1
\$\begingroup\$

One of my players wanted a non-spellcasting druid, is this balanced compared to the official classes?

The Shifter

The shifters, unlike the druids, lack a mystical connection to nature, and do not use nature to cast their spells. Shifters manipulate their magical energy to turn into a variety of creatures to terrify and defeat their foes, and as they do sap their energy for magic, they can transform far more often.

Hit Dice: D6
Hit Points at 1st Level: 6 + your constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d6 (4) per level after 1st

Proficiencies:

  • Weapons: Daggers, Clubs, Sickles, Slings
  • Armor: None
  • Saving Throws: Wisdom, Charisma
  • Skills: Nature, Arcana, and one other of your choice.
  • Tools: None

Starting Equipment:

  • One of
    • A dagger and a sickles, or
    • A sling and 20 bullets
  • An explorer's pack and a club.

\begin{array}{r r l r r} \textbf{Level} & \textbf{Prof. Bonus} & \textbf{Features} & \textbf{Shift Points} & \textbf{Max CR} \\ \hline 1^\text{st} & +2 & \text{Shifting} & 2 & 1 \\ 2^\text{nd} & +2 & \text{Cantrip Casting} & 2 & 1 \\ 3^\text{rd} & +2 & \text{Subclass} & 5 & 2 \\ 4^\text{th} & +2 & \text{ASI} & 5 & 2 \\ 5^\text{th} & +3 & & 8 & 3 \\ 6^\text{th} & +3 & \text{Subclass feature} & 8 & 3 \\ 7^\text{th} & +3 & & 13 & 4 \\ 8^\text{th} & +3 & \text{ASI} & 13 & 4 \\ 9^\text{th} & +4 & & 21 & 5 \\ 10^\text{th} & +4 & \text{Mask of Many Faces} & 21 & 5 \\ 11^\text{th} & +4 & & 34 & 6 \\ 12^\text{th} & +4 & \text{ASI} & 34 & 6 \\ 13^\text{th} & +5 & & 55 & 7 \\ 14^\text{th} & +5 & \text{Subclass feature} & 55 & 7 \\ 15^\text{th} & +5 & & 89 & 8 \\ 16^\text{th} & +5 & \text{ASI} & 89 & 8 \\ 17^\text{th} & +6 & & 144 & 9 \\ 18^\text{th} & +6 & \text{Shift into Youth} & 144 & 9 \\ 19^\text{th} & +6 & \text{ASI} & 144 & 10 \\ 20^\text{th} & +6 & \text{Tarrasque} & 150 & 10 \\ \end{array}

Shifting

At 1st level, you gain the ability to transform. Choose 3 beasts of CR 0. Those are your cantrip transformations, which you can shift into at will. To transform into creatures of higher CR, you must spend Shift Points as shown in the table below:

\begin{array}{r|r} \textbf{CR} & \textbf{Cost} \\ \hline 1 & 1 \\ 2 & 3 \\ 3 & 5 \\ 4 & 7 \\ 5 & 12 \\ 6 & 17 \\ 7 & 25 \\ 8 & 45 \\ 9 & 75 \\ 10 & 100 \\ \end{array}

Until you choose a subclass at 3rd level, you can only transform into beasts. When you shift, you can assume the appearance and abilties of any beast. You keep your INT, WIS, CHA scores, but your STR, DEX, and CON scores are replaced with that of the beast. You retain your hit points, but gain temporary hitpoints equal to half those of the beast you transform into. Shifting takes an action, you can revert to human form as a bonus action. You also revert if you drop to zero hitpoints. When you revert to human form, you lose any temporary hitpoints you have. You can only shift while in human form. You cannot cast or concentrate on spells while transformed. You can only shift into a creature if you have enough SP and the creature's CR is less than or equal to your max CR. You regain all SP after a long rest. Anything you are wearing or carrying is absorbed into your form until you revert, creatures you shift into cannot wield your weapons or armor.

Cantrip Casting

At 2nd level, you gain the ability to cast spells, however, due to your magic energy being sapped for transformation, you can only cast cantrips. You know every cantrip. You must spend 1 SP to cast a cantrip, and the cost of casting a cantrip increases by 2 SP whenever you cast one. Wisdom is your spellcasting modifier for these spells. The cost of casting a cantrip resets to 1 SP whenever you finish a long rest.

Subclass

At 3rd level, choose between the Ooze Order, the Undead Order, the Fiend Order, the Aberrant Order, the Plant Order, the Elemental Order, the Dragon Order, the Celestial Order, the Monster Order, and the Fey Order.

ASIs

At 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th, and 19th level, you can increase an ability score of your choice by 2, or two ability scores by 1, or take a feat. You cannot increase an ability score over 20 using this feature.

Mask of Many Faces

At 10th level, you can cast alter self at will.

Shift into Youth

At 18th level, you stop aging and cannot be aged magically.

Tarrasque

At 20th level, you can shift into a Tarrasque. Once you do so, you cannot do so again for a month. Immediately after you revert, you gain a level of exhaustion that can never be removed, even with a wish spell, even with divine intervention, even if you are killed and revived.

The Ooze Order

At 3rd level, you gain the ability to shift into oozes as well as beasts. If you shift into an ooze, it costs twice as much SP as it normally would.

At 6th level, you leave a trail of slime behind you. All squares you move through on your turn count as difficult terrain until the end of your next turn.

At 14th level, you gain immunity to piercing damage.

The Undead Order

At 3rd level, you gain the ability to shift into undead as well as beasts. If you shift into an undead, it costs twice as much SP as it normally would.

At 6th level, you can cast revivify once per short rest.

At 14th level, whenever you would be reduced to 0 hp, make a Wisdom saving throw, the DC for which is twice the damage taken. On a success, you are reduced to 1 hp instead, and the nearest creature is infected with Mummy Rot.

The Fiend Order

At 3rd level, you gain the ability to shift into fiends as well as beasts. If you shift into a fiend, it costs twice as much SP as it normally would.

At 6th level, any creature that starts its turn grappling you takes 5 fire damage.

At 14th level, you can cast summon lesser demons once per short rest. When you cast the spell using this feature, the creatures summoned are not hostile to you.

The Aberrant Order

At 3rd level, you gain the ability to shift into aberrations as well as beasts. If you shift into an aberration, it costs twice as much SP as it normally would.

At 6th level, you can speak all languages, are immune to long-term madness, and have expertise in Arcana.

At 14th level, your reach increases by 10 feet.

The Plant Order

At 3rd level, you gain the ability to shift into plants as well as beasts. If you shift into a plant, it costs twice as much SP as it normally would.

At 6th level, you no longer require food as long as you are in sunlight for at least 6 hours a day. You can cast speak with plants at will.

At 14th level, you are always under the effects of tree stride.

The Elemental Order

At 3rd level, you gain the ability to shift into elementals as well as beasts. If you shift into an elemental, it costs twice as much SP as it normally would.

At 6th level, after you finish a long rest, choose between lightning, thunder, force, and acid damage. You gain resistance to that type of damage until you take another long rest.

At 14th level, you learn four 1st-level sorcerer spells of your choice. You can cast these spells by spending 15 SP. Wisdom is your spellcasting modifier for these spells.

The Dragon Order

At 3rd level, you gain the ability to shift into dragons as well as beasts. If you shift into a dragon, it costs twice as much SP as it normally would.

At 6th level, you can treat any Charisma check you make to talk to a dragon as a 15. You also know the location of any dragon within 1 foot of you.

At 14th level, scales form over your body. While you are not wearing armor, you can calculate your AC as 14 + your Dexterity modifier. You can wield a shield if proficient and still use this feature. If you shift you lose this benefit.

The Celestial Order

At 3rd level, you gain the ability to shift into celestials as well as beasts. If you shift into a celestial, it costs twice as much SP as it normally would.

At 6th level, as a bonus action, you can pick a creature within 30 feet of you and heal them with your SP. They gain temporary hp equal to half the amount of SP you spend.

At 14th level, you gain immunity to disease, the poisoned condition, and poison, and regain 1 hp at the end of each of your turns.

The Monster Order

At 3rd level, you gain the ability to shift into monstrosities as well as beasts. If you shift into a monstrosity, it costs thrice as much SP as it normally would.

At 6th level, you gain expertise in Intimidation and immunity to fear.

At 14th level, you can spend 50 SP as a bonus action to gain immunity to non-magical damage until the beginning of your next turn.

The Fey Order

At 3rd level, you gain the ability to shift into fey as well as beasts. If you shift into a fey, it costs thrice as much SP as it normally would.

At 6th level, you gain expertise in Persuasion and immunity to being charmed.

At 14th level, choose four 1st-level spells from the bard spell list. You can cast these spells by spending 15 SP. Wisdom is your spellcasting modifier for these spells.

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you detail some of the theory behind your development of this? \$\endgroup\$ – Pyrotechnical Jan 31 at 21:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is there a reason you felt it necessary to cap with Terrasque, especially with the strange choice of perma-Exhaustion? Was there no other creature you felt appropriate for a 20th level Shifter? \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Jan 31 at 21:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ Tarrasque was all I needed to read to find this class unbalanced. :) Saying that I like some aspects of the class. Maybe look at the Circle of the Moon druid to work out the appropriate CR for the accessible creature forms. Also, keep in mind special abilities as is pointed out in the answer below. \$\endgroup\$ – Orc's Plunder Feb 22 at 22:02
10
\$\begingroup\$

This is unlikely to be balanced, and probably never will be

The main problem here is that this class allows you to turn into various types of monsters with special abilities that are not balanced for players, and those monsters get those abilities at a CR where they are appropriate for use against the players, not by them.

For example, a 5th level Shifter could turn into a Nothic, which has permanent Truesight. Normally, that'd require a 6th level spell slot and would only last on hour. It could turn into a Pegasus and have access to flight and be able to carry allies. It could turn into a Will o' Wisp and be permanently invisible (and have 29 Dex). It could turn into a Specter and move through walls. It could turn into a Myconid and raise a host of Spore Servants. It could turn into a Mimic. (I don't even want to know what kind of shenanigans that'd get you)

It could also turn into an Ochre Jelly and split in two. You probably don't even want to get into what that would mean.

And this is just at 5th level, by a quick skim of the Monster Manual. It'll only get worse as your level goes up. There's a reason you can't really turn into anything other than Beasts until you hit the highest levels normally. Things break down when you can get your hands on monster abilities.

(Granted, not all of them by the same Shifter, but still)

|improve this answer|||||
\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ You can't cast spells while shifted, so pixie polymorph is not a concern \$\endgroup\$ – qazwsx Jan 31 at 21:42
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Also turning into a tarrasque. \$\endgroup\$ – NeutralTax Feb 1 at 1:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NeutralTax sure, that's another example and there's a bunch of other things. I just wanted to focus on the key thing here. \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Feb 1 at 8:14
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @qazwsx fair enough. You might want to make it explicit that "can't cast spells" also applies to spells granted by the shift itself, I had not assumed it worked like that. \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Feb 1 at 8:16

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.