Beastshifter (5e Subclass)

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Design Note: This ranger archetype is based off of the wild shape ranger from the revised 3rd edition's Unearthed Arcana.



You're not a druid, but you've spent enough time with them learning the art of the Wild Shape, so you've learned their language. You can speak the language and use it to leave hidden messages. You and others who know this language automatically spot such a message. Others spot the message's presence with a successful DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check but can't decipher it without magic

Wild Shape

Starting from when you take this subclass at 3rd level, you can, on your turn, as a bonus action, magically assume the form of a beast that you have seen before. You can use this feature two times, and you recover spent uses when you complete a short or long rest.

Your ranger level determines the limitations on what beasts you can transform into. You can transform into a beast with a challenge rating equal to or less than your ranger level divided by 4, rounded to the nearest whole number, and that does not have a fly or swim speed. Starting from 7th level, you can transform into a beast that does have a swim speed, and starting from 11th level, you can transform into a beast that does have a fly speed.

You can stay in your beast form for a number of hours equal to the maximum challenge rating of beast you can transform into. You then revert to your normal form unless you spend another use of this feature. You can revert to your normal form earlier by using a bonus action on your turn. You automatically revert if you drop to 0 hit points, fall unconscious, or die.

While you are transformed, the following rules apply:

  • Your game statistics are replaced by the statistics of the beast, but you retain your alignment, personality, and Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores. You also retain all of your skill and saving throw proficiencies, in addition to gaining those of the creature. If the creature has the same proficiency as you and the bonus in its stat block is higher than yours, use the creature's bonus instead of yours. If the creature has any legendary or lair actions, you can't use them.
  • When you transform, you assume the beast's hit points and Hit Dice. When you revert to your normal form, you return to the number of hit points you had before you transformed. However, if you revert as a result of dropping to 0 hit points, any excess damage carries over to your normal form. For example, if you take 10 damage in animal form and have only 1 hit point left, you revert and take 9 damage. As long as the excess damage doesn't reduce your normal form to 0 hit points, you aren't knocked unconscious.
  • You can't cast spells, and your ability to speak or take any action that requires hands is limited to the capabilities of your beast form. Transforming doesn't break your concentration on a spell you've already cast, however, or prevent you from taking actions that are part of a spell, such as hunter's mark, that you've already cast.
  • You retain the benefit of any features from your class, race, or other source and can use them if the new form is physically capable of doing so. However, you can't use any of your special senses, such as darkvision, unless your new form also has that sense.
  • You choose whether your equipment falls to the ground in your space, merges into your new form, or is worn by it. Worn equipment functions as normal, but the GM decides whether it is practical for the new form to wear a piece of equipment, based on the creature's shape and size. Your equipment doesn't change size or shape to match the new form, and any equipment that the new form can't wear must either fall to the ground or merge with it. Equipment that merges with the form has no effect until you leave the form.

Additional Class Option:

You may also choose to take the following class feature at 5th level, which replaces the Extra Attack feature of the base Ranger class.

If you're using the ranger revision from Unearthed Arcana: The Ranger, Revised, you gain the following additional feature at 5th level:

Improved Multiattack. Beginning at 5th level, when you take the Multiattack action while in your wild shape, you can make one additional attack with your least damaging attack. For example, if you are transformed into a brown bear, your bite attack deals 8 damage on average, compared to your claw attack's 11, so you would gain an additional bite attack, for a total of two bite attacks and one claw attack.
Shifting Attacks

Starting at 7th level, your attacks in beast form count as magical for the purpose of overcoming resistance and immunity to nonmagical attacks and damage.

Fast Movement

Your time spent in your beast forms has taught you how to move like a beast even while in your normal form. Also starting at 7th level, your speed increases by 10 feet while you are in your normal form and aren't wearing heavy armor.

Elemental Form

Starting at 11th level, you can Wild Shape into an air, earth, fire, or water elemental by expending two uses of the feature instead of one.

Master of Myriad Forms

At level 15, you learn the spell alter self, and can cast it without expending a spell slot. This spell counts as a ranger spell for you, and does not count against the number of spells you can know.

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