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Homebrewing a new base class for 3.5

Discussion in 'Dungeons & Dragons + Other RPGs' started by LKD, Feb 9, 2010.

  1. LKD Gems: 31/31
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    OK, here's the deal -- I love the concept of shapeshifting. I want to make a new base class that has no spellcasting ability. The prime trait of this class would be shapeshifting at will.

    My inspiration for this comes from what was done with the DMG Prestige class The Duellist. Later, in The Complete Warrior, they made a base class using the same character concept called the Swashbuckler.

    In the Complete Adventurer, they have a Prestige class called the Master of Many Shapes (or is it Forms?) and it is really cool. I have postulated running a druid who takes ranks in both this Prestige class as well as the Complete Warrior's Warshaper Prestige class. Then I figured, why not just do the same sort of modification as was done for the Duellist? Why not have the character start out with shapeshifting skill rather than waiting until Druid 5th level?

    Now, first thing, I don't own every supplement out there. Has this already been done? If not, or if I don't like something in a base class that is shown to me, what sort of parameters should I set on the class to make it playable and keep it in line with other classes? Advice?
     
  2. 8people

    8people 8 is just another way of looking at infinite ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran

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    [​IMG] I *believe* the players handbook 2 does something like this as an option for the Druid. I'll check with CapnCJ - he has the books with him pretty much at all times, lol.
     
  3. LKD Gems: 31/31
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    I do have the PHB2, and the shapeshifter option given there sucks. You get no real versatility, just 5 forms you can take. While they do get more powerful as time goes on, you have significantly less versatility than even the regular wild shape ability. I hates it!

    However, I DO appreciate the thought, 8people! I appreciate you! All of you!
     
  4. Cap'n CJ

    Cap'n CJ Arrr! Veteran

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    If they gave you too many shapes, the class would start to become too powerful. Also, when are you gonna need more than 5 shapes? One that can fly, one that can swim, one that can run fast, one that is tough, and... Another one. I think it might be a much smaller form.
     
  5. 8people

    8people 8 is just another way of looking at infinite ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran

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    [​IMG] Do you get to pick the five forms?

    Whenever I've played shifters or summoners I usually stick to a few basics that strike a chord with my character. (In my own rules there's usually a limit as well depending on race/class options, but they're usually innate rather than adaptive abilities)

    You could possibly adapt the Shapeshifter class using Savage Species though (as odd as that sounds, bear with me) if you follow the formulaic rules for shapeshifters you often see they can change in to certain forms, certain number of times a day and these limitations melt away and are sloughed off as the player increases in power.

    You could implement a limit of forms for lower levels as well as transformations per day - if you want to melt those limitations sooner - add another variable, for example: Reverting back to natural form after a certain amount of damage is sustained (in one go or in a space of time)

    While adding limitations initially just sounds 'wrong' it gives the option to unveil the power of the class over a more varied and better paced medium rather than having gaps in levels where nothing truly useful is gained (the ever temptation of multi-classing :D)
     
  6. Rawgrim Gems: 21/31
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    Shapeshifting can be extremely overpowered, i remember. Had one player playing one of those once. Pretty much survived every encounter, by flying away. I think the Level 5 thingy, when it comes to shapeshifting, is well placed. Its maybe a tad early too. A lame thing about shapeshifting in 3.5 ed though is that you also "absorb" whatever you are carrying as well, when shifted to a sparrow, for example. Meaning you can just have the druid carry anything the group can find, and then have him shapeshift, to carry it.
    My groups record was placing about a tonn of stash on him hehe.
     
  7. Blades of Vanatar

    Blades of Vanatar Vanatar will rise again Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    We had that problem as well, so as a house rule, anyone shapeshifting would still receive a penalty to movement/flying when attempting to be the party "warchest/stash". I didn't like it when making the rule, but once implemented, it smoothed out the game nicely and stopped some of the players from trying to bend the rulesystem.
     
  8. 8people

    8people 8 is just another way of looking at infinite ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran

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    [​IMG] You mean the encumberment rules? :p
     
  9. Blades of Vanatar

    Blades of Vanatar Vanatar will rise again Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Yes, if they were encumbered, it affected their movement rate. If they weren't carrying a capacity that caused a penalty to their natural form, then no big deal, we didn't keep track of it. But once the low Strength shapeshifter/druid/whoever tried to carry the entire party treasure when shifting to an avian form, we took pause, as that was getting a bit ridiculous. We never did come up with a concept on the flying capability penalty, just a movement penalty when flying.
     
  10. 8people

    8people 8 is just another way of looking at infinite ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran

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    [​IMG] Rule of thumb was that a flying creature can't fly at all with more than a medium load. Check out all the avian mounts and playable creature entries with wings :)

    Also:
    So loading up and turning into a sparrow to fly away would be a no go anyway, it would be grounded.

    Generally the source of a lot of overpowered aspects of the game is forgetting the little things. Like how much coins weigh. I had a Kobold who was always encumbered because most of her money was in copper :lol: Most groups ignore it because it 'drags in the game' though, so I guess it's up to each group.
     
  11. Blades of Vanatar

    Blades of Vanatar Vanatar will rise again Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I just berated the players until they stopped trying to bend the rule system. It killed the gaming environment for the other players, but there is always one "rules lawyer" in every group I have found who needs to be able to beat every situation/encounter you throw at them.

    Back to the topic though, why not come up with your own class LKD? I would start with the basics of course.

    - BAB on par with Cleric/Rogue
    - S.T of a Monk or at leat starting as +2 in both Fort and Will as a Druid does. I like the Monk S.T. Better.
    - Starting Armor Prof = None
    - Starting Weapon Prof = Depends on what type of shiufter he is. Is the class from an Urban setting? Woodlands? That is up to you or your DM.
    - Hit Die = depending on the number of abilities, I would go with d8 myself.

    And so on.....

    I also like this link, http://www.crystalkeep.com/d20/index.php , try scrolling through the Base Class PDF, it has lots of ideas in there.

    I think there is a Class Contruction Engine in there as well.
     
  12. Cap'n CJ

    Cap'n CJ Arrr! Veteran

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    You get an unlimited number of changes, and an unlimted amount of time shifted. You could live entirely in an animal form if you like. Swift action to shift, so can be done at pretty much any point in your turn.

    The forms are as follows:

    Predator Form:
    Usually a wolf, panther, etc. Bite attack (1d6), +4 to str, and +4 Natural Armour. Also, 50ft base speed. You also get the Mobility feat.

    Aerial Form:
    Usually an eagle, vulture, etc. Talon attack, 1d6 damage. +2 Str, +2 on Reflex saves, and +2 Natural Armour. 40ft fly speed.

    The other 3 are Ferocious Slayer (Bear, Dire Wolf, etc), Forest Avenger (Shambling KMount, Treant, etc), and Elemental Fury - You become an Elemental 2 size categories larger than yourself, and gain a massive +16! to Strength.

    This alternate feature is by no means underpowered, and is exactly what you're looking for. Bear in mind, this is in addition to the powerful spellcasting a druid can bring to a party.
     
  13. LKD Gems: 31/31
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    I am homebrewing this class. Here's some of my thoughts so far:

    1: The Master of many forms slowly gives you more options for Wild Shape -- At Level 1, you get humanoid. 2, giant. 3, vermin. 4, fey. Etc. I can't remember the exact order right now. You also get the option to shift into larger and smaller sizes as you progress. At each level, you get 1 extra use of wild shape, and the errata says that those levels stack with druid for length of shape and HD requirements.

    2: The Warshaper gives you a few cute options, the best one being that at 5th level (the final in the class) you can shift many times within a single use of wild shape, basically giving you polymorphing at will.

    3: Therefore, a 5th level druid/ 5th level Master of Many forms/ 5th level Warshaper is a shapeshifting machine, capable of shifting 6 times per day for 10 hours at a time, and multiple shifting within each 10 hour period. Hel, even if the duration doesn't stack, you still have 6 times a day at 5 hours, which is 30 hours, which is longer than the day.

    4: I want to have a base class that does the same thing only starting sooner -- right from level 1! My concept is this:

    --The character has only this one class ability. Like a warlock, he should be able to use it at will, given that it is all he can do. I don't want to have the ability be an invocation, just a supernatural ability usable at will.

    -- The character will be in hand to hand combat an awful lot. However, mastering this ability would take a lot of time -- as much as it takes to master spellcasting. So a Cleric's BAB sounds fair to me.

    -- Because of combat requirements, I think the HD should be 8 sided. Same as warlike divine classes.

    -- Armor should be very limited, as he won't be using it much. I say the same as a druid (no metal) but only limited to light armors (no hide).

    -- By the same token, this guy IS a weapon, eventually. He doesn't practice much with manufactured weapons. Staff, club, dagger, crossbow, that's it. Maybe not even crossbow.

    -- Saving throws are tough -- I'm tempted to go with Monk / Favored Soul style approach -- his abilities are all really good because he relies almost completely on his own internal resources. If that's overpowered, then drop Reflex -- the forms he takes should give him a good Dex boost.

    -- only 2 skill points / level. His focus, like that of a primary spellcaster, is on his ability, not on skills. Few class skills, too. Maybe Concentration (maybe force a concentration check to change or to maintain a form when hit?), Disguise, Bluff? What else fits the concept?

    --shifted forms are limited by hit dice +2.

    -- at Level one, he can only do humanoid forms. It's not much of a shift, but he has a permanent disguise ability. He can't alter his size, though. He can only bring along his gear if it is a light load (I learned from the game busting discussed earlier)

    -- level 2, animal forms.

    -- level 3, he can go one size smaller than his current size.

    -- level 4, vermin

    -- level 5, one size larger

    -- level 6, giant

    and so on -- eventually he can take on special defenses and some special attacks of his forms, and the forms of anything but an outsider. At 15 level or so, he gets the shapeshifter subtype.

    Any additions, deletions, stuff I missed? I'll post more later for more feedback!
     
  14. Blades of Vanatar

    Blades of Vanatar Vanatar will rise again Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Just base it off of the Monk class then. Take away the monks special abilites and add your own.
     
  15. NOG (No Other Gods)

    NOG (No Other Gods) Going to church doesn't make you a Christian

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    For skills, include all the nature-type skills: tracking, wilderness lore, animal empathy, etc. Bluff fits, and maybe persuasion.

    For shapes, I think it'd be better if he chose shapes to specialize in, getting one additional shape each level. Maybe some restrictions about what he could pick when (based off of Challenge Rating or something?), maybe picking categories instead of single forms, but he should be able to do the less-powerful stuff like cat at the very beginning if he so chooses.

    Are you thinking of this as an alter-druid, meaning the same kind of lifestyle and attitude, just no magic, or something else entirely? A person hiding in the city as a shifter would need a completely different set of skills than a druidic-style shifter.
     
  16. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Why wouldn't you base on the Shifter class from NWN? The spellcasting was very minimal unless you chose to level more in druid. You get some great shapes, and eventually they become unlimited in number of shapes per day. I know it was a fun character to play in HotU.

    As far as homebrew ... high quality yeast is the key to good results.
     
  17. LKD Gems: 31/31
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    I haven't played NWN, so I am unfamiliar with the class you speak of.

    I'm not sure if I want this to be an alter druid or someone who isn't so much focused on nature as he is on changing himself into whatever fits the situation. For example, Golems aren't very druidish, and undead sure as hell aren't, but the shapechange* spell lets you take both forms**. As the class progresses, I want him to be able to become whatever is necessary to deal with the current challenge.

    * Druids have this spell, weirdly enough -- I can't imagine a druid, even an evil one, taking the form of an undead -- it doesn't fit the character concept, IMHO, the blighter prestige class from Complete Divine notwithstanding.

    ** As I read the shapechange spell, you could become a beholder and just blast away with those eye beams like there's no tomorrow. Holy crap!
     
  18. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Here are the shapes of the Shifter Prestige Class:

    The Shapes -- Each class of shape can be shifted to 3 times per day. Unlimited shifts per day are possible at the levels indicated (which carry over to the epic versions). For the below S3 indicates shifter level 3, S10 would mean 10 levels of shifter. Note epic shapes are much more powerful than non-epic shapes.

    Greater Wildshape I [S1, Unlimited at S4]
    Wyrmling, Red
    Wyrmling, Blue
    Wyrmling, Black
    Wyrmling, White
    Wyrmling, Green
    Greater Wildshape II [S3, Unlimited at S7, Epic at S13]
    Harpy
    Gargoyle
    Minotaur
    Greater Wildshape III [S5, Unlimited at S10, Epic at S15]
    Basilisk
    Drider
    Manticore
    Humanoid Shape [S7, Unlimited at S13, Epic at S17]
    Drow Warrior
    Lizardfolk Whipmaster
    Kobold Commando
    Greater Wildshape IV [S10, Unlimited at S16]
    Dire Tiger
    Medusa
    Mindflayer
    Undead Shape [Shifter Level 10, Chosen Feat]
    Risen Lord
    Vampire
    Spectre
    Outsider Shape [Shifter Level 10, WS 25+, Chosen Feat]
    Azer Chieftain
    Rakshasa
    Death Slaad Lord
    Construct Shape [Shifter Level 10, WS 27+, Chosen Feat]
    Stone Golem
    Demonflesh Golem
    Iron Golem
    Dragon Shape [Shifter Level 10, WS 30+, Chosen Feat]
    Ancient Red Dragon
    Ancient Blue Dragon
    Ancient Green Dragon

    The full explanation for the shapes is in Neverwinter Nights Unofficial Shifter FAQ by Douglas Crews found on this page near the bottom. The shifter is a prestige class requiring five levels of druid, but the class gains no druidic spells when leveling as a shifter.

    I've gotten all the shapes except construct and dragon -- the class is a riot to play. The druid/monk/shifter is truly a beast as most of the shapes use unarmed combat and the high wisdom necessary to gain the epic feat shapes really adds to AC.
     
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