Sep 24, 2014

Eberron 5E: Race -- Shifter

With shifters, the problem is the new edition's focus on simplicity. Shifting changed your characteristics, and if you wanted your shifting to become really good, you had to take a tree of shifter feats. There were builds focusing entirely on maximizing your shifter advantages. The new edition doesn't really do temporary ability score changes in the same way -- the barbarian's rage, for example, gives a boost to damage and hit points, but doesn't require recalculating your character's abilities. Similarly, the gauntlets of ogre power/amulet of health/headband of intellect change the impacted ability score to a flat 19 -- a +5 bonus that's easy to plug in, and lasts indefinitely as long as you leave the item on. So I decided that 5E shifters should get their +1 stat bump from their trait, and tried to make the traits (which I had to rename "legacies" because "trait" in 5E is a very specific thing) almost as powerful as a feat, so that I could make an "Extra Shifter Legacy" feat.

Shifter Traits

As a shifter, you have the following racial traits.

    Ability Score Adjustment. Your Wisdom score increases by 2.
    Age. Shifters mature a little more slowly than humans, generally reaching adulthood at 20 years of age and living to an average age of 80.
    Alignment. Shifters are usually neutral, viewing the struggle to survive as more important than moral or ethical concerns about how survival is maintained.
    Size. Shifters have similar heights and builds to elves. Your size is Medium.
    Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
    Darkvision. Animalistic and adapted to outdoor life, you have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 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.
    Natural Athlete. You have training in the Athletics skill.
    Shifter Legacy. Choose a shifter legacy from the list given below. This legacy increases one of your ability scores, and gives you a benefit while shifting.
    Shifting. You can tap into your lycanthropic heritage to gain short bursts of physical power. On your turn, you can shift as a bonus action.
    While shifting, you gain an ongoing benefit based on your shifter legacy.
    Your shift lasts for 1 minute. It ends early if you are knocked unconscious. You can also end your shift on your turn as a bonus action.
    Once you have shifted the number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, you must finish a long rest before you can shift again.
    Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and one extra language of your choice. Shifters speak Common with a rural dialect wildly different from that spoken by urban folk. Many shifters learn the languages of those they encounter in the wild: Sylvan, Orc, Elvish, and the like.

Shifter Legacies

Each shifter has one of the following special legacies, which is selected when a character is created and cannot be changed thereafter.
    Beasthide. Your Constitution score increases by 1.
    While shifting and not wearing heavy armor, you gain a +1 bonus to Armor Class.
    Cliffwalk. Your Dexterity score increases by 1.
    While shifting, you have a climb speed of 20 feet, and you have advantage on Strength checks and saving throws.
    Dreamsight. Your Charisma score increases by 1, and you have training in the Animal Handling skill.
    While shifting, you can communicate with beasts through sounds and gestures.
    Gorebrute. Your Strength score increases by 1.
    While shifting, you manifest horns that allow you to roll a d4 in place of the normal damage of your unarmed strike.
    If you move at least 20 feet straight toward a creature right before hitting it with your horns, the target takes an extra 1d4 bludgeoning damage and must succeed on a Strength saving throw (DC 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Strength bonus) or be knocked prone.
    Longstride. Your Dexterity score increases by 1.
    While shifting, your base walking speed increases to 35 feet and you have advantage on Dexterity saving throws.
    Longtooth. Your Strength score increases by 1.
    While shifting, you grow fangs that allow you to roll a d4 in place of the normal damage of your unarmed strike. The damage becomes piercing and the attack gains the property Light.
    Razorclaw. Your Strength score increases by 1.
    While shifting, you grow claws that allow you to roll a d4 in place of the normal damage of your unarmed strike. The damage becomes slashing and the attack gains the property Versatile (1d6).
    Swiftwing. Your Dexterity score increases by 1.
    While shifting, your arms grow leathery flaps of skin (similar to a bat’s wings) which grant you a fly speed of 20 feet.
    While airborne, you can’t use your hands for anything other than flying. You can’t fly while encumbered (PHB page 178) or while wearing medium or heavy armor.
    Truedive. Your Constitution score increases by 1 and you can hold your breath for a number of minutes equal to 2 + double your Constitution modifier (minimum of 1 minute) before you risk drowning.
    While shifting, you have a swim speed of 30 feet.
    Wildhunt. Your Constitution score increases by 1, and you have training in the Perception skill.
    While shifting, you have advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on smell, and you have advantage on Constitution saving throws.

New Feat

Extra Shifter Legacy
Prerequisite: Shifter
Choose a different shifter legacy from the list above. You gain all of the benefits of that legacy.
    Additionally, you can shift 1 additional time per day.
 

1 comment:

  1. I was thinking that only four Shifters would fit the concept of 5e races; it's interesting to see all Shifter subraces rather than only four (also: kudos on the term "shifter legacy", though they were always called "shifter traits". It gives it a better feel.

    Find it strange that you gave them high Wisdom, when they traditionally had better Dexterity. Considering they had poor Intelligence and Charisma scores, it strikes me as odd that you made Dreamsight Charisma-based, when it was traditionally Wisdom-based.

    As for the legacies themselves; Gorebrute could use the Charge mechanic from the Monster Manual (which is functionally similar to the Charger feat), and Longtooth has to become a bonus-action attack (a la Polearm Master feat). Replacing Unarmed Strike with Claws makes sense; Gores and Bites, judging by the way they work, don't (and that goes considering "unarmed strike" beyond punches and kicks; elbow strikes, knee strikes and even headbutts, but not body slams).

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