Content of the article: "Skinchanger Class Version 1.1 (BIG UPDATE) — Turn into one animal of your choice, operating as a Druid/Barbarian/Ranger wonder child"
Hello, everybody! I'm back with an update for the Skinchanger class that I've been working on. A few commenters gave some very good pointers, and lots of things were changed about the class, but mainly its subclasses.
I plan to keep updating this, as each subclass still doesn't have a very well-defined role. This update is more like a foundation for that, y'know?
So without further ado, here's what I have for the second (and most likely not last) draft of the Skinchanger class:
1st – 2nd level: 2
3rd – 5th level: 3
6th – 11th level: 4
12th – 16th level: 5
17th – 19th level: 6
20th level: Unlimited
As a Skinchanger, you gain the following class features.
Hit Dice: 1d10 per Skinchanger level.
Hit Points at 1st level: 10 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d10 (or 6) + your Constitution modifier per Skinchanger level after 1st
Weapons: Simple weapons, improvised weapons, whips, nets
Tools: Cook’s Utensils, Weaver’s Tools, Woodcarver’s tools, or one musical instrument of your choice
Saving Throws: Wisdom, Strength
Skills: Choose two from Animal Handling, Athletics, History, Intimidation, Medicine, and Survival
You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:
- (a) a whip or (b) any simple weapon
- (a) a bow or (b) any martial weapon
- An explorer’s pack and 20 arrows
Beginning at 1st level, while you are wearing no armor and not wielding a shield, your AC equals 10 + your Dexterity modifier + your Wisdom modifier.
Outside in the wilderness is where you belong. It is your home, and you know it like it's the back of your hand. This grants you the following benefits, starting at 1st level:
- You ignore difficult terrain.
- You can attempt to hide even when you are only lightly obscured by foliage, heavy rain, falling snow, mist, and other natural phenomena.
- You gain proficiency in the Nature skill if you don’t already have it. When you roll a Nature check, you add double your proficiency bonus to the roll, instead of your normal proficiency bonus.
In addition, you are skilled at navigating the wilderness. You gain the following benefits when travelling for an hour or more:
- Difficult terrain doesn’t slow your group’s travel.
- If led by you, your group can’t become lost except by magical means.
- Even when you are engaged in another activity while traveling (such as foraging, navigating, or tracking), you remain alert to danger.
- If you are traveling alone, you can move stealthily at a normal pace.
- When you forage, you find twice as much food as you normally would.
When you reach 2nd level, choose one animal that you can change into.
- Giant Spider
- Giant Wolf
Your choice grants you features at 2nd level, and again at 5th, 10th, and 15th level. Some are for while you are in your animal form, some are not, and some are for both scenarios.
As a Bonus Action, you can turn into an animal like a changeling changes its form. It is not always active, but always swiftly in reach.
While you are transformed, the following rules apply:
- Your game statistics are replaced by the statistics of the beast, but you retain your alignment, personality, and Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores. You also retain all of your skill and saving throw proficiencies, in addition to gaining those of the creature. If the creature has the same proficiency as you and the bonus in its stat block is higher than yours, use the creature's bonus instead of yours. If the creature has any legendary or lair actions, you can't use them.
- When you transform, you gain an amount of Hit Points equal to your Skinchanger level + your Constitution modifier + your Wisdom modifier.
- You can't cast spells, and your ability to speak or take any action that requires hands is limited to the capabilities of your beast form. Transforming doesn't break your concentration on a spell you've already cast, however, or prevent you from taking actions that are part of a spell, such as Call Lightning, that you've already cast.
- You retain the benefit of any features from your class, race, or other source and can use them if the new form is physically capable of doing so. However, you can't use any of your special senses, such as darkvision, unless your new form also has that sense.
- When you turn into an animal, unless that animal has usable hands, you drop your weapons. Worn equipment functions as normal, but the DM decides whether it is practical for the new form to wear a piece of equipment, based on the creature's shape and size. Your equipment doesn't change size or shape to match the new form, and any equipment that the new form can't wear must either fall to the ground or merge with it. Equipment that merges with the form has no effect until you leave the form.
Once you transform and expend a usage of your transformations, you must take a long rest to regain any expended usages of your transformation.
Starting at 2nd level, you gain Darkvision if you don’t already have it. Darkvision gained in this way has a range of 60 ft. If your race already grants you Darkvision, its range increases by 30 ft.
Additionally, you gain proficiency with Wisdom (Perception) checks made to see or smell something.
Wilderpeople’s Fighting Style
At 3rd level, you adopt a particular style of fighting as your specialty, which you have learned after years of spending time in the wild. Choose one of the following options. You can't take a Fighting Style option more than once, even if you later get to choose again.
- Primal Savage: You can channel the savagery of an animal, allowing you to nonmagically replicate the effects of the Primal Savagery cantrip at will. This functions as an Unarmed Strike, adding your Strength modifier to damage dealt from your Primal Savage attacks.
- Throwing Weapon: You can throw any weapon that you wield, and you can draw it as part of the weapon’s attack. The thrown range is equal to your Strength score.
- Aimed Fighting: As a Bonus Action, which you take before your next Attack action, you can choose to aim more specifically with your weapon, granting a +2 to that attack’s Attack Roll.
- Distracting: As a Bonus Action, you can distract your opponent, imposing disadvantage on their next Attack Roll.
- Impede: As a reaction after an ally that is within 10 feet of you takes damage, you can intercept the blow, reducing the amount of damage they take by your Constitution modifier + your Proficiency Bonus.
- Brawl: When you grapple a creature, they take bludgeoning damage equal to 1d4 + your Strength modifier. Additionally, grappling does not lower your movement speed.
These function both inside and outside of animal form. When you use the modifier to your Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution ability scores for any of your wilder fighting styles while in animal form, use the modifiers of the animal form instead. You can choose an additional wilder fighting style at 9th level, and again at 17th level.
Ability Score Improvement
When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th, and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can't increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.
Starting at 6th level, while not in animal form, you can use your Bonus Action to channel your savagery into your next attack, allowing it to overcome nonmagical and magical resistances and immunities to bludgeoning, piercing, and clashing damage.
Additionally, while in animal form, your natural weapons are considered magical for the purpose of overcoming resistances and immunities to nonmagical bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage.
Starting at 11th level, thanks to the healthy and purely natural condition of your body, you are immune to disease and poison.
Fleet of Foot
Starting at 14th level, you can take the Dash action on your Bonus Action. Additionally, you and your party (as long as they are with you) can no longer be tracked by nonmagical means.
At 18th level, you gain preternatural senses that help you fight creatures you can't see. When you attack a creature you can't see, your inability to see it doesn't impose disadvantage on your attack rolls against it.
You are also aware of the location of any invisible creature within 30 feet of you, provided that the creature isn't hidden from you and you aren't blinded or deafened.
Starting at 20th level, you have become so close to nature that you are practically a beacon of its own ferocity. Your Strength and Constitution scores each increase by 4. Your maximum for those scores is now 24.
I'm probably going to change this one, as a commenter pointed out that 20th level should be used for something related to skinchanging. I still wanted to go with stat increases previously, which is why they're here. And because I haven't thought of anything skinchange-related for 20th level (any ideas?).
You have mastered the ability to turn into one of those who lurk in nature’s darkest corners: the Spider.
Giant Spider Traits
Starting at 2nd level, while in your spider form, you gain 1 attack trait, 1 active trait, and 1 passive trait.
Attack: Bite: Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 1d8 + Strength modifier piercing damage, and the target must make a DC 11 Constitution saving throw, taking 7 (2d6) poison damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. If the poison damage reduces the target to 0 Hit Points, the target is stable but Poisoned for 1 hour, even after regaining Hit Points, and is Paralyzed while Poisoned in this way.
Active: Spider Climb: You can climb difficult surfaces, including upside down on ceilings, without needing to make an ability check.
Passive: Web: Ranged Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, range 30/60 ft., one creature. Hit: The target is Restrained by webbing. As an action, the Restrained target can make a DC 12 Strength check, bursting the webbing on a success. The webbing can also be attacked and destroyed (AC 10; hp 5; vulnerability to fire damage; immunity to bludgeoning, poison, and psychic damage).
See, I know that calling them attack, active, and passive sounds a little metagamey. I worded them that way mostly for my own convinience, and I might change the wording in the next update.
Starting at 5th level, your spider form’s Bite attack trait gets stronger, granting it the following benefits:
- The poison’s damage dice increase to d10s.
- The saving throw increases to 13.
- The poison overcomes resistance and immunity to poison damage.
The Eyes in the Trees
Starting at 10th level, you gain an additional active trait to use while in and out of animal form.
Superior Darkvision: You can see in dim light within 120 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray. This works in both nonmagical and magical darkness.
Starting at 15th level, your spider form’s Web passive trait gets stronger, granting it the following benefits:
- The web’s range increases to 60/120 ft.
- The DC to escape your web increases to 15.
- The web’s AC increases to 17.
You have mastered the ability to turn into one of nature’s most beautiful specimens: the Unicorn.
Starting at 2nd level, while in your unicorn form, you gain 1 attack trait, 1 active trait, and 1 passive trait.
Attack: Horn: Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft ., one target. Hit: 1d8 + Strength piercing damage.
Active: Charge: If you move at least 20 ft. straight toward a target and then hit it with a melee Horn Attack on the same turn, the target takes an extra 9 (2d8) piercing damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 15 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.
Passive: Teleportation: You magically teleport yourself and up to three willing creatures you can see within 5 ft. of you, along with any Equipment they are wearing or carrying, to a location you are familiar with, up to 30 feet away.
Starting at 5th level, your unicorn form’s Horn attack trait gets stronger, granting it the following benefits:
- The horn now deals radiant damage.
- You can fire a laser through it, increasing its range to 60 ft.
- It deals an additional d8 of damage.
Starting at 10th level, you gain an additional passive trait to use while in and out of animal form.
Heal Ally/Self: You touch another creature either with your hands or your horn, depending on the form you are taking when you use this. The target magically regains 9 (2d6 + 2) Hit Points. In addition, the touch removes all Diseases and neutralizes all Poisons afflicting the target. You can use this on yourself.
I might rework that into healing an amount of Hit Points equal to 1d6 + your Wisdom modifier so Wisdom feels a little more relevant. What do you think?
Starting at 15th level, your unicorn form’s Teleportation passive trait gets stronger, granting it the following benefits:
- You can teleport up to 120 feet away.
- After teleporting, you and up to three creatures of your choice that were teleported gain a +2 to their AC against the next attack that targets them.
- You can teleport with up to three creatures. Not necessarily willing ones.
You have mastered the ability to turn into nature’s ultimate team player: the Wolf.
Starting at 2nd level, while in your wolf form, you gain 1 attack trait, 1 active trait, and 1 passive trait.
Attack: Bite: Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 10 2d6 + Strength modifier piercing damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 13 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone
Active: Pack Tactics: You have advantage on an Attack roll against a creature if at least one of your allies is within 5 ft. of the creature and the ally isn't Incapacitated.
Passive: Howl: By howling as your turn, you can bolster your allies temporarily if they are within 30 feet of you. If they are conscious, they can take one additional action on their next turn.
Starting at 5th level, your wolf form’s Pack Tactics active trait gets stronger, granting it the following benefits:
- Your Pack Tactics’ range increases to 10 feet.
- While in range of your Pack Tactics, you and your allies’ attacks deal additional damage equal to your Wisdom modifier.
- Pack tactics functions outside of animal form, but while outside of animal form, it uses the 2nd level version, not having increased range or damage.
Starting at 10th level, you gain an additional attack trait to use while in and out of animal form.
Multiattack: In wolf form, you either make two bite attacks, or one bite attack before howling. In normal form, you either make two weapon attacks, one weapon attack and an Unarmed Strike, or two Unarmed Strikes.
Starting at 15th level, your wolf form’s Bite attack trait gets stronger, granting it the following benefits:
- The bite’s damage dice increase to d10s.
- On a hit, the target is knocked prone.
Not gonna lie. I kinda miss Inhumane Boldness. Maybe I'll put in a Hellhound skinchanger?
So how is this? I know it's a pretty big update, and I think some good things were done here, but I still plan to do another update, as there's bound to be something to improve upon here. What do you think? Is it any better? How would you change/improve what's here? If you have any questions, comments, or criticism, put 'em down in the comments and I'll be there!
- Polearm Master + Crusher (UA) might make Quarterstaffs… decent?
- An Alternate Hexblade subclass I am working on. Would love input.
- DM’s – Start introducing and using these in your game.
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