Mutants of the Eclipse Part XIII – Weres, Alter-Egos, Metamorphs, Power Mimics, and Shapeshifters

   To continue with Mutants in Eclipse, here are the power packages for a variety of Shapeshifters. Unfortunately, “Shapeshifters” are not nearly as well-defined as – say – Blasters or Element Masters, since the category includes a wide variety of dramatically-different characters. Ergo, this segment includes notes on Weres and Mimics, Power Mimics, Alter-Egos, Metamorphs, and True Shapeshifters at a variety of ECL modifiers.

   As usual, their powers are built using Unlimited-Use Use-Activated Innate Enchantments – at an effective base “Cost” of (Spell Level x Casting Level x 2000 GP x Modifiers). In most casts that’s either 2000 GP (for level one effects) or 12,000 GP (for level two effects).

   The most common type of Shapeshifter is probably the “Lycanthrope” – a single-alternate-form “werecreature” or (occasionally) a character who can take on a modest variety of animal forms and abilities. Characters in this category have already been covered under the Class-II and Class-III Ferals.

   Mimics – characters who can simply change their appearance to look like other people – can just take the “Face Dancer” package under the Minor Mutants listing. Mimics who can actually copy other people’s powers will need to add Greater Invocation/Any Effect (capable of duplicating any power of four levels lower or less) at about level eight – an expensive power indeed:

   Power Mimic: Greater Invocation/Any Effect of up to level four, Spell Level Eight at Caster Level Fifteen x 2000 GP for Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .25 Only to mimic other powers that are available in the immediate vicinity = 60,000 GP. That’s +2 ECL, with some 4000 GP left over to add a few minor powers. If the mimic drains or neutralizes the powers of his or her donor, that simply requires a powerful dispel magic effect, possibly coupled with a knockout touch effect – both of which can easily be covered by the Greater Invocation effect. Since there are advantages and disadvantages both ways – knocking out an opponent versus being unable to use your friends powers without rendering them unconscious – there’s no need for an additional modifier.

   Next up we have the Alter-Egos – characters who can take on a specific, powerful, alternate form – whether that’s Mr Hyde, a huge stone statue, a dragon, or a floating ball of energy. Characters in this category are usually best built as Exokinetics. A few with really exotic abilities, or exotic structures (characters who transform into an ooze or some such) are best built using a level six single-form variant on Shapechange (as per Shapechange, but allows only a specific alternate form and a maximum of one hit die per caster level). That is expensive though – to the point where the minimum is a Class-V build that looks something like this:

  • Specific Shapechange: (Spell Level Six x Caster Level Twelve x 2000 GP for Unlimited-Use Use-Activated = 144,000 GP. While characters who cannot turn this off (x.7) can cut down the cost substantially, they’re no longer really shapechangers – and will have a very hard time fitting in to most superhero games).

   That usually leaves 16,000 GP with which to buy some bonus abilities. In general:

  • Personal Knack: +3 Competence Bonus to a skill group (1400 GP).
  • Resistance: +1 Resistance Bonus on Saving Throws (Resistance, L0, 700 GP)
  • Rugged Metabolism: Fast Healing I – for 18 Rounds – 2/Day, Relieve Illness 1/Day, Relieve Poison 1/Day, and Lesser Restoration 1/Day. From the Hedge Wizardry list on this site and The Practical Enchanter (1400 GP).
  • Superior Attribute: +2 Enhancement Bonus to any one attribute (1400 GP).
  • Superior Attribute: +2 Enhancement Bonus to any one attribute (1400 GP).
  • Vigorous: +24 + 4 x Con Mod HP (8400 GP).
  • Well-Practiced: +4 Competence Bonus to BAB with their alternate forms primary attack (1400 GP) or – if it doesn’t require an attack check – +2 on the DC of resisting it.

   Characters wishing to assume the forms of things with more hit dice will need a higher caster level on the Shapechange effect – until it will be more efficient to just get a full “Shapechange” and limit it to a single alternate form (About x.6, since that really does limit it quite a lot). That’s 183,600 GP – calling for a minimum of a Class-VI Mutant with 8400 GP left over – enough for the secondary package above provided that the Vigorous ability is knocked down to +(12 + 2 x Con Mod) HP and 1400 GP.

   That isn’t actually much more expensive than the basic version – but the game master should keep a careful eye on the creatures that he or she allows. What with the doubled-up hit die limit from the full Shapechange spell there are creatures out there that can really make a mess of the game. Fortunately, in superhero games, there tend to be a lot fewer exotic monster species around, which puts a lot of classical d20 creatures off-limits; you can’t shapechange into things which do not exist in the campaign since you cannot be “familiar” with them – a limit which does not apply to the specific version.

   Metamorphs can reshape their bodies – often to the point where they resemble an animated blob of putty more than a living creature. More advanced metamorphs can give themselves functional powers by reshaping their bodies into weapons, using their elastic properties to bounce around, contain explosions, and turn themselves into parachutes, or even by mimicking complex devices.

   Of course, even then, the adventures of Rubber Man won’t much resemble those of Technonanite Man – or even those of Magmus the Lava Man.

   Still, the basic Metamorphic Package includes:

  • Alter Self (user reverts to some seriously bizarre base form if rendered unconscious or this ability is negated, x.8, 9600 GP)
  • Protean (see below, x.7 personal-only, 8400 GP).
  • And a choice of ten Minor Abilities. In general, all of these are (Spell Level One x Caster Level One x 2000 GP for Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .7 Personal Only = 1400 GP).
    1. (Energy) Touch: Produce Flame with appropriate special effect, no ranged attack (x.7).
    2. (Energy) Porcupine: Anyone who strikes the user with a natural weapon or unarmed strike will take 1d4 damage during each round in which they do so, regardless of the number of actual strikes. Anyone who grapples or grabs the user and hangs on will take 1d6 damage per round of such activity. (Each elemental variant is a separate spell. The game master may rule that certain weapons – such as brass knuckles, or a metal club versus electricity – do not provide protection).
    3. Augment Attack: +1d8 damage with natural weapons.
    4. Camouflage: +10 Circumstance Bonus to Hide Checks.
    5. Controlling Grasp: The user may effectively grapple up to three opponents at one time.
    6. Endure Elements: The user is immune to ordinary weather effects.
    7. Enlarge Person: The version from The Practical Enchanter, +1 Size Category when active.
    8. Ever-Flowing: +1 Competence Bonus to all Saving Throws. (Sidestep, from The Practical Enchanter).
    9. Expeditious Retreat: +30′ Movement.
    10. Feather Fall: Parachute form, can also be used to survive large masses of stuff falling on the user.
    11. Immortal Vigor I: +12 + 2 x Con Mod HP.
    12. Implement: The character may produce simple implements, such as staves, basic melee weapons, hammers, drills, etc, forming them out of his or her own body; if they’re damaged, he or she takes the damage (x.7).
    13. Innate Resistance: Warding Rune, +1 Resistance Bonus on Saving Throws.
    14. Inner Fires: The user need not breathe.
    15. Lesser Energy Resistance: Resistance-5 to all forms of energy except infernal and divine.
    16. Low-Light Vision.
    17. Mage Armor: +4 Armor Bonus to AC.
    18. Magic Fang: The user’s natural weapons gain a +1 enhancement bonus.
    19. Natural Weapons – regardless of form, 1d8 Crit 20/x2, may make a full attack using both at full BAB.
    20. Personal Knack: Skill Mastery, +3 Competence Bonus to a skill group.
    21. Reduce Person: The ability to get very small.
    22. Resilience: the first five points of damage from any source is taken as nonlethal damage.
    23. Scent.
    24. Sealing Wounds: Cure Light Wounds five times per day.
    25. Superior Attribute: +2 Enhancement Bonus to any one attribute.
    26. Tough as Nails: Convert the first five points of damage from any attack to nonlethal damage.
    27. Toxin Expulsion: Relieve Illness 1/Day, Relieve Poison 2/Day, and Lesser Restoration 2/Day.
    28. Tremorsense/Advanced Hearing: The user can hear extremely high and low frequency sounds, and can target unseen creatures within thirty feet without penalty with a successful listen check.
    29. Unbreakable Grasp: Gain a +10 Enhancement Bonus to Climb checks and to rolls to hang onto things.
    30. Well-Practiced: +2 Competence Bonus to BAB with a group of weapons – most often Natural Weapons.

   Metamorphs with additional powers – such as the ability to generate lava effects, transform parts of their body into various pieces of equipment, and so on – will need a Greater Invocation effect. In general, that’s (Spell Level Five x Caster Level Nine x 2000 GP for Unlimited-Use Use-Activated) = 90,000 GP). That’s an additional +3 ECL modifier, with 6000 GP left over. How powerful an effect they can generate depends on how broad their theme is. Very narrow themes, such as “elastic” or “stretching” powers will allow effects of up to level four. Very broad themes, such as “technology”, will probably only allow effects of up to level two. Intermediate themes will allow effects of up to level three.

   Full-out Shapeshifters can take on a wide variety of forms. The most common variant simply uses a Personal-Only variation of Polymorph (“Polymorph Self”) with a restriction on the types of forms that can be taken and a few additional enhancements to make up for some of the hit die restrictions. Fortunately for them, the bonus hit dice in the basic superheroic human racial package, and those from Immortal Vigor, will help them take some decent forms. They’ll still want a reasonable level though – so it’s a good thing that the package they need isn’t all that expensive.

  • Polymorph Self (Spell Level Three x Caster Level Five x 2000 GP for Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .6 for Animals, Magical Beasts, and Vermin – or any similar limited subgroup of the normally-available forms – only x .9 only heals the user once per hour no matter how often it’s “cast” = 16,200 GP.

That leaves plenty of room for some other enhancements – notably:

  • Rugged Metabolism: Fast Healing I – for 18 Rounds – 2/Day, Relieve Illness 1/Day, Relieve Poison 1/Day, and Lesser Restoration 1/Day. From the Hedge Wizardry list on this site and The Practical Enchanter (1400 GP).
  • Superior Attribute: +2 Enhancement Bonus to any one attribute (1400 GP).
  • Vigorous: +24 + 4 x Con Mod HP (8400 GP). That will allow the user to take the form of some fairly formidable animals, since that provides a level one total of seven hit dice.
  • +2 BAB with Natural Weapons (Weapon Mastery, from The Practical Enchanter, 1400 GP).
  • Low-Light Vision (1400 GP).
  • Scent (1400 GP).

   That’s a mere Class-I (or +1 ECL) package – and rightly so; taking animal forms is very neat, and very appealing, and fits in with a lot of stories and fantasies – but in super-hero terms, the powers and abilities of animals just aren’t really all that impressive. After all, tiger versus Castellon the Earthmaster, with his metallic body, superhuman strength, and ability to manipulate the earth, isn’t going to be much of a contest.

   A Full Shapechanger – with unlimited use of Shapechange – costs a base of 306,000 GP, and calls for a minimum of a Class-10 Mutant who will have some 14,000 GP left over – enough for most of that supplementary package (drop the Low-Light Vision and Scent, since a full Shapechange will include them where relevant). Perhaps fortunately, despite their appalling power, a Class-10 mutant is all too likely to be short on hit points.

   Protean

  • Transmutation, L2 Sorcerer/Wizard, Components: V, S, Casting Time: One standard action, Range: Touch, Target: Creature Touched, Duration: One minute per level (D), Save: Reflex Negates (Harmless), Spell Resistance: Yes
  • Protean renders it’s target – and his, her, or it’s equipment* – flexible and amorphous. While in this state the target looks very odd, gains an extra ten feet of reach, can take various simple forms and squeeze through spaces as small as two inches across, is unaffected by having parts severed, and is immune to extra damage from critical hits.
    • *Characters may restrict this if they like, but comic-book characters rarely wind up naked when they pull themselves back together. Game masters may also opt to rule that equipment must have been in the characters possession for some time in order for it to be included in the effect.
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