Changeling, Variant (5e Race)

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Changeling[edit]

...I know this might sound a bit strange and comes out of nowhere, but... if you would have the power to just change whoever you are,... who would you become? Do you have something specific in mind or someone you want to be like?...


Physical Description[edit]

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Art by katiedesousa

Changelings are a race of humanoids whose arms and legs are slightly longer than it would fit their appearance, with skin tones ranging from the palest grey to varying shades of very light blue. Changelings also usually don't grow body hair, but it is rumored that if a dwarf was one of the parents they possibly could. Their eyes are dark as the night, which makes it difficult to see the iris and pupil. If transformed, a changeling's eyes appear normal to others according to what is imitated, but on a closer examination, the conjunctiva around the iris is slightly tinted in a weak yellowish tone. On their forehead, they have two small horns above the eyes on the hairline. The base color of the hair is based on the skin color, but includes an other color in varying intensity, commonly violet. Their ears tend towards a double pointed form, like an elves ear, but with a split-tip and the noses can range from flat and slitted like a skeleton to subtle or even beautiful button noses.

In contrast to their distant appetence, the doppelganger, changelings can be male or female, but are bound to the one sex they were born with and are omnivores. They can tolerate eating raw meat, but most can't digest raw fruits and plants well. A changeling's body features are often described as a bit strange or even off-putting by the common folk.

History[edit]

Changelings, because of their ability to change into any person they want or need just like their distant relatives the doppelganger, have a long history in numerous different activities including but not limited to acting, working in the business of lust, and conducting stealth and espionage missions. Some of the more popular changelings have managed to gather so much fame in their career, that they were known in the whole land and acclaimed by their fans for their talent on the stage. But as it is, bad times are remembered longer.

In times of conflict, it wasn't uncommon to fall victim to a changeling spy of the other faction. The fear was ever-present and unbearable in most circumstances. The thought that one of your closest comrades or friends could suddenly slice your throat drove many people into insanity. Just as scary is the thought that any travelers or strangers you meet might in truth be wanted criminal changelings from a well known dangerous bandit band, scouting out the streets to plan their next raid.

In larger cities, however, many people find something irresistible about changelings for their potential to grant someone their most desired fantasies. However, due to several changelings prominently working in less than savory jobs, outside of their communities a certain stigma has stuck to them over time with most considered to be untrustworthy and having too many secrets, despite the fact that those who make their living with these unsavory jobs only represent a small part of the whole species similar to whatever else could be found in any other culture per se. The ever-changing nature of changelings and their experiments with new looks and personalities, however, tend to only feed the prejudices held against them. But most of the aversion directed towards changelings from other races is due to the fact that changelings are and have been by nature not interested in raising of their own young and often switch out their children with other races.

The history of the species itself and how it came to be is little known. It is theorised, that the now known race of the changeling was in earlier days a collection of halfbreeds between doppelganger, humans and half-humans of all kind, which overlapped at some point and formed the modern changelings. But unfortunately, these were happenings before the recording of history. Maybe some very old dragons or an aboleth may know, but it can also easily be nothing but hearsay.

Society[edit]

Changelings are commonly known to be friendly and welcoming in their societies, but some changelings that moved in from the outside might be afraid or hold a grudge against members of the common folk, based on personal experiences in their lives. Outsiders who are not used to changeling society might be afraid based on what they have heard, due to the prejudices held against the changelings, or hold a grudge, based on their experiences and are likely to mistake friendliness as false safety. Changelings also tend to ask a bit too personal questions, because they like to share with each other what kind of transformations, looks or behaviors they prefer to use and what transformations and behaviors they have tried out before.

Members of races that are not capable of shape-changing but still live in changeling communities long term are mostly called "permanents" inside of a changeling society due to their tendency to stick to doing the same job, living in the same place, and having slowly changing personalities. In regards to food, changelings' cooking tends to be a very common topic of exchange. In general, changelings preferer cooked meat for better taste, followed by cooked veggies, as these fit many changelings taste buds while also being easier to digest. Due to this, their society has developed a number of different meat centred recipes on how to cook and spice it along with what dishes go the best with it.

Changelings are one of the few races that can have offspring with other compatible humanoid races, and in such cases, the changeling blood will be dominant and a changeling with uncommon traits will be born. Strangely, however, changelings tend to be less interested in the raising of their own young and develop a strong interest in taking care of the newborns of other races. If such an urge becomes overwhelming, a changeling mother might swap out her own child with that of a mother of another race. When this swap occurs, the changeling baby instinctually takes on the form of the child of the other race. This transformation tends to be so strong that, besides reaching maturity, only death can revert it. Because many races view such an act as evil, changelings have a hard time finding work outside of their close-knit groups, sometimes forcing them to resort to mercenary work or other questionable methods of income.

Often, the replacement of changeling baby won't be noticed until they reach 15 years of age when the young changeling's ability to shapeshift switches from instinctive to conscious control in a matter of minutes. As a consequence of this, and not being used to keep their transformation up, the changeling child reverts to their true form. This moment is usually referred to as the "turnout" and is associated with a young changeling's discovery of shapeshifting and becoming a true changeling. But because changelings are very social beings and don't seek to leave their family or friends, it is understandable that in most cases, turnouts result in a very traumatic experience for the whole family and often leads to the young changeling being outcasted by their former family, if nothing worse.

Not knowing where to go and what to seek for to learn about their origin, these outcasted children tend to try and join changeling societies, where they are first considered outsiders until they learn more about themselves. However, sometimes these changelings don't turn to changeling societies and instead decide to remain in the place they were raised, despite the contempt they might now receive in their environment after their turnout. There are also cases known where the real child of a family returns home, and willingly or not, exposes the false child as being a changeling. After such an event happens, the changeling child would again be kicked out of the house, but rarely the parents choose to raise both children as their own.

Due to all the uncertainties changeling youth faces, it is not uncommon to find at least one young changeling in an orphanage. However, the changeling, as a race, are aware that this behavior of child-swapping can't stay a part of their culture forever, but fighting against your own nature is infinitely harder than most other things in life. Because of this, most changeling societies have set up some form of the childcare system, where instinct-driven mothers can hand over their children to be raised by others until they are ready to take them back again if they experience a change in mindset later. Progress has been slow, but the advent of such childcare systems has made it so the cases of child swapping or child thievery by changelings slowly go down with each passing year.

In the places where changelings band together, they tend towards a meritocracy, where the most skilled and intelligent take the lead. Other features of these societies depend upon what kind of larger society they fall under. Within these larger societies or out on the wilds, the common changeling typically falls into one of four subsets of personal beliefs: polysubsist, monosubsist, truthseeker, or plasticer.

Mindsets[edit]

Polysubsist

Polysubsists are the 2nd biggest group of the four mindsets belonging to changelings. A polysubsist is a changeling that tries to constantly take on different shapes and forms to assume many different identities and live many different types of lives. Most polysubsists are ok with managing to live like 2 or 3 different identities, as long as they can live without their secret possibly being discovered. Some older changelings might have taken on even so many identities in the past, that they can not keep them all straight and constantly mix them up. Others might overwork themselves while trying to manage all their different identities and developed a case of DID (dissociative identity disorder) in consequence.

"No, why?~ What do you mean with I should slow down and lay off one or two identities? He's right you're running on fumes! Take a break. No, please! I don't wanna die! This can't be happening! Not now!... And what is going to become of my important meeting then? I have places to be!... Wait, who said that? Where did this come frome?..."

Monosubsist

Monosubsists are changelings who wish to fit in, mostly where they grew up, and try to live their lives in only one form, by denying their true nature and keeping it a secret if possible. Monosubsists are the smallest group of the four mindsets and therefore are sometimes confronted with criticism and contempt by other changelings and are referred with nicknames such "denier", "oneform" or "husk". Denier, for turning their backs on their own kind and denying the fact that they are changelings themselves, creatures whose very nature it is to change. Oneform, for limiting their appearance to one shape and wasting their talent. Husk, for trying to continue to live the life they lived before experiencing their "turnout". If common folk find out the true identity of a monosubsist changeling, the topic might become teased or joked upon or even become a victim to straight-up racism. If the prejudice against changeling is strong enough in any given society that they are living in, it might even lead to the changeling becoming isolated in the community or worse. A monosubsist may eventually come to terms with their natural shape-changing ability and if so they may no longer hold steadfast to their belief that they should stay in one chosen shape or maybe even coming to follow the truth of what they are.

A: "...It was nice to meet you, but I am needed elsewhere, so if you would please excuse me, I must go now. ("...") I-I don't know what you are talking about. I'm not a changeling. Why would you think that?"

B: "I did not choose to be like this! I just want to live a somewhat normal live as who I grew up!... Please keep it secret... I don't want to lose my home again..."

C: "I grew up as this person and I'm going to live as this person. I don't have the need to express my self much further like others of my kind do."

Truthseeker

Truthseekers are the third largest group of the four mindsets, yet they are only a quarter the size of the group of the polysubsists. The truthseekers seek to find the great truth of what changelings are and why they were born the way that they were among various other questions about themselves. These individuals suppress their natural shapechanging abilities, even more than monosubsists, in the belief that taking on other peoples shape or lives is interfering the development of their real personality and own mind and prefer to live or socialize with other Changelings. Truthseekers could be described as monks or hindoos of some sort as they seek complex answers about themselves.

"The way of the truth is not clear to everyone at first. But with enough time given, the fog will lighten eventually. Are you willing to follow the way?"

Plasticer

Plasticer are the 4th and biggest group of all a changeling can be associated with. Changelings are as varied in mind as they are physically, and some changelings just don't fit into any of the three previous labels and treat their shapechanger trait as simply another talent that they can use as they wish. Every changeling who doesn't fit into the three other groups is called a plasticer. Because of this, the plasticer are by far the loosest group as they share no real common goal.

"Why should I seek to limit my self? It is my life. Having just a singular form is boring and I am not interested in living multiple lives. I believe in my freedom of expression!"

Beliefs[edit]

Like all people in Toril, do also the changelings pray to a broad variety of gods, of the present pantheon in force, or race-specific deities and have a patron god. The changelings that grow up in families of another race are normally taking over their beliefs, but might convert to the more popular believes in changeling society. Polysubsists commonly pray to gods of the trickery-domain to support their lies about them selfs. Monosubsists are more likely to pray to a god of justice and order for support in their daily life. The truthseekers are as the name suggests seekers of knowledge and also direct their prayers towards gods of this domain. About the plasticer, on the other hand, is it not possible to make such a statement, as they are a collection of freethinkers and dreamers who follow their very own way in life and so pray to gods that support their individual goals. Like in every culture can also some dense changelings be atheists, despite the existence of paladins, druids and priests, which are in close relationships with their patron deities.

Names[edit]

Changelings commonly use the names of the races they were raised in, which leads to a broad variety of names in their societies, which might be difficult to pronounce for untrained tongues. Because of that, many changelings tend toward short nicknames. Most changelings tend to keep the name they grew up with. Others might change their name to leaf this chapter of their life behind them.

Changeling Traits[edit]

Shapeshifting humanoids with a distant connection to the doppleganger. Who will you decide to be?
Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2, and your Constitution score increases by 1.
Age. Changelings reach maturity within the 15th year of life and can reach ages of 70 to 90 years under good circumstances.
Alignment. Changelings tend to be mostly neutral, with most variance coming from their parent race alignments, due to their doppelganger heritage.
Size. Changelings vary between 5 to 7 feet tall usually. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
Weakened Shapechanger. As an action, you can polymorph into a Small or Medium humanoid you have seen before, or back into your true form. You can make yourself appear as a member of another race and decide what you look like, including your height, weight, facial features, the sound of your voice, coloration, hair length and any other distinguishing characteristics, but your sex. Transforming into someone else doesn't grant you their wisdom, knowledge or manners. Your statistics, other than your size, are the same in each form. Any equipment you are wearing or carrying isn't transformed. You can’t grow extra body parts (Like organs, limbs, tails, etc.), your basic shape stays the same. If you rouse suspicion, or if a wary creature suspects something is amiss, you have advantage on any Charisma (Deception) check you make to avoid detection. You revert to your true form if you die, lose consciousness by any means, or if you become frightened. At reaching the 6th level, you become versed with transforming and you don't revert back anymore to your true form upon becoming frightened.
Body Augments. When you use your Shapeshifter trait to transform you can augment your transformation in one of the following ways:
You web your hands and feet gaining a swimming speed equal to your walking speed.
You strengthen and harden a part of your form to turn it into a natural weapon such as claws, fangs, horns or other similar features. Unarmed strikes with this feature deal piercing, slashing or bludgeoning damage, appropriate to the feature, equal to 1d6 + your Strength modifier.
You create a membrane between your arms and body that grants you a glide speed of 20.
Stealthy Movments. Thanks to the fluidity of your body and your doppelganger heritage, you are proficient in the Stealth skill.
Weakened Read Thoughts. You can cast the detect thoughts spell once with this trait at will, without the need for components, and you regain this ability when you finish a short or long rest. Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for this action.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common, the language of your parent race and one other language of your choice, your parent race can choose from.

Suggested Characteristics[edit]

When creating a changeling character, you can use the following tables of traits, ideals, bonds and flaws to help flesh out your character. Use these tables in addition to or in place of your background's characteristics.

d10 Personality Trait
1 I can't stand it if I don't get taken seriously.
2 The life is to short to think about every possibility.
3 I love to express my self to the world.
4 I like telling jokes, they rise the mood.
5 I'm likely to break out into tears about mundane stuff I like.
6 I'm almost unflappable.
7 I'm talking a lot. I like talking. Maby to much? Nah~.
8 I get easily distracted.
9 It is hard for me to clam down. I'm always on my toes.
10 I am a cleptomaniac. I can't help my self, but sometimes I just have to take something with me...
d10 Ideal
1 Selfless. As far it is possible for me, I will try to help everyone. (Good)
2 Egoistic. I care little about others, except they prove to be of use to me. (Evil)
3 Defensive. I always say live and let live, except life doesn't want you to live. Then get angry hit back! (Neutral)
4 Impulsive. I have a hang to act befor thinking it through. (Chaotic)
5 Lawful. To breake rules gives me a bad conscience and makes me feel unconfutable. (Lawful)
6 Thief. I know it is stealing, but i do it for others in need, from those who live well fed. (Good)
7 Greedy. Those, who can't or don't want to afford my help, obviously don't need it. (Evil)
8 Partner. I'm always there to help my friends, when they need me. (Neutral)
9 Mimic. I like to cause confusion here and there. (Chaotic)
10 Self-Paced. I follow my own ruels. (Lawful)
d10 Bond
1 I really miss the time before my turnout. It was a hard time for me, though I managed to make something of myself. But, so far I have no one I could call family.
2 I have trust issues, because of something that happened in the past, but I can't remember it. I fear the day when it might come back to me. I need to distract my self.
3 I have it good where I am, but I think it's time for a change of things. There is so much more of this world to see. I need to go out there.
4 My dream is it to become a Hero, but to get there I will have to leaf my roots.
5 I had this recurring dream of something very bad going to happen. And that I will be needed by someone to prevent it. I think something is trying to tell me, that I need to go out into the world.
6 I'm an adventurer. It is not quite the life I wanted to have, but at least it is challenging and varied.
7 I am in search of knowledge. Especially about my kind. There are many rumors, but little new to find. I need to seek further.
8 Back when I was 16, my father, my mother and my brother where killed in a raid against our village. Now that I'm fully grown-up and strong it is time to revenge my family.
9 I dream of finding as many magical items as I can. And how can I do that at best? By becoming an adventurer! Dragons beware, for I am coming!
10 I want the world to become a better place for us all. I think it's time to take the things into my own hands. Where ever I go, evil creatures, shall find their perish.
d10 Flaw
1 I'm very sassy. It gets me into trouble sometimes.
2 I have a hard time to decide between things. I'm sorry, but this is something that I just can't change about my self.
3 I can't see my own blood... It makes me throw up...
4 I can't sing.
5 I'm stubborn and try to manage my problems all by my self and end up getting hurt.
6 I lack empathy. But I know how I should act, based on what I saw others do in similar situations. But I'm bad at it and end up making things awkward, the others say.
7 When I get nervous, I get a hickup...
8 I'm too naive and end up getting used sometimes. When I find out at some point, it makes me sad. I need to learn to be more careful about other people...
9 I... like fire... I like its movements and how it spreads. I think I have a problem... My matchbox is empty I mean...
10 I constantly forget the names from people I don't interact often with.

Random Height and Weight[edit]

Base
Height
Height
Modifier*
Base
Weight
Weight
Modifier**
4′ 10″ +2d10 110 lb. × (1d10) lb.

*Height = base height + height modifier
**Weight = base weight + (height modifier × weight modifier)

5.00
(one vote)

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