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Hengeyokai are an animal shapeshifting race in Oriental Adventures (p.10).

Invocations are a class feature of the Warlock (Complete Arcane, p.5) and Dragonfire Adept (Dragon Magic, p.25). Complete Arcane (p.7) states that

all invocations, including eldritch blast, have a somatic component.

Can a Hengeyokai in animal form use invocations?

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3 Answers 3

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The Creature Can't Invoke in Animal Form

In the transition from Dungeons and Dragons, 3rd Edition to Dungeons and Dragons 3.5, many creatures--likely including the hengeyokai unless the DM rules otherwise--who previously used an ability like the spell polymorph self to assume different forms now use the supernatural ability alternate form.

While in an alternate form

The creature retains any spellcasting ability it had in its original form, although it must be able to speak intelligibly to cast spells with verbal components and it must have humanlike hands to cast spells with somatic components.

Emphasis mine. This likely includes warlock and dragonfire adept invocations unless the DM rules otherwise. I ascribe more weight to the creature's inability to employ somatic components than to the reason the creature employs somatic components; an alternate reading--like Mourdos's answer--does the opposite.

However, the only official changes made to the hengeyokai race in its update to Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 in the article "Oriental Adventures Update: Eastern Flavor" (Dragon #318 32-48) were changing the race's type to humanoid (shapechanger) from the type shapechanger and removing the hengeyokai's +1 Level Adjustment.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Devil's advocate: That's talking about "to cast spells", not to invoke. \$\endgroup\$
    – NiteCyper
    Commented Sep 26, 2014 at 13:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NiteCyper It's talking about somatic components, and, when it was published, nothing but spells had those. One side would then argue that the the Monster Manual (2013) (which maintains the original's language) could've but doesn't acknowledge the possibility. The other side would then argue that the core rules don't address a lot of things in books outside themselves, and that the DM must use his best judgment in unusual corner cases (such as a creature from Oriental Adventures taking levels in a class from Complete Arcane). Then they'd draw swords and settle things once and for all. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 26, 2014 at 13:36
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As RAW: No.

From Alternate Form:

The creature retains any spellcasting ability it had in its original form, although it must be able to speak intelligibly to cast spells with verbal components and it must have humanlike hands to cast spells with somatic components.

Note that while this says spellcasting, normal invocations are spell-like abilities that require something spells do (somatic components) and therefore this section is relevant.

As Opinion:
Warlocks were never really supported much after they came out. Their invocations are Spell Like Abilities but with special mention that they have somatic components. Allowing them to take the Natural Spell feat, or a warlock specific version of it would be up to the DM.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ ...And that's why I like this site. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 26, 2014 at 13:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Because we agree, or because we got it done so quickly? Took longer in writing mine up :-) \$\endgroup\$
    – Mourdos
    Commented Sep 26, 2014 at 13:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ We disagree on exactly the same text for exactly different reasons. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 26, 2014 at 13:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Alternate Form is not Wild Shape (regarding Natural Spell). Nonverbal Spell (Planar Handbook, p. 40) and Surrogate Spellcasting (Savage Species, p. 39) are the better choices. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ruut
    Commented Sep 27, 2014 at 6:37
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To play devil's advocate, one of the only evidence that I found to support the affirmative is:

A spellcasting creature that lacks hands or arms can provide any somatic component a spell might require by moving its body.

http://www.d20srd.org/srd/specialAbilities.htm#spells

But it could be argued that that is only supposed to apply to monsters (non-playable characters) and monsters in their natural form at that.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The alternate form ability's specific rules overrule that. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 26, 2014 at 13:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ "But it could be argued". The rule is generic. If you change your form using an ability, that ability always overrides as it is more specific. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mourdos
    Commented Sep 26, 2014 at 13:18

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