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Skin-Changer

While most rangers are at home in the wilderness, a skin-changer truly embraces the untamed, animalistic aspects of nature. Rather than bonding with an animal companion, the skin-changer can instead actually assume the form of animals himself.

Alignment: any

Hit Die: d10

Starting Wealth: 5d6 × 10 gp (175 gp average.) In addition, each character begins play with an outfit worth 10 gp or less.

Class Skills

The skin-changer’s class skills are Acrobatics (Dex), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (dungeoneering) (Int), Knowledge (geography) (Int), Knowledge (nature) (Int), Perception (Wis), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Stealth (Dex), Survival (Wis), and Swim (Str).

Skill Ranks per Level: 6 + Int modifier

Table: Skin-Changer
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special
1st +1 +2 +2 +0 Animal Shape, lesser, track, wild empathy
2nd +2 +3 +3 +0 Animal combat
3rd +3 +3 +3 +1 Animal speech, 1st favored terrain, nature’s healing
4th +4 +4 +4 +1 Animal shape (1/day), ranger talent
5th +5 +4 +4 +1 Fast movement +10 ft.
6th +6/+1 +5 +5 +2 Animal shape (2/day), stealth attack 2d6
7th +7/+2 +5 +5 +2 Ranger talent, woodland stride
8th +8/+3 +6 +6 +2 Animal shape (3/day), 2nd favored terrain, swift tracker
9th +9/+4 +6 +6 +3 Evasion, ranger talent
10th +10/+5 +7 +7 +3 Animal shape (4/day), stealth attack 3d6
11th +11/+6/+1 +7 +7 +3 Quarry, ranger talent
12th +12/+7/+2 +8 +8 +4 Animal shape (5/day), camouflage, fast movement +20 ft.
13th +13/+8/+3 +8 +8 +4 3rd favored terrain, ranger talent
14th +14/+9/+4 +9 +9 +4 Animal shape (6/day), stealth attack 4d6
15th +15/+10/+5 +9 +9 +5 Thick Skin
16th +16/+11/+6/+1 +10 +10 +5 Animal shape (7/day), improved evasion, ranger talent
17th +17/+12/+7/+2 +10 +10 +5 Hide in plain sight
18th +18/+13/+8/+3 +11 +11 +6 Animal shape (8/day), 4th favored terrain, stealth attack 5d6
19th +19/+14/+9/+4 +11 +11 +6 Improved quarry, ranger talent
20th +20/+15/+10/+5 +12 +12 +6 Animal shape (at will), master hunter

Class Features

The following are class features of the skin-changer.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency

A skin-changer is proficient with all simple and martial weapons and with light armor, medium armor, and shields (except tower shields).

Animal Shape, lesser (Su)

At 1st level, a skin-changer gains the ability to turn into any Small or Medium animal and back again once per day. His options for new forms include all creatures with the animal type. This ability functions like beast shape I, except as noted here. The effect lasts for 10 minutes per skin-changer level, or until he changes back. Changing form (to animal or back) is a standard action and doesn’t provoke an attack of opportunity. The form chosen must be that of an animal with which the skin-changer is familiar.

A skin-changer loses his ability to speak while in animal form because he is limited to the sounds that a normal, untrained animal can make, but he can communicate normally with other animals of the same general grouping as his new form. (The normal sound a wild parrot makes is a squawk, so changing to this form does not permit speech.)

Track (Ex)

Add half the skin-changer’s level (minimum 1) to Survival skill checks made to follow or identify tracks.

Wild Empathy (Ex)

A skin-changer can improve the initial attitude of an animal. This ability functions just like a Diplomacy check to improve the attitude of a person (see Using Skills). The skin-changer rolls 1d20 and adds his skin-changer level and Charisma bonus to determine the wild empathy check result. The typical domestic animal has a starting attitude of indifferent, while wild animals are usually unfriendly.

To use wild empathy, the skin-changer and the animal must be within 30 ft. of one another under normal visibility conditions. Generally, influencing an animal in this way takes 1 minute, but, as with influencing people, it might take more or less time.

A skin-changer can also use this ability to influence a magical beast with an Intelligence score of 1 or 2, but takes a –4 penalty on the check.

Animal Combat (Ex)

At 2nd level, the skin-changer receives a +2 competence bonus to all attack and damage rolls when using natural attacks. He also receives a +2 Initiative bonus when in animal form.

At 5th level, the competence bonus to all attack and damage rolls from natural attacks increases to +4.

At 8th level, the skin-changer is treated as having the Critical Focus feat whenever he is in animal form. In addition, the skin-changer’s natural attacks are considered both magic and silver for purpose of overcoming damage reduction.

At 11th level the skin-changer is treated as having the Bleeding Critical feat whenever he is in animal form. In addition, the competence bonus to all attack and damage rolls from natural attacks increases to +6.

At 14th level, a skin-changer is treated as having the Improved Natural Attack feat whenever he is in animal form. The skin-changer may choose which of the creature’s natural attack forms is affected by this feat each time he assumes animal form.

At 17th level, the competence bonus to all attack and damage rolls from natural attacks increases to +8. In addition, the save DCs of any effects caused by a critical hit with a skin-changer’s natural weapons increase by +4.

Animal Speech (Su)

At 3rd level, a skin-changer can communicate with animals as if using speak with animals when in a favored terrain.

Nature’s Healing (Ex)

Beginning at 3rd level, a skin-changer’s extensive knowledge of the flora and fauna of his favored terrains gives him a +2 bonus to all Heal skill checks made when in one of those favored terrains.

In addition, as long as he is in one of his favored terrains when using the Heal skill, a skin-changer also gains the following benefits:

Long-Term Care: If the skin-changer’s Heal check is successful, the patient recovers hit points or ability score points lost to ability damage at three times the normal rate: 3 hp per character level for a full eight hours of rest in a day, or 6 hp per character level for each full day of complete rest; 3 ability score points for a full eight hours of rest in a day, or 6 ability score points for each full day of complete rest.

The various items and supplies necessary (bandages, salves, and so on) are easy to come by in the skin-changer’s favored terrains.

  • Treat Deadly Wounds: When treating deadly wounds in any of his favored terrains, the skin-changer can restore an additional 1d6 hp plus 1 hp for every three skin-changer levels he possesses. The skin-changer does not need a healer’s kit to treat wounds when in one of his favored terrains and receive no penalties for not having such an item.
  • Treat Poison: If the skin-changer’s Heal check exceeds the DC of the poison by 5 or more, the patient receives a +8 competence bonus on his saving throw against the poison.
  • Treat Disease: If the skin-changer’s Heal check exceeds the DC by 5 or more, the patient receives a +8 competence bonus on his saving throw against the disease.

Favored Terrain (Ex)

Table: Ranger Favored Terrains
Favored Terrains
Cold (ice, glaciers, snow, and tundra)
Desert (sand and wastelands)
Forest (coniferous and deciduous)
Jungle
Mountain (including hills)
Plains
Planes (pick one, other than Material Plane)
Swamp
Underground (caves and dungeons)
Urban (buildings, streets, and sewers)
Water (above and below the surface)

At 3rd level, a skin-changer may select a terrain from the favored terrains table.

A skin-changer gains a +2 bonus on initiative checks and Knowledge (geography), Perception, Stealth, and Survival skill checks when in this terrain. A skin-changer traveling through his favored terrain normally leaves no trail and cannot be tracked (though he may leave a trail if he chooses).

At 8th level and every five levels thereafter, a skin-changer may select an additional favored terrain. In addition, at each such interval, the skill bonus and initiative bonus in any one favored terrain (including the one just selected, if so desired), increases by +2.

If a specific terrain falls into more than one category of favored terrain, these bonuses do not stack; simply use whichever bonus is higher.

Animal Shape (Su)

At 4th level, a skin-changer’s animal shape ability now lasts for 1 hour per skin-changer level, or until he changes back.

A skin-changer can use his animal shape ability an additional time per day at 6th level and every two levels thereafter, for a total of eight times at 18th level. At 20th level, a skin-changer can use animal shape at will. As a skin-changer gains levels, this ability allows the skin-changer to take on the form of larger and smaller animals. Each form expends one daily use of this ability, regardless of the form taken.

At 6th level, a skin-changer can also use animal shape to change into a Large or Tiny animal. When taking the form of an animal, a skin-changer’s animal shape now functions as beast shape II.

At 8th level, a skin-changer can also use animal shape to change into a Huge or Diminutive animal. When taking the form of animals, a skin-changer’s animal shape now functions as beast shape III.

At 10th level, a skin-changer’s body heals itself each time he changes form using animal shape. The amount of damage healed is equal to 5d8 plus an additional 1d8 damage for every two skin-changer levels beyond 10th (6d8 at 12th, 7d8 at 14th, and so on). A skin-changer adds his Constitution bonus, if any, to this total. In addition, a skin-changer can now change form as a move action instead of a standard action.

At 12th level, the skin-changer gains DR/— equal to half his skin-changer level when in animal form. In addition, he can now change form as a swift action.

Ranger Talents

As a skin-changer gains experience, he learns a number of talents that aid him in combat and help him survive in the wilds. Starting at 4th level, he gains one ranger talent. He gains additional ranger talents as he increases in level. Except where specified, he cannot select an individual talent more than once.

Cat’s Fall (Ex) With this talent you ignore the first 20 ft. of any fall when calculating falling damage. If you take no damage from the fall, you do not fall prone.

Cheetah’s Stride (Ex) You can move up to twice your speed as a move action. You don’t suffer any penalty on Stealth checks for this move, although it will provoke attacks of opportunity as normal. You may use this talent a number of rounds per day equal to your skin-changer level. These rounds need not be consecutive.

Combat Trick By selecting this talent you gain a bonus combat feat.

Deadly Range (Ex) This talent increases the range at which you can deal stealth attack damage by 10 ft. You may take this talent more than once. Its effects stack.

Eagle Eyed: You gain Eagle Eyes as a bonus feat. You do not need to meet the feat’s prerequisites.

Fast Stealth (Ex) You can move at full speed while using the Stealth skill without penalty.

Favored Attack (Ex) When making an attack in a favored terrain, the critical threat range of your weapon is doubled. This does not stack with any other ability that doubles critical threat ranges.

Favored Step: While in a favored terrain, you may ignore the effects of difficult terrain, treating it as normal terrain instead.

Hawk’s Eyes (Ex) As a standard action, you can make a ranged attack that ignores concealment (but not total concealment), soft cover, and partial cover. You may also apply stealth attack damage, if applicable, to such a target.

Improved Stealth Attack (Ex) You may add an additional 1d6 to your total stealth attack damage.

Low-Light Vision (Ex) With this ability you gain low-light vision. If you already have low-light vision, this ability has no additional effect.

Monster Feat Instead of a talent, you may choose a monster feat you qualify for.

Ranger Feat Instead of a talent, you may choose a feat you qualify for from the following list: Additional Favored Terrain*, Animal Affinity, Athletic, Dodge, Diehard, Favored Terrain Expert*, Favored Terrain Master*, Improved Nature’s Healing*, Natural Tracker*, Nimble Moves, Run, Savage Terrain Warrior*, Self-Sufficient, Stealthy, Sudden Strike*, Toughness.

Scent (Ex) You gain the scent special ability.

Skirmishing Attack (Ex) With this talent, whenever you move at least 10 ft. and attack in the same round, you may also apply stealth attack damage, if applicable, to the target, as though it were flatfooted. If you make more than one attack during the round, this ability applies only to the first attack. Foes with uncanny dodge are immune to this ability.

Skilled Climber (Ex) You may climb at up to your full speed as a move action without penalty. If you fail a Climb check by 5 or more, you can immediately make another Climb check at the surface’s base DC +10 (or at the surface’s base DC +5 if in a favored terrain). If successful, you stop your fall by clinging to the surface. You do not take any falling damage when stopping your fall in this manner.

Skilled Swimmer (Ex) With a successful Swim check, you may swim at up to your full speed (as a full-round action) or at half your speed (as a move action). If you fail a Swim check by 5 or more, you can immediately make another Swim check at the water’s base DC +10 (or at the water’s base DC +5 if one of the skin-changer’s favored terrains is swamp or water). If successful, you do not go underwater. When underwater, you may add +4 to the total number of rounds you can hold his breath.

Stag’s Leap (Ex) This talent allows you to attempt a running jump without moving 10 ft. before the jump.

Stealthy Sniper (Ex) With this talent, when using the Stealth skill to snipe, you suffer only a –15 penalty (or –10 when in a favored terrain) on your second Stealth check instead of the normal –20.

Trap Finding (Ex) When in a favored terrain, you can use the Perception skill to locate traps (see rogue).

Trackless Step (Ex) When desired, you leave no trail in natural surroundings and cannot be tracked. You can track others possessing the trackless step ability when in one of your favored terrains, but you suffer a –10 to the check.

Uncanny Senses (Ex) As a standard action, you gain a +5 insight bonus (or a +10 insight bonus when in a favored terrain) to Perception checks for one round.

Fast Movement (Ex)

When in a favored terrain, the skin-changer’s speed increases by +10 ft. at 5th level.

At 12th level, this bonus increases to +20 ft. These bonuses apply only when wearing medium, light, or no armor.

Stealth Attack

If a skin-changer can catch an opponent when he is unable to defend himself effectively from an attack, the skin-changer can strike a vital spot for extra damage. This attack deals extra damage any time the target would be denied a Dexterity bonus to AC (whether the target actually has a Dexterity bonus or not), or when he flanks the target. This extra damage is 2d6 at 6th level, and it increases by 1d6 every four skin-changer levels thereafter. Should he score a critical hit with a stealth attack, this extra damage is not multiplied. Ranged attacks can count as stealth attacks only if the target is within 30 ft.

Stealth attacks are possible only when wearing medium, light, or no armor. A skin-changer may only use this ability while in a favored terrain.

Woodland Stride (Ex)

Starting at 7th level, a skin-changer may move through any sort of undergrowth (such as natural thorns, briars, overgrown areas, and similar terrain) at your normal speed and without taking damage or suffering any other impairment. Thorns, briars, and overgrown areas that are enchanted or magically manipulated to impede motion, however, still affect the skin-changer.

Swift Tracker (Ex)

Beginning at 8th level, a skin-changer can move at his normal speed while using Survival to follow tracks without taking the normal –5 penalty. He takes only a –10 penalty (instead of the normal –20) when moving at up to twice normal speed while tracking.

Evasion (Ex)

On reaching 9th level, a skin-changer can avoid even magical and unusual attacks with great agility. If he makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, he instead takes no damage. Evasion can be used only when wearing light armor, medium armor, or no armor. A helpless skin-changer does not gain the benefit of evasion.

Quarry (Ex)

At 11th level, a skin-changer can, as a standard action, denote one target within his line of sight as his quarry. Whenever he is following the tracks of his quarry, he can take 10 on his Survival skill checks while moving at normal speed, without penalty. In addition, a skin-changer receives a +2 insight bonus on attack rolls made against his quarry, and all critical threats are automatically confirmed. A skin-changer can have no more than one quarry at a time and the creature must be within one of his favored terrains. The skin-changer can dismiss this effect at any time as a free action, but then cannot select a new quarry for 24 hours. If he sees proof that his quarry is dead, he can select a new quarry after waiting 1 hour.

Camouflage (Ex)

At 12th level, a skin-changer can use the Stealth skill to hide in any of his favored terrains, even if the terrain doesn’t grant cover or concealment.

Thick Skin (Ex)

At 15th level, a skin-changer receives a +3 bonus to his natural armor when in animal form using animal shape. This bonus increases to +5 at 17th level and +7 at 19th level.

Improved Evasion (Ex)

At 16th level, a skin-changer’s evasion improves. He still takes no damage on a successful Reflex saving throw against attacks, but henceforth he takes only half damage on a failed save. A helpless skin-changer does not gain the benefit of improved evasion.

Hide in Plain Sight (Ex)

On reaching 17th level, when in any of his favored terrains, a skin-changer can use the Stealth skill even while being observed. As long as he is within 10 feet of an area of dim light, a skin-changer can hide from view in the open without anything to actually hide behind. He cannot, however, hide in his own shadow.

Improved Quarry (Ex)

At 19th level, the skin-changer’s ability to hunt his quarry improves.

He can now select a quarry as a free action, and can now take 20 while using Survival to track his quarry, while moving at normal speed without penalty. His insight bonus to attack his quarry increases to +4. If his quarry is killed or dismissed, he can select a new one after 10 minutes have passed.

Master Hunter (Ex)

A skin-changer of 20th level becomes a master hunter. He can always move at full speed while using Survival to follow tracks without penalty. He can, as a standard action, make a single attack at his full attack bonus against a foe in one of his favored terrains. If the attack hits, the target takes damage normally and must make a Fortitude save or die. The DC of this save is equal to 10 + ½ his level + his Wisdom modifier. He can choose instead to deal an amount of nonlethal damage equal to the creature’s current hit points. A successful save negates this damage. A skin-changer can use this ability 3 times per day.

ECOLOGY

Section 15: Copyright Notice

New Paths Compendium. © 2013 Open Design LLC; Authors: Marc Radle, Crystal Frasier, John Ling, Jr., and Jerall Toi.