January 10, 2016

Warshaper

Martial Archetype
Comments from the Finger: The warshaper is a curious entry from the 3.5 era. Always a very powerful choice for the otherwise weak martial classes, it offered a very early flat +4 to strength and constitution. Now, while this meant less in 3.5 than it does now, it was still very, very powerful, to say nothing of its suite of other abilities. I've opted to keep as many of its abilities intact as possible for this class, sans the actual polymorphing material, which was the core theme of the 3.5 version. The reason for this change is that to polymorph into creatures other than beasts, as one can do in 3.5, you require a 9th level spell in 5e. If any fans of the original come by this, let me know what you think.

Warshaper

Whether due to an errant transmutation spell or exposure to planes of strange, higher-dimensional space, your form has become plastic and you can sculpt your flesh into new and dreadful forms.

Morphic Form
Choose one of the options from below. You can change this selection when you take a short or long rest.
     Additional Appendage. You can sprout another limb from your torso capable of wielding weapons. When you take the Attack action and make an unarmed strike or attack with a melee weapon that is not heavy, you may use your bonus action to attack with a light melee weapon your extra appendage is holding, or make an unarmed strike with your extra appendage. You do not add your Strength or Dexterity bonus to the damage of this attack, unless you have the Two-Weapon fighting style.
    Aquatic Adaptation. You adapt your body to an aquatic environment, sprouting gills and growing webbing between your fingers. You can breathe underwater and gain a swimming speed equal to your walking speed.
     Armored Flesh. You harden your skin into an armored carapace. While you are unarmored, your armor class equals 13 + your Dexterity modifier. By 7th level, it hardens and your armor class equals 15 + your Dexterity modifier, and at 10th you may also, as an action, form an organic shield.
     Change Appearance. You transform your appearance. You decide what you look like, including your height, weight, facial features, sound of your voice, hair length, coloration, and distinguishing characteristics, if any. You can make yourself appear as a member of another race, though none of your statistics change. You also can’t appear as a creature of a different size than you, and your basic shape stays the same; if you're bipedal, you can’t use this ability to become quadrupedal, for instance. At any time, you can use your action to change your appearance in this way again.
     Natural Weapons. You grow claws, fangs, spines, horns, or a different natural weapon of your choice. Your unarmed strikes deal 1d6 bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage, as appropriate to the natural weapon you chose, and you are proficient with your unarmed strikes. Finally, the natural weapon is magic and you have a +1 bonus to the attack and damage rolls you make using it.
     This damage increases as you gain levels in this class. At 7th level, the weapon deals 1d8 damage, and at 15th level, the weapon deals 1d10 damage.
     Wings. You can select this option at 15th level. You grow a pair of fleshy wings and gain a flying speed equal to your base walking speed.

     At 7th level, you can change your selection as a bonus action, and at 10th level you can select any number of these options at one time.

Indiscernible Anatomy
At 3rd level, the placement and composition of your internal organs is bizarre. You take no additional damage from critical hits.

Morphic Reach
At 7th level, when you make a melee attack, you can suddenly stretch and extend your appendages outward. Your melee attacks gain Reach if they did not have it already.

Morphic Mind
At 10th level, your mind is as flexible as your body. You can add half your proficiency bonus to a skill of your choice. You can change this selection when you take a short or long rest.
     Additionally, you have advantage on saving throws against being charmed and no magical effect can read your mind.

Morphic Healing
By 15th level, as a bonus action, you can expend a Hit Die to use Second Wind without expending a use of the feature.
     You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Constitution modifier (a minimum of once). You regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.

Morphic Body
Beginning at 18th level, you can use your precise bodily control to make yourself stronger and healthier. You gain a +4 bonus to Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution. Your maximum for this ability score increases to 24. You can change this selection when you take a long rest.



Changelog: 1/10/16: Morphic Healing: Con/long
1/11/16: Morphic Body: Added Armored Flesh
Morphic Body: Now works with unarmed strikes
1/13/16: Morphic Reach: applies to all melee attacks, no longer once per turn, and extends reach only out to 5 feet.
1/15/16: Morphic Reach: reworded

34 comments:

  1. Morphic Healing seems a bit strong. Spending a hit die only gives you that hit die + CON bonus, which naturally caps at +5 but even with magic shouldn't go beyond +8 at extreme bonuses. This ability lets you spend a hit die to get 1d10+15, as a bonus action, without limitations except the number of hit die you have. This ability also gets stronger as you continue leveling because you're adding your Fighter levels. This basically replaces normal hit die usage and you don't even have to take a short or long rest to use it. I'd suggest making it usable a number of times equal to your CON mod per long rest. It's still powerful that way, but it doesn't make normal hit die healing obsolete.

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    1. You know, that's a good point. I intended to make this a fairly powerful feature, deserving of a 15th level feature, but 15 times a day is more than I bargained for. Con/rest is a good compromise.

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  2. I feel like mophic body needs an additional component to it. The subclass has a feeling like Prototype or Parasyte the Maxim, and having a character like that using manufactured gear at all seems silly.
    • Armor: "You harden your skin into an armored carapace. Your carapace is light armor, and gives you an AC of 12 + dexterity modifier. At 7th level, you may choose to form medium armor (AC 15 + dex modifier(maximum +2)) or heavy armor (AC 18), and you may also form a shield.

    As well, additional appendage needs some work to make it more viable. The way it works right now, it is only useful when either wielding a sword and a shield, and even then, it is much less useful than two weapon fighting. My suggestion:
    • Additional appendage: whenever you use the attack action to make an unarmed strike or an attack with a melee weapon that is not heavy, you may use your bonus action to attack with a light melee weapon your extra appendage is holding, or make an unarmed strike with your extra appendage. You do not add your strength or dexterity bonus to the damage of this attack, unless you have the Two Wapon Fighting style.

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    1. Real good stuff, though I'd still offer a flat 18 ac option for strength-based warshapers. Other than that, I'm sold, and will be building my Alex Mercer clone post haste.

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    2. Isn't this effectively the same as two weapon fighting though? You have to use your bonus action with either hand so in the end most of the time it's going to just dangle there uselessly.

      I may be missing something.

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    3. This is similar to normal two weapon fighting, except that you can use more weapons in your main hand (like a longsword, for example), and you can also use the feature to make unarmed strikes, rather than weapon attacks.

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. I would really like to find a way to get a new commenting system in here. I can play with a lot of the HTML, but some things are locked in by Blogger.

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  4. Maybe I'm nut understanding it but Action - 2nd level spell slot, 1 action, and a willing target can take another action on their turn, and only Attack, dash, disengage, or hide?

    You're effectively losing an action, and a spell slot, to grant an action, that can only be a limited number of options. The cost of the spell is higher by far than the outcome.

    I'd think maybe make it a bonus action? Or allow the attack action to proc things like a Fighter's Extra attack?

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    1. Two things: firstly, you're on the wrong article (Ha!)

      Secondly, action need not be targeted on yourself. You can cast it on the party fighter to allow him another action to smack the big bad, or you can give it to the cleric, so he can heal everyone and attack.

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  5. Looks good to me! Any hints/spoilers on what will be the 4th archetype making it into Lovecraft Update 2? (by the way - glad you're making it, Thank you!)

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    1. Hint: Cleric domain. But I did one that had a little more nuance than 'cleric of craziness'.

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  6. Something else I thought of: what is the balancing reason to limit Morphic Reach to once per turn? I wouldn't think it'd be too unbalancing to say "increase the reach of all your melee attacks by 5 feet".

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    1. I was mostly worried that perma-reach might be too powerful for 7th level. In many ways that's like a free Disengage action every turn, combined with the reach benefits of Large size; you can choose from among more targets when you attack, and you can get away without provoking Opportunity Attacks.

      That was my take, but if you think it's level-appropriate, then I can expand it.

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    2. well, considering that a fighter can get that at first level by just using a polearm...no, I don't really think that's too unbalancing.

      I'll admit, I kind of want to go crazy with this subclass, but I also tend to have a problem of "Choice Bloat" in my own stuff.

      Something to consider for the Lovecraftian/tentacle-weirdness pack: Mutations as magic items. Like I said before, games like Prototype are a huge draw for me, but some of the crazy stuff you can do in that game (run up walls, leap tall buildings, fire a tentacle grappling hook 100 ft. in the air into the side of a helicopter, etc.) would be out of place as subclass abilities...but not as magic items. as well, it still feels out of place for a character like this to rely on any manufactured gear, including magic items. So, instead of Boots of Striding and Springing, you develop a Boosted Leg mutation; Instead of a magically returning javelin, you develop a Grappling Tentacle mutation, which either pulls you to the target or pulls the target to you. The means by which the mutation happens could be up to the DM; Maybe you have to eat a certain creature, maybe you have to hid in a cave pupating for a month, maybe you just spontaneously generate weird stuff.

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    3. Okay, I buy the polearm argument (since this is already a fighter, and therefore has proficiency with reach weapons.)

      Magic items for the Lovecraft Update are something I worked on just today, and that's a really good idea. Maybe I could simply separate the grafts from Xenoalchemist and treat that subsystem as a series of embeddable magic items. Really an interesting direction to take this

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    4. I know I'm nitpicking here, but I think the new wording for Morphic Reach is confusing. Maybe something like "your melee attacks gain Reach if they did not have it already."

      Since Reach is a defined weapon quality, this prevents it from stacking with pole arm reach, which is the intent, without sounding clunky.

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    5. I know I'm nitpicking here, but I think the new wording for Morphic Reach is confusing. Maybe something like "your melee attacks gain Reach if they did not have it already."

      Since Reach is a defined weapon quality, this prevents it from stacking with pole arm reach, which is the intent, without sounding clunky.

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    6. You mentioned separating grafts from the Xenoalchemist. I would actually like it that way more as it would allow the Xenoalchemist to be more focused on one thing and grafts could make awsome magic items. I remember (not sure if homebrew though) my scout in 3.5 who got all sorts of dragon stuff (ex. eyes, scales, almost wings etc.).

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  7. What's the Organic Shield? Is it a +2 Shield? IS it wielded like a normal shield? Does it slough off after you use it. Can you drop these weapons? Can you put spikes or anything on it? Very excited about this class.

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    1. Consider the organic shield like a mundane shield in every way

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  8. Is there a reason for the limit of one at a time for the morphic form opyion till 10th level?

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    1. Yeah, it's just a method to reign in the power of the subclass. Not scientific, this decision, but more of a ballpark estimate. It's less of a problem at 7th level, when you can switch as a bonus action

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    2. It's very needed. I'm currently playing one, and if i had the option to use all my powers at once, it'd be a nightmare for 4th level. As it stands, I'm currently Dual Wielding WITH A SHIELD, so take from that what you need.

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  9. So, this guy is getting roasted on reddit, though I don't really think it's for the right reasons. as such, I think there are two things we can do to this that might smooth it out more:

    - Specify that Additional appendage does not count as a "Hand". Specifically, people are getting all spun up about the idea that you could potentially gain the benefits of both Dual Wielder and a shield (which is not the intent) or wield a Heavy weapon and a shield (which ALSO isn't the intent, nor is it supported by the RAW, but is a popular misconception).

    - Folks are balking at the current Armored Flesh ability. I'd suggest changing it to 13 + dexterity and flat 18 (with a strength requirement), instead of 15 + dex: this keeps it from being strictly better than regular armor or other AC abilities (Such as dragon sorcerer scales).

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  10. So, this guy is getting roasted on reddit, though I don't really think it's for the right reasons. as such, I think there are two things we can do to this that might smooth it out more:

    - Specify that Additional appendage does not count as a "Hand". Specifically, people are getting all spun up about the idea that you could potentially gain the benefits of both Dual Wielder and a shield (which is not the intent) or wield a Heavy weapon and a shield (which ALSO isn't the intent, nor is it supported by the RAW, but is a popular misconception).

    - Folks are balking at the current Armored Flesh ability. I'd suggest changing it to 13 + dexterity and flat 18 (with a strength requirement), instead of 15 + dex: this keeps it from being strictly better than regular armor or other AC abilities (Such as dragon sorcerer scales).

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    1. Reddit is really good at grumbling about things which aren't really the problem, but I think this needs some improvement, so my ears are open.

      @Additional Appendage: I think that wording change works, but I'll have to try to find a way to make it sound correct in the language of the rules.

      @Armored Flesh: Your change totally works here too. Practically speaking, 15+Dex probably isn't an issue, since few fighters are going to have 16+ Dex, meaning it will still be less effective than plate armor, which is basically the standard. Regardless, you had the right instinct on this one, so I'll change it out.

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    2. Another thought: We really want to push for this guy to be using his crazy awesome unarmed strikes. I have an idea on how to do this, but it's going to require a rather extensive re-write of some stuff. I'll email it to you and see how you like it.

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  11. A very interesting subclass! My only question is, would I be able to use this subclass in a campaign that will become a production on Youtube? With credit towards this site, of course.

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    1. Sure thing! Drop me an email when that goes live so I can check it out!

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  12. For Natural Weapons morphic form. Is this meant to be an unarmed strike or a natural weapon? I ask this because unarmed strikes technically are not weapons and so would not benefit from the fighting styles the fighter uses. If they are natural weapons then they do count as a melee weapon for purposes of the fighting styles.

    and at level 10th is it correct that I can just have all forms active at once?

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    1. Unarmed strikes /do/ count as weapons, as per sage advice. And, yes, at 10th level, you can activate all of your morphic form benefits at once.

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