Changeling

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A Changeling girl using her Happy Camper ability. She only looks like she's being lazy. Really.
Helping others toil is a fine thing.

Origins

Changelings are a difficult race to learn much about. They are quite rare, and intermingle with other societies seamlessly. Changelings have the ability to blend in with uncanny ease, mimicking the mannerisms and style of other cultures with perfect fidelity. Most changelings seem to exist as parts of small enclaves, usually only a few families, who will be planted in the midst of another race's city or village like a lovely flower in a bed of moss. It is remarkable how easily they get along with others, no matter who those others may be.

Changelings are speculated to be the descendants of some protean race of alien outsiders, who eventually intermingled with the races of the Prime Material until they began to crossbreed. Changelings as a race seem to be only a few hundred years old, and sages and cyphers have traced their origin to a single small enclave, although where that original family of changelings came from is anybody's guess.

Culture

Changelings are always found mixed in with other, more populous races. Changelings tend to value stable, orderly societies, and thus are often found living with Arborians, Dwarves, Elves, Humans and Halflings. In all of their adopted cultures, they have 'gone native' and adopt the mannerisms of their host culture. Dwarf-dwelling changelings are gruff and dour, frowning and grasping after precious metals, just like Dwarves. Changelings among Halflings are cheerful and like to ride the edge of their luck, Changelings among Arborians are contemplative and venerate the forests, etc, etc. Perhaps the most surprising thing to strangers who find a Changeling enclave is how normal everything seems, how perfectly the Changelings have adopted every minute mannerism of their neighbors, because Changelings do not look anything at all like any of their adopted host races.

Changelings are slight of build and petite in stature, although their small frames can develop remarkable strength if they work at it. Their skin is a beautiful milky ivory, as white as fresh cream, and often tinged with a healthy pink. Their faces are uniformly beautiful in an alien fashion, with eyes of solid black, darkest green, or darkest blue, which swim with dazzling, limpid highlights. To see such a creature wearing Dwarven work-clothes, gritty with dirt, and standing arms folded with a glower to rival any Dwarf is a real shock to outsiders.

However, to their neighbors, there is nothing about changelings that's a surprise. They are so good at blending in with their fellows that after a few days, most races simply fold around them and they integrate seamlessly. Changelings adopt whatever customs and mores prevail in their host culture, and indeed, are often outstanding examples of behavior and decorum.

Note that changelings do NOT change their appearance! They blend in through their mannerisms, they do not actually change their appearance at all due to their race. Of course, they may disguise themselves if they wish, but to be honest, few changelings ever feel the need.

Growing Up Changeling

Changelings are consummate 'joiners.' They like being a part of a community, they like being in a religion, they like participating in local government. As a result, changelings do not seem to have any 'native' culture at all, to the point that some changelings feel themselves to be a member of whatever race they have adopted from birth. Whatever the customs and mores of their host culture, that is how changelings behave. In an Arborian enclave, Changelings are matriarchal and braid their hair, male Changelings raise the young and become Deathgrooms, everything. It can be very jarring to see a cluster of tiny Changelings mixed in with such a towering race as the Arborians, but the Changelings accept it without blinking an eye, and after a short time, most native races find themselves starting to forget the fact that the Changelings are a different species.

Despite their extremely exotic appearance, Changelings are fairly ordinary in their social construction, with male/female marriages, children in the usual humanoid way, and they have a definite childhood, adulthood, middle age and dotage like other humanoid races. Changelings have the same lifespan as humans, generally, and reach their various age categories in much the same way.

Changelings will adopt any culture and race as their own, as mentioned above, but they seem to have a small affinity for halflings as their host culture. Changelings are quite a bit larger than halflings, but not so much that they have excessive difficulty living among halflings easily. Halflings are more bemused by the bald feet of Changelings than anything else, and usually embrace them readily.

Economy

Changeling enclaves should be seamlessly integrated into their native culture, and they look like they are. But this impression is a carefully crafted artifice. In reality, if you examine them carefully, you can see that Changelings are really sort of 'coasting by' in a lot of ways. They are extremely attractive and possess a lot of charm, and as a result, they frequently wheedle and cajole their way into a lot of good situations for themselves and their families. Of course this means that their neighbors wind up giving them a lot of favors, over time.

This is not to imply that Changelings are lazy, or spiteful. Indeed, most Changelings have marvelous personalities and are generally well-liked by everyone. It simply means that Changelings don't add much of direct worth to their community, and indeed, siphon off quite a bit of excess. Changelings are not good at anything 'practical.' They get no racial bonuses to profession skills at all, they get no Survival or Knowledge bonuses of any sort. Changelings are good at dealing with people, not digging ditches or baking bread. As a result, Changelings often need a helping hand to deal with the rough knocks that come along in life.

In exchange, a Changeling enclave generally improves the quality of life for everyone around them. Changelings genuinely want to be nice to their neighbors, because the Changelings know, they're going to need them. As a result, no matter their chosen role, Changelings use their native strengths to soothe and make happy nearly everyone they meet. Changelings are socially perceptive, and will see troubles in a community long before most natives will. Changelings offer a shoulder to cry on, a bit of perceptive advice, defuse bar fights with a timely table-dance, and over time, their communities become happier and better adjusted (if slightly poorer) for their presence.

Most communities with an enclave of Changelings would consider this trade off to be more than worth it, even though they wind up helping the Changelings re-thatch their roofs every now and then....

Customs

Changelings know they are not like everyone else, and they really, really, want to be. Changelings like people and want to make them happy, but secretly, in their hearts, most Changelings realize that they're a little bit too decorative to really do well on their own. So, Changelings work very hard to be good friends to everyone in their native culture, so they can borrow the prosperity of their neighbors, just a little, to get them through the hard times.

One major difference between Changelings and other races is their amazing vision. Changelings see much more than other races do, as every person they meet gives off an aura-glow which is as clear to them as candle-light is to races with normal vision. This has a lot of advantages, of which a major one is, it is nearly impossible to sneak up on a changeling, but they are very good at being sneaky on their own. As a result, Changelings often end up being the watchmen and guardians of their adopted communities, able to see much more than their neighbors realize, and always there to raise the alarm about any underhanded activities that they aren't participating in themselves.

Changelings, no matter the mores they adopt from their native culture, never have any qualms about easing back a little when times are tough and letting their friends help them out a little. In exchange, Changelings feel a real duty to make the life of their community better. They will tell stories and jokes, they will visit the sick and the old, they generally are the 'nice guys' in their community.

Lifespan and Burial

Changelings live the same amount of time and age at the same rate as humans. This makes blending in with Dwarves and especially Elves a bit more difficult, but the Changelings manage it with their usual grace and aplomb. Plus, to be fair, both Elves and Dwarves have a LOT of wealth, so Changelings like living with them. A little challenge in blending in is quite worth it.

Changelings adopt whatever burial customs and mourning traditions belong to their native culture, but honestly, Changelings don't feel it the way other races do. Many sages and cyphers feel that Changelings, due to their protean ancestry, lack souls. As a result, burial customs mean little to a Changeling: You have one turn around the post in this life, and that's it. No use worrying about the bits that are left over when your time is up.

Relations with Others

Changelings get along well with every race and species. If they are given the chance, a group of Changelings can settle in and blend in with astonishing speed. For example, no matter the severity of the war or natural disaster, you never see Changeling refugees. The reason is, they've adopted another race and moved in and settled down again.

It is not unusual for an enclave of Changelings to be the sole survivors of sieges and warfare, and as soon as the conquerors take over, the changelings take on their new native culture and blend right in again, often not even moving out of their houses. Changelings are frequently neighborhood watchmen or county administrators, but almost never soldiers or mayors. Soldiers and mayors are far too high profile and draw far too much attention.

Changelings rarely get into fights they don't want, and given how few of them there are, they have little reason to get into fights. They do, however, value peace and stability, because re-learning your entire life because your city got conquered is a little bit too much like work for Changelings to really enjoy the process. Plus, wars are messy, dirty, and dangerous. Best to avoid the whole mess completely.

As a result, even pugnacious Changelings have a certain gentility to their manner that pretty much every other race values to some degree. Even half-orcs, who occasionally will have a family or two of changelings tagging along with one of their Dominions, find it hard to be too rough on the Changelings. They consider the little ones essentially useless, but they're fun to have around, and even half-orcs are not completely immune to fun. Plus, nobody wants to face a Gaunt from a Changeling. Nobody.

Very few people think about Changelings very much, simply accepting them for their peculiar strengths and odd skills, and that is exactly how the Changelings like it.

Starting Height and Weight

Gender Base Height Height Modifier Weight Weight Modifier
Male 3 ft. 11 in. +2d4 in. (4 ft. 1 in. - 4 ft. 7 in.) 70 lbs. +(1d8x5 lbs.) (75 - 110 lbs.)
Female 3 ft. 10 in. +2d4 in. (4 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 6 in.) 60 lbs. +(1d8x5 lbs.) (65 - 100 lbs.)

Starting Ages

Adulthood Intuitive Self-Taught Trained
20 years +1d6 years (21 - 26 years) +2d6 years (22 - 32 years) +3d6 years (23 - 38 years)

PC's

Changelings have no class or alignment restrictions.

Standard Racial Traits

All Changelings have the following Standard Racial Advantages:

  • Attributes: Changelings may choose to gain one of the following ability score bonus sets when creating their character. No ability score may ever be modified above a 20 or below a 7.
    • +2 to two different stats, -2 to one stat
    • +2 to one stat, +1 to three different stats, -2 to one stat
    • +4 to one stat, -2 to two different stats
  • Size: Despite their petite stature, Changelings are considered Medium creatures (barely) and thus receive no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Type: Changelings have the Humanoid type, with the Changeling subtype.
  • Base Speed: Changelings have a base speed of 30 feet.
  • Languages: Changelings begin play speaking Common.
  • Bonus Languages: Characters with a positive Intelligence modifier gain one bonus language per +1 of their modifier, selecting from the following list: Dwarven, Elven, Gnome, Halfling, Orcish and Tengu. Once the character's intelligence is high enough to have acquired all six of these bonus languages, they no longer gain bonus languages for increasing their Intelligence. Characters can also learn new languages by placing ranks in the Linguistics skill.
  • Heartsight (Su): A Changeling's eerie eyes give them an extremely unique form of vision. Heartsight allows the Changeling to see the aura of other humanoid races, which gives them a vision-based form of Lifesense against humanoids, requiring line of sight, but not line of effect, to work. A Changeling sees what, to them, appears to be a pool of light around living humanoids, granting them the equivalent of Darkvision to all squares within a 10' radius of those humanoids, as long as they are inside the range of the Heartsight. This invisible glow around humanoids can be seen by a Changeling even if there is no light at all. Heartsight is not impeded by a humanoid's clothing, armor or equipment unless it specifically impedes line of sight (such as a tower shield). A Changeling's Heartsight begins with a range of twenty feet at 1st level. This range increases to thirty feet at 10th level, forty feet at 20th level, and sixty feet at 30th level. Note that, while the range of a Changeling's Heartsight increases with level, the radius of each humanoid's visible aura never increases beyond 10 feet.

Major Racial Traits

Choose one of the following Major Racial Traits:

  • Placate (Su): Once per day as a standard action, a changeling may inflict the Faded status upon themselves for one round. Anyone who wishes to target them must make a Will save vs a DC of 10 + half the Changeling's character level + the highest of the Changeling's mental stat modifiers (Int, Wis or Cha). Failing this save means they forget about the Changeling's existence for that round and must target something or someone else. Making this save means they may still target the Changeling, but treat the Changeling as Invisible. At 10th level, the Changeling may activate this ability as a move action, and use it up to two times per day. At 25th level, the Changeling can activate this ability as a swift action, and use it up to three times per day. In no cases may this Faded condition last longer than one round, and attacking a creature immediately ends the Placate's ability on that creature. Out of combat, this ability lasts for 1 minute or until an attack is made.
  • Real Stunner (Ex): All Changelings are attractive, no matter their Charisma score. Changelings with this racial trait may add a +1 training bonus to their Bluff, Diplomacy and Sense Motive skills. This bonus improves to +2 at 10th level, and +3 at 20th level, and +4 at 30th level. In addition, the Changeling may select one of these skills to become a natural talent when this trait is selected, remapping it to the ability modifier of her choice, instead of the modifier normally used by the skill. Finally, Changelings with this racial trait improve their chances of a critical success with all of these skills by 1 (requiring a natural result of 19 or 20 to crit with the skill check, instead of only a natural 20).
  • Exquisite Manners (Su): Some Changelings are paragons of politeness. They may choose to accept a -2 racial penalty on their initiative rolls to grant all allied and friendly entities involved in that same initiative roll a +2 racial bonus. This bonus increases to +4 at 10th level, +6 at at 25th level though the -2 penalty remains unchanged.
  • Flighty (Su): Some Changelings have difficulty making up their minds. Once per encounter, after a full attack action, they may make a five foot step even if they have already taken a five foot step this round. At 10th level, the Changeling can use this ability once per round after any full attack action. At 25th level, the Changeling can use this ability once per round after any attack action.
  • Beatific Charm (Ex): Changelings with this racial trait are just pleasant to be around. The Changeling gains a +1 racial bonus to CHA. This bonus may be applied to her CHA even if she has already added a racial ability score modifier to CHA, though her total modified CHA cannot exceed 20. In addition, at 10th level, the Changeling gains an additional +1 to her CHA, and at 25th level, she gains a further +2 to her CHA.

Minor Racial Traits

Choose one of the following Minor Racial Traits:

  • Sincere Apology (Ex): The Changeling may choose to re-roll one Bluff check per day, adding a +2 bonus to this re-roll. This re-roll is in addition to any re-rolls she gains from the use of action points, and may be combined with the use of an action point if desired to add +2 to the action point re-roll. Use of this trait must be declared before the results of the Bluff check are announced, or it may not be used. Beginning at level 12, this trait can be used twice per day, and at 24th, it can be used up to three times per day.
  • Unobtrusive (Ex): Changelings have an uncanny knack for blending in. Changelings with this racial trait can initiate a Stealth stance as though they have total concealment when in a crowd (i.e. at least 10 humanoids, no one of which is more than 30 feet from any other or the Changeling). Furthermore, they gain a +1 training bonus to their Stealth skill if they have 12 or more ranks in the skill, or +2 if they have 24 or more ranks in the skill.
  • Happy Camper (Su): Changelings with this racial trait spread cheer and comfort among their peers. The Changeling and her allies recover additional hit points from a full night's rest equal to half the Changeling's character level. This bonus healing is a racial bonus and does not stack with similar racial-based healing.
  • Showoff (Ex): Some Changelings really like flaunting the way they look, when the mood strikes them. Once per encounter, they may make a Bluff check as a Feint action against any one enemy they can see. If they succeed, that enemy stops attacking the target they have currently, and acts to attack the Changeling instead.
  • Convincing Allure (Su): Changelings with this racial trait gain a +1 racial bonus to the save DC of any spell or spell-like ability that they cast that has the Charm keyword. This bonus improves to +2 at level 20.