3.5e Grim Alterations

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Grim Alterations[edit]

Alterations are a special class ability for the grim. Alterations modify a grim's transformation by granting various abilities or powers.

Alterations only function while the character is Transformed. These abilities supplement the Grim Transformation class ability.

An Alteration can only be taken as an Imbued Body if all prerequisite Alterations have been gained as Imbued Bodies.


Alteration Types: Alterations come in four basic types: Passive, Burst, Aura and Special. Alterations may have more than one type.

Passive Alterations: Grant their function to the grim at all times simply by having them.

Burst Alterations: An area of effect and require an action to use.

Aura Alterations: A radius and effect either the grim and his allies, all targets within the radius, or some other target as described.

Special Alterations: Don't fit into either of the above types.

For information on designing new alterations see Designing Alterations below.

Standard Alterations[edit]

Name Type Prerequisite Description
Armor Fusion Passive None Your armor's restrictions and encumbrance is lessened.
Aura of Dread Aura Intimidate 6 ranks A 30 foot burst of fear used to demoralize opponents with intimidation.
Boon of Charisma Passive None +2 bonus to Charisma.
Boon of Constitution Passive None +2 bonus to Constitution.
Boon of Dexterity Passive None +2 bonus to Dexterity.
Boon of Fortitude Passive None +2 bonus on Fortitude saves.
Boon of Reflex Passive None +2 bonus on Reflex saves.
Boon of Strength Passive None +2 bonus to Strength.
Boon of Will Passive None +2 bonus on Will saves.
Dark Matter Burst Tenebrous Body, Tenebrous Deviation, Tenebrous Wave You create an ever expanding wave of darkness which devour your opponent and leave nothing behind.
Devourer of Light Aura, Burst Tenebrous Wave, Tenebrous Body A burst that consumes magical lights.
Elemental Affinity Special Ability to speak either: Auran, Aquan, Ignan or Terran; Minor Elemental Affinity Gain Minor Bends from one of the Bender of Elements classes.
Elemental Affinity, Final Special Ability to speak either: Auran, Aquan, Ignan or Terran; Minor Elemental Affinity, Elemental Affinity, Improved Elemental Affinity Gain elemental subtypes; Elemental abilities.
Elemental Affinity, Improved Special Ability to speak either: Auran, Aquan, Ignan or Terran; Minor Elemental Affinity, Elemental Affinity Gain Major Bends; Elemental features.
Elemental Affinity, Minor Special Ability to speak either: Auran, Aquan, Ignan or Terran Gain Basic Bends of one element, minor elemental ability.
Elemental Attack Passive Bestial Body A natural attack gains added elemental energy damage.
Elemental Body Passive Bestial Body, Elemental Resistance You are surrounded by an aura of elemental energy.
Elemental Breath Special Elemental Resistance You gain a breath weapon.
Elemental Burst Aura, Burst Bestial Body, Elemental Resistance, Elemental Body You release a wave of energy from your body in a 30 foot radius.
Elemental Projectile Special Elemental Resistance You can throw energy projectiles.
Elemental Resistance Passive None Resistance to Energy from either fire, cold, acid, electricity or sonic damage.
Feral Body Passive None You gain a feral strike weapon of your choice.
Flash Before the Eyes Burst, Special None Targets within a 60 foot cone become fascinated.
Fleet Movement Passive None You gain a monk's fast movement and may 10' step.
Forcefield Passive Lucent Body or Tenebrous Body You have a forcefield around you, which bolster your AC and provide temporary hit point.
Great Form Passive Boon of Constitution, either Boon of Dexterity or Boon of Strength You grow a size category larger.
Greater Dread Passive Intimidate 6 ranks, Aura of Dread When you make targets shaken, they become intensely shaken.
Greater Stalwart Body Passive Stalwart Body Damage Reduction 4/−.
Improved Uncanny Dodge Passive Uncanny Dodge You can no longer be flanked.
Invincible Forcefield Passive Forcefield, Grim level 16th Your forcefield repel attacks without fail, being barely damaged by it.
Leaps and Bounds Passive None Double roll Balance, Jump and Tumble skill checks and avoid provoking for some movement.
Lucent Body Aura, Passive None A luminous aura of light, Bright-light Vision and a +2 deflection bonus to AC.
Lucent Deviation Special Lucent Body, any other Lucent alteration You become mostly light, able to move through solid objects at half speed.
Lucent Flare Aura, Burst None Aura causes targets to become dazzled.
Lucent Fortification Passive Lucent Body Scoring precision damage against you is more difficult.
Lucent Moderate Fortification Passive Lucent Flare, Lucent Body, Lucent Fortification You gain moderate fortification.
Master of Portals Special None You can open a pair of portals which lead to each other.
Memories of the Dead Special None You enter the mind of a foe you kill or identify a corpse.
Reaper's Sickle Special Lucent Body or Tenebrous Body You summon a large amount of ghostly sickle to strike down your foes.
Sight of Revelation Passive Spot 10 ranks You gain the ability to see invisible creatures near you.
Spectral Weapon Special None You create a spectral weapon when making a scourge attack.
Stalwart Body Passive None Damage Reduction 2/−.
Surge of Emotion Aura, Burst None You create a 30 foot bursting aura that either boosts morale for allies or lowers morale for opponents.
Tenebrous Body Aura, Passive None A shadowy aura that reduces illumination, Darkvision and a +2 deflection bonus to AC.
Tenebrous Deviation Special Tenebrous Body, any other Tenebrous alteration Your body temporarily becomes like shadow-stuff, allowing you to dimension door.
Tenebrous Force Special Grim level 6th, Tenebrous Body You possess an unseen forces which allow you to move objects or even creatures telekinetically.
Tenebrous Wave Aura, Burst None Aura causes targets to have blurry vision.
Tongue of Power Passive Boon of Charisma You can speak and understand all languages and unleash a damaging power word.
Uncanny Dodge Passive None Retain your Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) even when caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker.
Vigorous Burst Special Vigorous Healing Fast Healing 2.
Vigorous Healing Passive Boon of Constitution Fast Healing that scales with your grim level.
Wings Passive Boon of Dexterity, either Fleet Movement or Leaps and Bounds You grow a pair of wings, enabling you to fly.
Wispform Special Lucent Body Assume the form of a small swarm of will-o wisps.

Epic Alterations[edit]

Name Type Prerequisite Description
Aura of Epic Dread Aura, Burst Intimidate 6 ranks, Aura of Dread, Aura of Greater Dread, Epic Aura causes targets to become panicked instead of frightened or shaken.
Boon of Epic Constitution Passive Boon of Constitution, Boon of Greater Constitution, Epic +8 enhancement bonus to Constitution.
Boon of Epic Dexterity Passive Boon of Dexterity, Boon of Greater Dexterity, Epic +8 enhancement bonus to Dexterity.
Boon of Epic Strength Passive Boon of Strength, Boon of Greater Strength, Epic +8 enhancement bonus to Strength.
Epic Stalwart Body Passive Stalwart Body, Greater Stalwart Body, Epic Damage Reduction 10/−.
Epic Vigorous Healing Passive Vigorous Healing, Greater Vigorous Healing, Epic Fast Healing 5.
Lucent Heavy Fortification Passive Armor Fusion, Lucent Flare, Lucent Body, Lucent Fortification, Lucent Moderate Fortification, Epic You gain heavy fortification.
Temporal Focus Passive Fleet Movement, Epic You gain the effects of haste.
Vigorous Regeneration Passive, Special Vigorous Healing, Greater Vigorous Healing, Epic Vigorous Healing, Epic Regeneration 5.

Designing Alterations[edit]

The current list of alterations isn't by any means a comprehensive list of all possible abilities for a grim. New alterations may be added. Here are some tips to help maintain the spirit of design for alterations.

  1. Avoid effects that directly emulate spells: While an alteration may include spell-like effects, it shouldn't simply grant use of a spell. That's what the spell is for. If you wish to add an ability that allows the grim to use a spell that isn't on his spell list, consider instead a grim feat, as there are several that expand the grim spell list. Alterations may grant variant versions or modified versions of spell effects however, playing to the strength of what alterations allow, unique abilities. In addition, while a grim casts spells divinely, he does gain access to many spells that are typically arcane.
  2. Avoid effects that are available as feats: An alteration shouldn't be a means of gaining the effect of a feat without needing to gain a feat. That's what the feat is for. As alterations are gained with higher frequency, emulating feats is potentially unbalancing. Many alterations are feat-like, with passive bonuses that can be later attained as continually functioning, with Imbued Body. However, these passive abilities are supernatural, unlike most feats, which are a measure of training or manifestation of in-born powers. Alterations stem from the grim's connection to another plane of existence and his ability to channel that power.
  3. Prerequisites should be limited to other alterations and skill ranks: This is for the sake of establishing standards, as well as easily recognizable points of when the ability can be gained. There are exceptions, first being Epic. The second being progressing off of a grim feat specifically. As a prerequisite, access to grim class features is to be avoided, opting instead for skill ranks. Skill ranks are not to be confused with skill modifiers, as ranks are only gained through leveling and using skill points.
  4. All prerequisites are to be listed for each alteration: This means to include those prerequisites which are for other alterations in its progression. Elemental Burst is an example of this, listing its prerequisite alteration as well as the prerequisites for that alteration (and so on) as well.
  5. Certain alterations need additional categories: Epic alterations need [[Category:Epic Equipment]]. Alterations with certain effects or descriptors need those categories as well, similar to spells.
  6. Consider how a new alteration interacts with existing alterations as well as spells, feats, and other abilities: When adding a new alteration, be sure to consider the big picture of the game that it will be entering. Loopholes and problems can pop up quickly if research is ignored. Research is important in designing any game mechanic.
  7. Consider why this alteration doesn't yet exist: An alteration may not exist because no one thought of it and added it or the alteration was thought of, and purposely not added. Some effects and abilities may seem like they fit well with the class or one of its variants, but be sure to make this consideration anyways. The more thought put into designing your new alteration, the better the result will be.
  8. Keep it simple: Mechanics should be easy to remember, using standards whenever possible, and using a minimum of rolls and numbers to keep track of. Alterations shouldn't slow the game down.
  9. Aura is centered on the grim: Aura alterations are always centered on the grim and are either spherical bursts, passive auras or simply affect adjacent targets (or those within the grim's space). Auras may be passive, if the effect is constantly granted just by having the alteration.
  10. Bursts are short "explosions": Burst alterations require an action to use, typically a standard action. Aura bursts are centered on the grim. Bursts may be centered on other things as well, and function much like fireball (but with less fire, typically).
  11. Passive alterations always function: Once you transform, a passive alteration begins functioning, granting its ability. If the alteration has another purpose, it also gains the Special type. Be sure when designing passive alterations to consider the effects of Imbued Body, as having the alteration function continuously can dramatically change the power of the grim. Passive abilities are to be aimed in power to around that of a normal ability boost gained at its earliest entry level (similar to that of a feat, but different in design philosophy and function) for purposes of balance. Passive alterations, like feats, may represent a gain in power through training or racial effects, as well as other unusual powers manifested from his planar connection.
  12. Special alterations are the oddballs: These alterations require some sort of action to use, often a standard action or swift action. They have various effects, and might create cone-shaped bursts, grant unusual powers, or some other boon.
  13. Entry level alterations are "weaker" than ones with prerequisites: While alterations should be designed to allow useful function at all levels of the game, entry-level alterations are often weaker, since they can be gained as soon as 2nd level. Just like low-level spells, some alterations outlive their functionality. However, most entry-level alterations are stepping stones to more powerful versions of the ability. Vigorous Healing may only grant fast healing 1, but it's the first step in more powerful abilities.
  14. Alterations are built to the power of the earliest level they can be obtained at: This is the main reason there is no ability that grants bonus alterations. The system is balanced to allow more powerful abilities at higher level, with appropriate numbers of prerequisites to ensure that certain abilities can only be gained at certain levels. Feats and alterations are not interchangeable for power.
  15. Alterations have a standard DC: That DC is 10 + ½ your grim levels + your Wisdom modifier.
  16. Alterations have a standard wording: Passive alterations should start with "While transformed, you...". Other alterations should begin ""As a standard action while transformed, you...".
  17. Quotes are often 3rd person perspective: Quotes for alterations somehow became more like short snippets of stories, a sentence or two long, often without resolution to the action at hand. This is meant to empower the reader to employ his imagination into the scenario, adding possibilities of how the ability could be used. Though, quotes may be done in any manner, they should reflect some usage and description of the ability. The purpose of the quote is to provide extra information for using the ability in the game and adding flavor without interfering with the mechanical description of the alteration.
  18. Formatting is important: Alterations should be well formatted as well as worded. A clean, easy to read ability with appropriate links and capitalized words (the specific names of alterations are capitalized, such as Wings, just like feats).
  19. Names should be interesting but not confusing: Naming alterations can be a bit of a pain. A name should be both descriptive as well as easy to understand. In addition, it should allow the player, if he is required to actively use it, to say something like "I use my Fill-in-the-blank..." and not stumble over it. Additionally, names should never have commas. Names that appear in the table as prerequisites and have commas cause confusion (as all alterations are separated by commas).
  20. Ask around, get advice: Designing any game mechanic gets easier with the input of other people who know what they are talking about and can help you brainstorm ideas or look things over to see if you missed anything. Sometimes, what you thought was clear wasn't translated so well to words.



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