Saga of the Northlands
There are many who can can take on the appearance and abilities of other creatures to a limited extent—barsarkir channel the ferocity and some physical traits of animals, ulfhednars gain various powers through their totems, drengar can take on the shapes of beasts—but only masters of the art gain the title of skinwalker. Skinwalkers are those who understand other creatures well enough on a physical and mystical level to finely control their form-changing, a process known to others as “wearing a creature’s skin” or “walking in a creature’s skin,” hence their name.
[This prestige class is based on the Master of Many Forms and Warshaper classes.]
Class Feature: Wild Shape
Skills: Disguise 4 ranks, Heal 4 ranks, Sense Motive 4 ranks
Proficiencies: Master Nature proficiency, Basic proficiency in at least two of Far Worlds, Lower Worlds, Near Worlds, and Upper Worlds
|Level||BAB||Fort||Ref||Will||Special||Wild Shape Size|
|1||+0||+2||+2||+0||Fluid Wild Shape, Wear the Seeming||Small – Large|
|2||+1||+3||+3||+0||Bestial Magic, Warrior’s Instincts||Tiny – Large|
|3||+2||+3||+3||+1||Master of Many Forms, Spirit Form||Tiny – Huge|
|4||+3||+4||+4||+1||Channel the Beast, Wild Tongue||Dimunitive – Huge|
|5||+3||+4||+4||+1||Folk Form, True Skinwalker||Diminutive – Gargantuan|
Hit Dice: d8
Skill Points: 4+Int
Wild Shape: Skinwalker levels stack with levels of the base class granting Wild Shape to determine duration, but not uses per day or any other improvements to Wild Shape the class would grant. Additionally, skinwalkers gain the ability to take on forms that are larger or smaller than usual for Wild Shape, at the levels indicated on the table.
Dýrvættr: Skinwalker levels stack with levels of the base class granting Dýrvættr to determine the maximum hit dice of his companion.
Fluid Wild Shape: Upon gaining his first level of skinwalker, a character’s daily Wild Shape uses are split up into thirds, to allow him to be more flexible with his form-changing. For instance, a Wild Shape ranger 6/skinwalker 1 would have 6 Wild Shape uses per day that each last 20 minutes per level instead of having 2 uses per day that each last 1 hour per level. Any source of extra Wild Shape uses, such as the Extra Wild Shape feat or any prestige class that stacks with the base class granting Wild Shape to determine uses per day, adds these extra shorter uses on a 1-for-1 basis, they do not add “full” Wild Shape uses that are then split into three.
Additionally, a skinwalker can change form as a move action by spending 1 extra Wild Shape use, as a swift action by spending 2 extra uses, or as an immediate action by spending 3 extra uses.
Wear the Seeming: Most who change their shape find themselves entirely submersed in the beast’s form, but skinwalkers are capable of only taking on a form at a superficial level. When using Wild Shape, a skinwalker can choose to only gain the appearance, size, subtypes, and movement modes of the target form instead of gaining all the creature’s abilities, but in exchange he is able to retain his own class features, the ability to speak, and so forth.
Because a change of this sort is more superficial than normal, a skinwalker can change into a beast using this ability even if it isn’t among his known forms. To do so, he must personally harvest and preserve an essential body part such as the heart, eye, or similar from a creature of the desired type (a process taking 10 minutes and requiring 50 sp worth of herbs and other alchemical reagents) and hold the body part when activating this ability; the harvested body part is consumed when the ability is activated.
Bestial Magic: A skinwalker always has access to the Animal Skin sphere in addition to any other spheres to which he has access, even if his class does not normally grant access to that sphere. Additionally, he can spend Wild Shape uses to use active sphere powers as if they were Divine Channeling uses.
Warrior’s Instincts: A skinwalker is able to retain enough of his own mind and body while in another form to put his martial training to use. While in Wild Shape, a skinwalker retains any combat-relevant feats he possesses (such as Improved Grapple or Combat Reflexes, but not Skill Focus or Extend Spell, for instance). He also retains any Weapon and Armor proficiencies he possesses and can use them with his new form’s natural weapons and natural armor as follows:
- Axes, Spears, and Mauls proficiency apply to slashing, piercing, and bludgeoning natural weapons, respectively.
- Swords proficiency applies to any natural weapons dealing multiple damage types, such as a bite attack.
- Dual Weapons proficiency applies if the form possesses multiple different natural weapons.
- Two-Handed Weapons proficiency applies if the form possesses only a single natural weapon.
- Mobile Fighting always applies regardless of natural weapon types.
- Light Armor, Medium Armor, Heavy Armor, Hide Armor, and Scale Armor proficiencies apply based on the weight and type of a form’s natural armor.
- Unarmored and Cloth Armor proficiencies apply to forms that lack natural armor.
Master of Many Forms: When a skinwalker wishes to add a new known form, it takes him only half the normal time to do so. Additionally, known forms are now determined on a per-world rather than per-proficiency basis; for instance, Expert Near Worlds proficiency normally allows 1+Int known forms of beasts from Jotunheim or Vanaheim, but a skinwalker with this ability can now have 1+Int known forms of Jotunheim beasts and 1+Int known forms of Vanaheim beasts. The skinwalker’s number of known forms of Midgard beasts is doubled to 6 + 2*Int forms.
Additionally, the skinwalker’s Dýrvættr companion (if any) gains similar flexibility in form: he no longer needs to perform a special ceremony for to take on a new form, it can simply take on a form if he has encountered or knows enough of the desired creature, and if the new form is among his known forms for wild shape the companion can take on the form with 10 minutes of meditation instead of 24 hours of prayer.
Spirit Form: Experienced skinwalkers can take on the forms of creatures that don’t technically have skin. The skinwalker can now choose creatures of the Spirit body for his known forms, but he can never have more spirit known forms than beast known forms for a given world, and taking the form of a spirit creature requires 2 Wild Shape uses instead of 1.
Channel the Beast (Su): An experienced skinwalker is even more adept at taking on aspects of other creatures in his own form. Instead of changing form with a Wild Shape use, a skinwalker can choose up to two monster attributes from any of his known forms (where “attributes” include size, subtypes, movement modes, natural weapons, special attacks, or special qualities) and gain them for the normal Wild Shape duration. He may not choose magical abilities or abilities relying on body parts he lacks (so he could not, for instance, choose a lake spirit’s Freeze special attack as that is a magical ability, and he could not choose a kraken’s Tentacle Sweep since it requires a tentacle, unless he also gains the kraken’s tentacle natural attacks.).
A skinwalker can use this ablity while already Wild Shaped or using Wear the Seeming in order to “mix and match” abilities from multiple known forms, but in that case activating this ability costs 2 Wild Shape uses instead of 1. In either case, the skinwalker cannot use this ability again while it is already in effect.
Wild Tongue (Sp): A skinwalker is constantly under the effects of speak with animals and speak with plants while in his own form or a form assumed with Wild Shape, he gains +4 insight bonus on Wisdom- and Charisma-based checks against Beasts, and all Beasts have their initial attitude toward him improved by 1 step.
Folk Form: The skinwalker can now choose creatures of the Folk body in addition to Beast and Spirit creatures, but he can never have more folk known forms than either spirit or beast known forms for a given world, and taking the form of a folk creature requires 3 Wild Shape uses instead of 1.
True Skinwalker: The most experienced skinwalkers have unmatched control over their own body and can recognize lesser form-changers on sight. The skinwalker becomes immune to aging penalties and magical aging effects (though he still accrues aging bonuses and still dies of old age when his time is up) and does not need to spend extra Wild Shape uses to activate Fluid Wild Shape.
Additionally, he can spend a single Wild Shape use as an immediate action to become immune to harmful Transmutation effects (and other effects that would alter his body in some way, such as Sunlight Vulnerability while in a troll form) for 1 minute per effective wild shaper level, and gains a +4 insight bonus on any saving throws against such effects.
Finally, whenever a shapechanged creature comes within line of sight of the skinwalker, he is entitled to a free Spot or Sense Motive check (DC 10 + the higher of the creature’s Hide or Bluff modifiers) to determine that the creature is a shapechanged form; beating the DC by 5 or more reveals the creature’s true form and the means it used to shapechange.