Tome of Prowess (3.5e Sourcebook)/Transformation

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The Transformation skill is an applied skill that allows you to change appearances and form. With it, you can disguise your features, disguise the appearance of others, and even alter your weight or height. Those with substantial skill in Transformation can craft creams and objects that bring a more substantial physical or magical change, a transfigurement, and gain abilities to better emulate those they seek to impersonate.

Key Attribute: Charisma

Check Modifiers[edit]

Condition Example Check Modifier
Disguise Skin Tone High elf attempting to appear as drow. -21
Disguise Gender Male attempting to appear female. -21
Disguise Subtype Human attempting to appear elven. -21
Disguise Type Humanoid attempting to appear as undead. -51
  1. These penalties do not stack. Apply only the most severe at any one time.
    These penalties do not apply to the Transfiguration abilities.


Several abilities in the Transformation skill make references to dyes, makeup, putty, and costumes. Dyes refer to liquids or pastes that change eye or hair color. A dip in a dye can alter your skin color as well, and it is even used to change the color of clothes occasionally. Makeup refers to compounds which make minor alterations to the color of skin or provide temporary highlights to small sections of hair, and should be largely familiar to people already. Putty refers to a compound that is applied to the skin to change its shape or texture. It can be used to enhance a feature, add new features like scars, or even reduce a feature by making others look more prominent. Putty and dyes in particular are the basic tools of a real disguise, since they can be used to alter features instead of just covering them up and hoping for the best. A disguise kit contains an assortment of dyes, makeup, and putty, and is an extremely useful tool for any disguise artist. Costumes refer to clothes, which have been said to make the man. They don’t have to be an actual costume, and could instead be a dress, a suit, or a uniform. They are necessary for some early disguise abilities, namely weight and height changing, and are generally not included in a disguise kit.

Later abilities don’t rely on these physical accents to hide or obscure a person. When you know what you’re doing, you can create a skin cream that replicates a scale across your body. Or a set of leaves that you can put into your mouth to breathe water, and get a fancy bulbous fishhead while you’re at it. Or a belly button ring that causes you to lose three-quarters of your weight. These are actual physical changes, transfigurations, that depend on a physical anchor to remain in place. And yes, this implies that people who have ranks in Transformation can gather some stuff from town, work some "magic" on it, and MacGuyver up a potion or implant to give themselves special powers. It's a necessary consequence of a Transformation skill that has to compete with polymorph and the like.

Untrained Uses[edit]

None. Sorry, you actually can’t do real disguise stuff without a bit of training. You can cut your hair, put on a wig, change your clothes, and do other extremely superficial changes, but these generally do not hold up to close scrutiny unless you’re also a very good actor.

Rank 1 Uses[edit]

Craft Disguise[edit]

With a bit of putty and some makeup, you can hide or alter physical features. You may disguise yourself or otherwise alter your appearance such that you do not appear to be yourself, but you can not disguise yourself as a particular person with this level of skill. If the disguise includes an outfit, you can even use it to actually alter your height by +15% or -7% and your weight by +25% or -15%. It takes at least 2d6 rounds to craft a full facial disguise, though any height or weight adjustment and other particularly complicated facial disguises take up to 2 minutes. You must have a disguise kit as well as whatever clothing is required to even attempt this creation. You can, however, prepare disguises well in advance. Applying a prepared disguise only takes 1d4 rounds for simple pieces, and 1d6+3 rounds for the most complex ones. If you have someone to assist you who is trained in the use of disguises, you can reduce these times to one-half of the listed values.

Your transformation check is made when you put the disguise on. The result, subject to modifiers in the table above, determines how good your disguise is and thus how difficult it is for others to see through it. Most people won’t look too closely, but anyone who becomes suspicious of you may make a perception check to try to find a flaw. If their check exceeds your transformation check, they realize you are disguised and are free to act appropriately.

Base DC: None
Check Result: Your check result sets the DC to detect your disguise with a perception check.

Rank 4 Uses[edit]

Cunning Disguise[edit]

Putty and makeup are quite familiar to you, and you can work them into many forms. You can even use them to imitate the appearance of a specific person, though people who are familiar with the individual will have an easier time finding your flaws. Any disguise to mimic a specific person is considered a complicated disguise and takes the better part of 2 minutes. These disguises are also generally made for a specific individual to wear, and it takes 1d4 additional rounds to apply a disguise not specifically made for you. Otherwise, the same rules for preparing, applying, and piercing a disguise apply as above.

Base DC: None
Check Result: Your check result sets the DC to detect your disguise with a perception check.

Rank 6 Uses[edit]

Masterful Disguise[edit]

You are truly a master of humanoid imitation, and have learned skills that let you imitate a wider variety of people. When crafting a disguise, you may incorporate elements to exceed the general height and weight alterations limit. For each additional step change (or fraction thereof), you suffer a -1 penalty to your check result. You may add up to 5 steps in total to height or weight, for a change of up to +75% or -35% in height and up to +300% or -60% in weight. When making alterations to both, use only the larger penalty rather than adding them together. These disguises require a costume to function.

Base DC: None
Check Result: Your check result sets the DC to detect your disguise with a perception check.

Rank 8 Uses[edit]

Fire Retardant Face Paint[edit]

Some people look very similar to you, but they live in the frozen north and have blue skin. You can disguise yourself as one of them now as well, even gaining minor resistances to help you pull it off. You can craft colored ointments that provide acid, cold, electricity, or fire resistance of 6 in any color of the rainbow. These ointments require 1 minute to apply, in addition to the regular disguise application period, but last for 24 hours once put on. Multiple applications do not stack - only the most recent application provides any bonus. Aside from this bonus resistance, you use the regular rules to disguise yourself as another creature, but no longer suffer a penalty for substantially different skin color.

These ointments are made in batches of 5 uses, and require either a complete day of work or 5 days of one hour adjustments to complete. As long as your cover isn’t blown and you can get away for an hour a day, you can keep yourself in fire retardant face paint indefinitely. If you can’t get away for an hour a day, you will likely have a limited stay; a sealed batch will only keep for 10 days.

Rank 10 Uses[edit]

Extraordinary Transfiguration[edit]

The best sahuagin disguise in the world won’t fool anyone if you can’t also breathe underwater. Similarly, some roles may require that you brave temperatures or climates you couldn’t normally survive in, be taller or smaller than normal members of your species, or even fly. You can create and apply special compounds and objects that allow you to overcome these obstacles. Extraordinary transfigurations do not require clothing or coverings of some sort to build the other effects upon, as they are actual physical transformations. Any gear that can not be used by the new form is left behind on the ground when the transfiguration is complete.

When you take on a transfiguration, you make a transformation check against DC 20, but you suffer a −2 penalty to your check per ability selection because these pieces don’t always play nicely together. Your result determines how long your transfiguration holds together before another check is required. It also determines the DC to recognize that you are not what you appear to be. As a physical transfiguration, this ability is opposed by the Discern Transmutation ability of Perception. Some creatures may lack the skill to see through your deception entirely. Creatures that do see through your deception may be able to find the points of failure in your transfiguration, however.

Applying a transfiguration requires 1 minute, or 5 rounds if you have assistance from someone trained in their use. Once applied, a transfiguration will only last through 6 successful checks, 1 failed or missed check, or until it is removed, whichever occurs first. You must be conscious to maintain a transfiguration, but need not be free from restraint or other conditions.

Transfigurations are generally prepared ahead of time, like a complicated mundane disguise. Each transfiguration carries its own physical pieces that bind the changes on their wearer. If a piece is lost, damaged, or removed, some or all of the transfiguration will fail and you revert to your normal form. You may ready and maintain a number of transfiguration selections equal to your ranks in disguise. These selections may be combined to 1 transfiguration with a large number of selections, to a large number of transfigurations with a single selection, or some distribution in-between. If some or all of these are lost or used up, they can be restored with an hour of work. There is no cost associated with this, in gold pieces or declared time, and it generally occurs during nightly downtime. If time can not be spared to maintain a transfiguration, it will remain viable for 10 days.

The following list provides the most common abilities added in an extraordinary transfiguration.

  • Specify an appearance, either your own or a specific type of creature. Skin tone, hair color, body shape, and more may be determined. Extreme changes may require selections of height and or weight changes to complete. This may be selected twice to allow you to specify a specific creature other than yourself.
  • Height change of up to +75% or −35% and weight changes up to +300% or −60%. This may be selected twice to achieve a height change of up to +125% or −50% and a weight change of up to +500% or −80%. If selected twice, you have changed size categories one step and gain all appropriate bonuses and penalties.
  • Energy Resistance 10, for one type of energy. This may be selected additional times to either increase an existing energy resistance by 10 points or add a new energy resistance at 10 points. You may not exceed 30 points of resistance. This bonus does not stack with any uses of Fire Retardant Face Paint.
  • Natural Armor bonus of +4. This may be selected once more to bring the total up to +8, though this reduces your maximum dexterity bonus to +3.
  • Water Breathing
  • Climbing base movement rate equal to half your base move. This may be selected twice to gain your full base move.
  • Fly base movement rate equal to half your base move with clumsy maneuverability. This may be selected again to gain your full base move or to increase your maneuverability by one step, though you may not gain better than average.
  • Swimming base movement rate equal to half your base move. This may be selected twice to gain your full base move.
  • Darkvision to 60 feet.
  • Gain partially functional appendages, such as one set of additional arms, a tail, etc. This may be selected multiple times to gain further sets of appendages. These appendages may not make additional attacks, activate items, exert strong forces, and so on, but they can grasp and hold objects.
  • Gain 1 set of physical natural weapons appropriate for your final size (as determined by height and weight selections): 2 claws, 1 bite, or 1 set of horns for gore. This may be selected multiple times to gain multiple sets of natural attacks as long as your transfigured form has appendages left to offer the attacks. At your DM’s discretion, this may also be selected to gain special attack actions (such as rend or pounce) with physical attacks you have already added to the transfiguration.
  • Mimic an (Ex) ability from a creature. This option requires DM approval, and some abilities may have limited charges or require daily recharging at your DM's discretion.

Since you can determine the outward physical changes of your transfiguration when you create it, you can try to make a disguise look like yourself or anything you feel like hiding abilities behind. You don't have to look like a sahaguin just because you want water breathing. It is a transfiguration, however, and if you don't try to make it look like yourself or something specific, you will still look like "something else". This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It's a magic world, though, and lots of crazy things exist out there. For most people, it’s better to assume that things are as they appear until you have a chance to examine them or run away from them. But if you want to look familiar, you’ll need to either spend some time and effort to make them look that way or leave the transfigurations in your bag.

Transfigurations are not particularly fragile, but they are somewhat taxing on the body to maintain. When your body is not in peak form, they perform less well. While you have fewer than half of your maximum hit points, you suffer a −5 penalty to your transformation checks to use or maintain a transfiguration. If you suffer damage in combat that pushes you into this range, you must immediately make a new transformation check with the −5 penalty to determine if any components begin to fail. You do not need to make another immediate check for falling below half health again until you have made one check without the penalty while at or above half health.

Base DC: 20
Check Result: Your check result determines the DC to notice you aren’t what you appear to be with the perception skill, as well as the length of time your transfiguration remains active without an additional check.

  • DC+10 and above: You may maintain your transfiguration for 8 hours without need for further checks. You could get a decent night’s sleep in your alternate form if you needed to.
  • DC+5 to DC+9: You may maintain your transfiguration for 2 hours without need for further checks. Which should be long enough to attend the Demon’s Gala and get what you need.
  • DC+0 to DC+4: You maintain your transfiguration without the need for further checks for 30 minutes.
  • DC-1 to DC-5: Something is wrong with your transfiguration. It will function for the next 10 minutes normally, and then one of your selections will randomly fail (this may cause others to fail as well if they are dependent upon it). You must fully reapply your transfiguration before you may make further checks.
  • DC-6 and below: Your transfiguration is failing, and 1d4 random selections immediately fail to function. The entire transfiguration will fail and you will revert back to normal in 5 minutes. It's time to make some excuses to get away from those you're trying to fool.

Rank 12 Uses[edit]

Fantastic Transfiguration[edit]

You can imitate a bulette adolescent if you want, but there are probably more useful things out there. You gain additional transfiguration ability selections, and may ignore the first 2 selections when determining your check penalty. Additionally, you may create and maintain up to twice your ranks in Transformation in transfiguration selections, grouped as you like.

New transfiguration ability selections:

  • Height change of up to +200% or -60% and weight change of up to +800% or -85%. This counts as 3 selections of height and weight change and also pushes you into a one step size category change. You gain all appropriate bonuses.
  • A burrowing speed equal to one quarter of your base speed. This may be selected again to bring your burrowing speed up to half of your base speed, but may not be advanced further than that.
  • Additional flight maneuverability. You may now add enough selections to improve a flight maneuverability up to Good.
  • Darkvision may be selected twice to give you a range of 120 feet.

This otherwise functions as the Extraordinary Transfiguration ability.

Rank 14 Uses[edit]

Mythic Transfiguration[edit]

You could probably imitate a Cornugon if you felt like it. You gain additional transfiguration ability selections, and may ignore the first 6 selections when determining your check penalty. Additionally, you may create and maintain up to three times your ranks in Transformation in transfiguration selections, grouped as you like.

New transfiguration ability selections:

  • Energy Immunity. This counts as 4 selections of a type of energy resistance.
  • Additional reach of 5’ with your primary appendages. This may be selected again to increase your reach by 10’.
  • Gain full function from one set of added appendages. This may be selected again for each set of appendages that you have added.
  • You movement limits are equal to twice your base speed (or four times your base speed for flight), but you must still pay for these speeds with the appropriate ability selections.
  • Additional flight maneuverability. Each additional selection will improve your flight maneuverability by one grade, up to Perfect.

This otherwise functions as the Extraordinary Transfiguration ability.

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