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[D&D 3.5 PrC] Master of Many Shapeshifts

Game design for the d20 system

[D&D 3.5 PrC] Master of Many Shapeshifts

Postby draxar » Sat Jun 18, 2011 9:44 am

Players like shapeshifting classes because they're cool, because they have a wide range of cool abilities... and because they're massively breakable. DMs can often hate them because of the breakableness, because of the headache of keeping track of what the player's doing, and because of the player always being able to pull something out of a hat that counters what the DM is doing.

The intention of the Shapeshift Druid in PHBII was to keep the cool, and some of the range of cool abilities, whilst removing the brokenness and making it managable for the GM to know what you're doing and can do.

So, here's a question: Could the Master of Many Forms be converted in a similar fashion? The point of MoMF is to take the adaptability of Wildshaping to the max, whilst still remaining 'natural' insofar as you turning into specific and distinct forms, rather than becoming a shifting mass of flesh and bone.

The way that occurs to me is to nick a trick from the Master of Masks, and have you pick the abilities/forms you want, though in this case gaining multiple extra forms each level, I'd say. Then have some inherent upgrading as levels go by. One big question is whether you should've picked up all the forms by the end of the class, I'd somewhat lean towards yes. Another question is size. Either have a general size-shifting ability, or give each form various sizes it can be.

You'd keep the Shapeshift druid's unrestricted number/duration of shifts, and swift action changes. I'd also give feats in a similar way to Shapeshift druid does. You'd get the various Shapeshift forms as stuff to take too, possibly with buffs – for example gaining Earth Glide when in Earth Elemental form. The idea is to have a manageably trackable number of of abilties, not to get rid of all the abilities that let you get around stuff.

An ability that would seem to be worthwhile would be letting magic items still work without having to pay extra for them to meld. You wouldn't get the Armour bonus of your armour, but you'd get the enhancement and abilities of it.




Examples:

Dragonic form. Probably a level restricted form. Firebreath with a cooldown, flight, various sizes, fair bit of natural armour, stat increases, lots of natural attacks, possibly flyby attack, Elemental damage resistance, possibly immunity (at 10th). Probably get to pick a number of different dragons equal to your class level that you can turn into.

Aquatic form: Fairly fast, blindsense underwater. Not sure what else to give this one. Possibly get huge and be a ship sinking sea monster at high levels.

Thousand Faces: Look like who you want. Not sure what to stick on this.

Aerial form (from Shapeshift Druid): Get faster and maybe perfect manuverability, possibly get extra attacks, get improved flyby attack, adroit flyby attack.

Predator form (from Shapeshift Druid): Get a bit faster, possibly more attacks, scent and track, Stealth bonuses, HiPS at 10th?

Ferocious Slayer form (from Shapeshift Druid): Get even bigger, stronger, etc. Cleave/Great Cleave, or Power attack?

Venomous stalker form: Decent poison, good stealth, climb. Sneak attack? Quite possibly let it get pretty tiny, whilst retaining strong poison. Tremorsense? Probably medium level restricted.

Forest Avenger (from Shapeshift Druid): Talk to plants, better DR, treewalk? Probably level restricted.

Elemental Fury (from Shapeshift Druid): Earthglide for Earth, flight for Fire and Air, ability to flow through anywhere water can fit as water. Whirlwind as Air, Vortex as Water, earth tremor ability as Earth, Burn as fire. Probably level restricted.

Fey form: Charm/Illusion abilities. Possibly sneak, possibly flight, possibly invisibility. DR/cold iron.

Ooze form: Blindsight, squeezyness, acid. Not sure what else. Probably level restricted.

Giant: Get steadily huger, to Gargantuan or Collosal. Get rock thowing. Overrun/stamp. Possibly some ability to (relatively) easily rip apart/break down walls/buildings that aren't magically protected.

Animated Item: Turn into something that looks like an ordinary item, but is animated. Immunity to crits, strong, the utility of having your cart being a party member.




The one thing it seems to be lacking ATM is enough utility abilities. Shapeshift Druid has Druid spells to do that, Master of Many Forms has the specific abilities of its specific class. Possibly allow this to have slowed druid spell progression, or just add in a number more utility abilities.

So, thoughts, suggested forms, adjustments?

[GitP]http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=11234987[/GitP]
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Re: [D&D 3.5 PrC] Master of Many Shapeshifts

Postby draxar » Sat Jun 18, 2011 5:38 pm

Some specific class ability that allows you to use the various forms (particularly, but not only Thousand Faces) to pretend to be ordinary creatures of the type, gaining a bonus to disguising as such.

Upgrade the Thousand Faces ability so you can actually be the whole range of heights and weights that humanoids are, rather than the usual +/- 10%.

Some kind of grabbling, swallowing whole aberration-thing as a form.
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Re: [D&D 3.5 PrC] Master of Many Shapeshifts

Postby Draz » Mon Jun 20, 2011 8:26 am

I approve this idea. The Shapeshift Variant Druid is better for the game than the standard; he deserves some PrC love.
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Re: [D&D 3.5 PrC] Master of Many Shapeshifts

Postby draxar » Sun Jul 03, 2011 7:40 am

Further thoughts…

One of the key things I want is for every form you have to be viable at every level. Sure, there's always going to be something that's overall better, but as an example, I want Predator and Ferocious Slayer to have their own comparative advantages, so Predator gets stealth, at top level Hide in Plain Sight and probably spring attack at some point, so you can appear, attack, move away. Whereas Ferocious Slayer would have more overall attacks doing more damage, but it needs to be there, right in your face doing them.

I'm contemplating each form granting a SLA or few that can be used in any form.

draxar wrote:Dragonic form. Probably a level restricted form. Firebreath with a cooldown, flight, various sizes, fair bit of natural armour, stat increases, lots of natural attacks, possibly flyby attack, Elemental damage resistance, possibly immunity (at 10th). Probably get to pick a number of different dragons equal to your class level that you can turn into.


DaTedinator wrote:Wyrm Form
Grants:
Size increased two steps.
+12 enhancement bonus to Strength
+12 enhancement bonus to Natural Armor
+4 enhancement bonus to Fortitude and Will saves
Gain bite attack that deals 2d6 if your base size is Medium
Gain two claw attacks that deal 1d8 if your base size is Medium
Gain two wing slap attacks that deal 1d8 if your base size is Medium
Gain a tail slap attack that deals 2d6 if your base size is Medium
Gain a fly speed of 120' with Poor maneuverability
Gain immunity to fire, cold, electricity, or acid (chosen upon entering the form)
Gain a breath weapon that deals (class level*2) damage in a 60' line usable every 1d4 rounds; damage is of the same type as elemental immunity, and a Reflex save (DC 10 + 1/2 class level + Con mod) is allowed for half damage
Upon reaching Druid level 18, you may breathe in either a 60' line or a 30' cone.


I now lean away from immunity, it seems too strong. Probably have a long-ish (2d4, 3d4) cooldown on the breathweapon. Flight would be noticeably less good than the aerial form. Possibly tone down the strength and damage if it turns out to be more than Ferocious Slayer; the Slayer should have higher damage, but probably less overall attacks (assuming no cleaves)

Aquatic form: Fairly fast, blindsense underwater. Not sure what else to give this one. Possibly get huge and be a ship sinking sea monster at high levels.


TheDementedOne wrote:Ocean Terror

The ocean terror form allows you to become a powerful aquatic sea predator, like a shark or a squid. You gain your choice of a bite attack that deals 1d8 damage, or four tentacle attacks, each with reach 10 ft. greater than normal, that deal 1d4 damage. Your size increases by one category, to a maximum of Colossal, and you gain the reach of a long creature of your kind. You gain a +8 enhancement bonus to Strength, and gain a +5 enhancement bonus on Fortitude. Your natural armor bonus increases by 6. You gain a swim speed of 40 ft., and gain the aquatic subtype. At effective druid level 10th, you gain Swim-By Attack as a bonus feat while in ocean terror form.


Have it get the option to be even bigger at higher levels. Add a reasonable range Blindsight whilst in water at mid to high levels.

Thousand Faces: Look like who you want. Not sure what to stick on this.


Kobold-Bard wrote:Humanoid Form:
Unless their behaviour would lead to doubt being placed on their identity, the Druid automatically passes for a member of the chosen race. They do not however gain any additional knowledge regarding the race in question, no do they gain any special ability to speak the race's language.

In addition the Druid gains these abilities whilst in the particular racial form:
Choose 2 skills that either use Str, Dex or Con as their connected stat, or Intimidate. You gain a +1 bonus on these skills, plus a further +1 for every three Druid levels. These skills are set for each race and cannot be changed.
+5 on Bluff checks to convince others that you are a member of the appropriate race.

RaceStat BonusOther Bonus
Dwarf+2 Con+2 Saves vs. Poison
Elf+2 DexImmune: Sleep
Half-Elf+2 ChaLow Light Vision
Half-Orc+2 StrDarkvision 60ft
HumanN/AForm skill bonuses may be changed 1/day
Lizardfolk+2 Con+2 Natural Armour
Orc+4 StrN/A
Gnome+2 Con+2 Saves vs. Illusions
Goblin+2 DexDarkvision 60ft
Halfling+2 Dex+1 Any one Save
Kobold+2 Dex


Aerial form (from Shapeshift Druid): Get faster and maybe perfect manuverability, possibly get extra attacks, get improved flyby attack, adroit flyby attack.

Predator form (from Shapeshift Druid): Get a bit faster, possibly more attacks, scent and track, Stealth bonuses, HiPS at 10th?

Ferocious Slayer form (from Shapeshift Druid): Get even bigger, stronger, etc. Cleave/Great Cleave, or Power attack?

Venomous stalker form: Decent poison, good stealth, climb. Sneak attack? Quite possibly let it get pretty tiny, whilst retaining strong poison. Tremorsense? Probably medium level restricted.

Forest Avenger (from Shapeshift Druid): Talk to plants, better DR, treewalk? Probably level restricted.

Elemental Fury (from Shapeshift Druid): Earthglide for Earth, flight for Fire and Air, ability to flow through anywhere water can fit as water. Whirlwind as Air, Vortex as Water, earth tremor ability as Earth, Burn as fire. Probably level restricted.

Fey form: Charm/Illusion abilities. Possibly sneak, possibly flight, possibly invisibility. DR/cold iron.

Ooze form: Blindsight, squeezyness, acid. Not sure what else. Probably level restricted.

Titan: Get steadily huger, to Gargantuan or Collosal. Get rock thowing. Overrun/stamp. Possibly some ability to (relatively) easily rip apart/break down walls/buildings that aren't magically protected. Gain Throw Ally and Thrown Enemy feats.

Animated Item: Turn into something that looks like an ordinary item, but is animated. Immunity to crits, strong, the utility of having your cart being a party member.


Additional forms:


TheDementedOne wrote:Creeping Tendrils

The creeping tendrils battle form allows you take on plant form, gaining long, vine-like tentacles and a body of plant matter. You gain two tentacle attacks, which have a reach of 10 ft. longer than your normal reach, that each deal 1d6 damage. You can constrict a creature with a successful grapple check, dealing damage to it as with one of your tentacles. Whenever you successfully hit a creature of your size or smaller with a tentacle attack, you may attempt to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity. If you win the check, you establish a hold and can constrict. Your size increases by one category, to a maximum of Colossal, and you gain the reach of a tall creature of your kind. You gain a +12 enhancement bonus to Strength, and gain a +4 enhancement bonus on Fortitude and Will saves. Your natural armor bonus increases by 10, and you gain damage reduction 5/slashing. Your base land speed changes to 20 ft. At effective druid level 15th, you gain Improved Disarm and Improved Trip as bonus feats while in creeping tendrils form.


TheDementedOne wrote:Shifting Swarm

The bizarre shifting swarm battle form allows you to become a swarm of insects or similar vermin. You gain the swarm subtype, and all the traits of the swarm subtype. Your size decreases by two categories, to a minimum of Fine, but your space increases to 10 ft. You have no reach. You gain a swarm attack that deals 3d6 damage, to which you do not add your Strength score. In addition, any creature that begins its turn in your space while your are in shifting swarm form must make a Fortitude save, DC 10 + ½ your effective Druid level + your Constitution score, or be nauseated for that round. Spellcasting or concentrating on spells within your space requires a Concentration check, DC 20 + spell level. Using skills that involve patience and concentration requires a DC 20 Concentration check. You take a -10 penalty to your Strength score, to a minimum of one, but gain a +8 enhancement bonus to your Dexterity score, and a +5 enhancement bonus on all Reflex saves. You lose your base land speed, and gain a fly speed of 30 ft., with good maneuverability. You gain Weapon Finesse as a bonus feat while in shifting swarm form. At effective Druid level 12th, you gain Mobility as a bonus feat while in monstrous vermin form, and at effective Druid level 14th, you gain Spring Attack as a bonus feat. You must be at least a 4th level Battle Shifter in order to gain the shifting swarm form.


Finally, some kind of incorporeal shadow spirit form with incorporeal (but not draining) attacks.

I'd like to get the total number of forms up to twenty, as then you have have a ten level class gaining two each level. Need more ideas for forms though, preferably concentrating on the utility, as I think the combat is fairly well covered.
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Re: [D&D 3.5 PrC] Master of Many Shapeshifts

Postby draxar » Wed Jul 06, 2011 6:28 pm

draxar wrote:Finally, some kind of incorporeal shadow spirit form with incorporeal (but not draining) attacks.


And good stealth.

Also, an 'Outsider form' with wings, possibly a bit of DR, flaming/otherwise magically damaging weapons, with also the ability to throw reasonably good range bolts of such (providing a medium/long range attack, as otherwise the only other ranged thing is the breath weapon)
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Re: [D&D 3.5 PrC] Master of Many Shapeshifts

Postby draxar » Fri Jul 08, 2011 6:48 pm

High AC, High DR burrowing form.

Possibly have one of the levels granting shifting as an immediate action, either as a times/day thing, or with a cost — TDO's version loses you your action next turn for it. Could have that level not grant a form, reducing the number of forms needed.

Possibly a healing mechanic, but not sure exactly what to link it to, as the number of shifts/day is unlimited.
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Re: [D&D 3.5 PrC] Master of Many Shapeshifts

Postby draxar » Sat Jul 09, 2011 5:11 am

Time for a count up:
1: Draconic
2: Aquatic/Ocean Terror
3: Thousand Faces/Humanoid form
4: Ferocious Slayer
5: Venomous Stalker
6: Forest Avenger
7: Elemental Fury
8: Ooze
9: Giant/Titan
10: Animated Item
11: Creeping Tendrils
12: Shifting Swarm
13: Incorporeal Shadow
14: Outsider
15: Tough Burrower
Possible 16th: Fey
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