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On Skin Changing: a Guide to Polymorphing


Advice


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber Subscriber

One of my players is running her first druid, and had never dealt with wildshape before. She found the rules for what exactly she gets and loses when she changes shape fairly complex, and asked me if I knew of any guides on how to do it. I didn't, and couldn't find one, so I wrote it. I give you:

On Skin Changing: Being a Most Concise and Helpful Guide to the Noble Arts of Wild Shaping and Polymorphing (PDF, 4 pages)

What it is: an attempt to get all the rules for this in ONE place, and in the order you need to apply them, to simplify the process of making a character sheet for a shape-changed version of a PC (or other creature).

What it is NOT: an optimization guide. There is no discussion of what forms offer the most damage per second, highest number of attacks, or whatever else. I figure it's up to the player to work out what shapes they like.

I hope you all find this useful. If you find any typos, errors, missing things, or have any suggestions, please let me know in this thread and I'll update the guide.

Enjoy!

Dark Archive

Neat and handy. If I get time over the weekend I will check it out and see if I see any mistakes. Assuming some others don't do it first.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

Tinalles wrote:

One of my players is running her first druid, and had never dealt with wildshape before. She found the rules for what exactly she gets and loses when she changes shape fairly complex, and asked me if I knew of any guides on how to do it. I didn't, and couldn't find one, so I wrote it. I give you:

On Skin Changing: Being a Most Concise and Helpful Guide to the Noble Arts of Wild Shaping and Polymorphing (PDF, 4 pages)

What it is: an attempt to get all the rules for this in ONE place, and in the order you need to apply them, to simplify the process of making a character sheet for a shape-changed version of a PC (or other creature).

What it is NOT: an optimization guide. There is no discussion of what forms offer the most damage per second, highest number of attacks, or whatever else. I figure it's up to the player to work out what shapes they like.

I hope you all find this useful. If you find any typos, errors, missing things, or have any suggestions, please let me know in this thread and I'll update the guide.

Enjoy!

Nicely done! Quick suggestion: You mention that if you turn into a humanoid, you keep your gear and it reforms to fit your new form. I believe this also happens with Monstrous Humanoids, not just humanoids.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

Thanks! This will come in handy for our druid in my upcoming Rise of the Runelords game.


Minor correction: the Wild armor enchantment only applies to Wild Shape and not to polymorph effects as a whole. (I realize you intended this for your Wild Shaping player but as a general polymorph guide it needs correction.)

Also: Bracers of Armor stop functioning despite being a constant bonus.

Nice PDF :)

- Gauss


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber Subscriber
Quote:
I believe [gear works] with Monstrous Humanoids, not just humanoids.

Yes, though obviously monstrous humanoids come with a lot more variable shapes. Updated -- instead of specifying the type of transformation, it now talks about whether your new shape is capable of using the gear. If it is, you get to keep it; otherwise it melds in.

That way it doesn't specify the exact transformation, and uses an alter self example because it's clear and unambiguous.

Quote:
the Wild armor enchantment only applies to Wild Shape.

True. Updated.

Quote:
Bracers of Armor stop functioning despite being a constant bonus.

Really? ... Yeah, I guess they do, that's spelled out in the Polymorph school rules. Huh. Okay, updated.


Regarding the gear thing. Does this happen with all humanoid forms - eg. you used Undead Anatomy IV to become a vampire troll temporarily. Your base form is troll, a monstrous humanoid. You have overlayed a template, Vampire, which changes your type to Undead (Augmnented). What happens to your equipment (including your magical scimitar and chainmail)?


Tinalles: Yeah, I was surprised about the Bracers of Armor too. Then I read a post by James Jacobs where he said it is nonfunctional if it is absorbed. Makes Mage Armor all that much better.

BTW, you should add this to the Guide to the Guides

- Gauss


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber Subscriber

I'd say two things:

1) For weird corner cases, consult your GM.

2) If I were GM'ing a vampire troll, I'd say you get to keep your gear.

Whether the troll is a vampire or not is irrelevant -- becoming a vampire doesn't change the troll's basic shape beyond the minor addition of fangs. So, we'd treat that as a humanoid, and your gear doesn't meld.

Further, the polymorph school rules say "If your new form does not cause your equipment to meld into your form, the equipment resizes to match your new size." So you would then be a vampire troll with a scimitar sized for a large creature, and very dangerous.

Edit: added a post to the Guide to Guides.


from the prd

Quote:
When you cast a polymorph spell that changes you into a creature of the animal, dragon, elemental, magical beast, plant, or vermin type, all of your gear melds into your body. Items that provide constant bonuses and do not need to be activated continue to function while melded in this way

otherwise you get to keep your gear


What I'm having issues with, in terms of understanding the Wild Shape, is that certain animals have different damage dice from what's listed in the Natural Attacks by Size table.

Examples:
Black Bear (Med): Bite d4, claw d4, claw d4 (instead of d6 bite per table)
Boar, Common (Med): Gore d8 (instead of d6 per table)
Eagle (Small): d4 Talons (instead of d3 per table), and d4 bite (same as table)

Thoughts? I was thinking that the animal might have been designed with an Improved Natural Attacks feat, that wasn't actually listed. How does this fit in with having your druid turn into stuff, and actually getting the benefits (or penalities) he's entitled to? From my examples above, there's no reason to turn into a boar instead of a bear if the boar only gets a d6 Gore attack instead of the d8 listed in its profile, especially when the bear gets a BETTER bite attack if you use the table instead of the profile.

I was also a little concerned that druids could turn into a Medium-sized "Giant" animal, and get WAY better damage dice, but I read somewhere that "Giant" is considered a template, and that druids can't use "templated" creatures as their wildshape options.

Tinalles - thanks for taking the time to put together the PDF and making it available online. Very clear, very useful.


That's quite a handy PDF, especially because I was thinking of using a character that relied heavily on polymorph spells. Thanks :D


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since you mentioned what this is *NOT* where would I find an optimization guide to polymorphing?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

I kept meaning to do up one of these for my Druid players but kept forgetting. Great work!


dotting


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Handy handouts for lazy players - what could be better!

Great stuff, thanks.


Something about the actual layout seems off to me.

Perhaps it is how I'm used to reading guides with Google Doc's formatting (over a PDF, AKA the worst non-proprietary file format in existence. Bloated, slow and somehow manages to present serious security problems.) or possibly the font (it seems unsuited for a document with lots of capitalization mid sentence)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber Subscriber

RISE, O Thread from Days Gone Past!

Bloodwort wrote:
... since you mentioned what this is *NOT* where would I find an optimization guide to polymorphing?

Draxar published a good guide to forms a few days ago. See Polymorphamory - The Love of Changing Form: A guide to shapeshifting for a pretty thorough guide to forms based on all the available spells and quite a wide variety of sources (includes the AP bestiary sections as well as the main bestiary).

He doesn't discuss feats or choosing which ability scores to pump, but just having a guide to the available forms should help you work out that bit.

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