type you chose for that overrides the fire element.
• Frightful Presence : You gain a frightful presence equal to the number of FP used to build this form. You may take this a second time to add your CHA modifier. Taking it a third time allows you to add your STR or CON modifier.
• Greater Invisibility : You gain the benefits of the greater invisibility spell (PHB 245) at will.
• Multiple Heads : You gain an extra head. This head gains it's own standard action each turn, but is limited to whatever a head can do. Such actions include speech, listen or spot checks, manifesting psionic powers, casting still spells, breath weapons, or gaze attacks. This may be taken once for medium creatures, twice for large, and thrice for huge.
• Wings : You gain wings, which grant you a flight speed equal to twice your base land speed and a flight maneuverability of good.
6 point abilities: 6 FP
• Pounce : You may pounce, which allows you to make a full attack after a charge.
• True Seeing : You gain the effects of the true seeing spell (PHB 296).
Forms Known:
Wild Shaper begin play with access to only one form. Upon gaining a new level, they also gain a new form. When 'building' their new form, they may use a number of FP equal to their Wild Shaper class level.

Minor Shape Change:
Wild Shapers have the supernatural ability to alter their appearance as though using a disguise self spell that affects their bodies but not their possessions. This ability is not an illusory effect, but a minor physical alteration of a Wild Shaper’s facial features, skin color and texture, and size, within the limits described for the spell. A Wild Shaper can use this ability at will, and the alteration lasts until he changes shape again. A Wild Shaper reverts to his natural form when killed. A true seeing spell reveals his natural form. When using this ability to create a disguise, a Wild Shaper receives a +10 circumstance bonus on Disguise checks. Using this ability is a full round action. In addition, the Wild Shaper now takes on the Shapechanger subtype.

Permanent Change:
As a Wild Shaper constantly changes his form, some changes become permanent. Starting at 5th level, and every five levels after (10th, 15th, 20th) a Wild shaper may select one Transformation Ability to permanently apply to themselves. At 5th level, this must be a 1 point ability, at 10th a 2 point or two 1 point abilities, at 15th a 3 point or any combination of abilities equaling 3 points, and at 20th any combination of abilities equaling 4 points. These abilities are permanent and can never be changed once selected.

Safe Change:
At 10th level a Wild Shaper has grown fully accustomed to changing their form. When they use their Transform ability, they no longer provoke attacks of opportunity.

Upon reaching level 20, a Wild Shaper doubles the amount of damage they receive when adding it to their Transformation Gauge. For example, if Vincent takes 54 damage from an attack, he adds 108 points to his Transformation Gauge.

2008-10-01, 07:09 PM
My first impulse was not to use it; simply based on the large list of transformations that one can composite, I'd find it dizzying tallying my new stats et. al

Others may disagree, but as I said, that was just my first impulse.

2008-10-01, 07:13 PM
My very first opinion of this system is that it's way too many numbers being thrown around in a game with slow-ish combat to begin with for very little benefit.

The transformation gauge could be simplified to simple number of attacks pretty easily - I mean, since it scales linearly while damage scales up a lot faster, by 20 you are hitting your transformation within a round, often within the first 1 or 2 attacks you took. (Especially with that final class feature - might as well just say they can always have it on.)

EDIT: Also what Afroakuma said.

Black Mage
2008-10-01, 07:24 PM
I understand it would be a lot of book-keeping to keep track of all the numbers, but this is mostly just for me. My DM cleared the class for a game we'll be starting soon, but said that it was pretty weak compared to what other people were doing (one of the players managed to get a super-saiyan class cleared o_O). So, I figured I'd come here and see if I could get any help from the more experienced homebrewers.

2008-10-01, 07:32 PM
I think it'd be simpler and better to
- Take a Barbarian
- Forget DR, Trap Sense, Uncanny Dodge
- Get 'Wild Shape' progression as a druid, but use the weaker and simpler PHB II variant instead. You could use the UA Wild Shape variant here instead, but I never liked it as much: http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/classFeatureVariants.htm#wildShapeVariantAspectOfN ature
Using the default version of Wild Shape might be too much.

2008-10-01, 07:36 PM
In terms of strength, yes, it is tremendoulsy weak at high levels. The lower level abilities are fitting, but five transform points spent for wings vs. three for spider climb? 10 ft. tremorsense is nearly useless, fireball comes into use too early and then ends up too weak, Pounce is too expensive and Huge is inconvenient for most dungeon crawls. Taking extra arms is nigh-useless and inconvenient without taking feats to specialize with it, which hurts your build even more.

Also: poor AstralFire. That's twice I've virtual ninja'd him. :smalltongue:

Black Mage
2008-10-01, 09:56 PM
Which is why I asked for input on possible additions to the ability list, and if certain things should cost less, just tell me where I should put them.

2008-10-01, 10:01 PM
It is getting late to do this tonight, but if you're intent on sticking with this, the current set-up of "all abilities available at all levels for a linear increasing cost to stick 'em together" is too much at low levels and too little at high.

In the morning (if you say you want to use such a variant) I'll try and come up with a list of abilities stratified by level you could gain access to them.

2008-10-01, 10:08 PM
On a perhaps insignificant quote, the name is kinda misleading. This isn't so much wildshape as random abomination-shape and doesn't really have much to do with the Druid either...

2008-10-01, 10:16 PM
Seeing the ability list in a table would help too. Things like cost, name, benefit, Multiple times, etc. It would make it easier to go through.

2008-10-02, 07:29 AM
Metallic is way OP at 2 points. Should probably be 5 points, with a %chance of crit immunity equal to Level x5.

There likely needs to be some sort of class ability that increases your FP limit at 6, 12, and 18 to help deal with the linear scale issue. A +1, +2 and +3 stacking FP bonus off the top of my head.

Haste is too good for a 3 FP ability.

PR and SR are usually transparent. That should probably be, I dunno, a 6 point ability and work for both.

I don't even know what type of Frightful Presence you're referring to, since the wording is vague. There are several abilities by that name, with somewhat similar effects.

More specific commentary is really hard to make since this class is extremely variable in strength and very dependent on being reactive and getting hit, which is basically saying, "here, hit me for about half of my hit points, I can't do much period until you do", turning you into more of a glass cannon only with range and high AC/Saves being counterproductive. Playtesting would be more definitive.