Let’s do one for the players, shall we?
When the very first Unearthed Arcana came out, long ago in the far off past, it included a new race for players to toy with: The Changeling. Effectively, it’s a shapeshifter that can transform into any humanoid it wants.
I had a problem with it. Not with the concept, of course. Shape shifting infiltrators are AWESOME. My problem was with the name. See, when I think Changeling, I don’t think of a shifter. I think of the children of the sidhe: fey- and monster-born. Trollkin and hagborn and the children of faeries and men. In mythology, changelings were faerie-children who were swapped with human children in order to infiltrate human civiliations.
Pathfinder has a Changeling race as well, though specifically focused on being the children of hags, rather than any number of monstrous creatures.
Therefore, the Eberron Changeling is known as the Faceless in my campaigns. And changelings…well, why don’t you see for yourself?
Changelings, sometimes known as Monster-born or Wildlings, are born of unions between humans and monstrous creatures or fey, whether consensual, forced, or magical in nature. Hags, trolls, nymphs, dryads, and numerous other “monsters” can give birth to changelings, who themselves are bound to their monstrous parent, and to an inexorable and sometimes terrifying destiny.
Changelings are mostly human in appearance, but tend to have features that betray their monstrous lineage. They tend to live solitary lives, as changelings are exceedingly rare. Those that do travel with others tend to wander in order to escape the inevitable.
Bound By Fate
Changelings are inexorably drawn to the wild places of the world by a connection to their monstrous lineage. Trollkin will be psychically drawn toward troll clans. Hagborn will unconsciously be drawn toward hag covens. The reason for this is that a changeling’s very being is constantly fighting itself. It wants to be both human and monstrous at the same time.
A changeling that actively seeks out their monstrous parents and voluntarily accepts that part of themselves undergoes a metamorphosis, transforming them completely into their monstrous lineage. Similarly, a changeling can undergo a ritual (known by very few) to shed the monstrous part of their being, transforming completely into a human (this results in no mechanical change to their Ability Scores, but they lose the Natural Armor and Nature of the Wild features, as well as any features gained via their subrace).
Proud or Self Loathing
Changelings very rarely choose the middle ground. Their decisions are almost always at least partially informed by the looming destiny over their heads, and the constant draw to the wild. Some changelings are proud of their lineage, and actively seek a way to become a part of it. Others, however, detest or fear that part of themselves, and would do anything to be rid of it. Most changelings fall into the latter category, leading them to become wanderers and adventurers in order to seek a cure to what they view as an affliction.
Changelings are also often feared by normal society. Their strange appearance and odd powers make them “otherworldly” in the eyes of the common people, a part of the strange world beyond the borders of their town. Some believe them to be infiltrators from the fey realm; monsters sent to dismantle their way of life and invite the darkness beyond.
Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution score increases by 1.
Age. A changeling reaches adulthood at age 15, and usually live up to 50 years. During this time, they do not age (making them immune to magical aging effects). The reason they die so young is because their body is constantly at war with itself, and cannot survive more than 50 years deadly consequences. A changeling who undergoes a metamorphosis into either a human or monster can live longer, as their new race.
Alignment. Most changelings lean toward the chaotic. They are rebellious by nature, and their constant pull toward their lineage makes them eternal wanderers.
Size. Changelings can range in height between 4 and 7 feet, weighing up to 500 lbs. depending on their lineage. Your size is medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Natural Armor. Your skin is thick and protective. Your Armor Class cannot be below 13 for any reason.
Nature of the Wild. You have an innate connection not only with the wilderness, but the beasts and monsters that inhabit it. You gain proficiency in Animal Handling, and have advantage on Charisma checks when dealing with fey, fiends, and giants.
Bond of Destiny. Add the following personality trait to your character: “I am constantly drawn to the wild in order to rejoin my monstrous parents, and my decisions are often informed by this.”
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and one additional language depending on your parental lineage.
Subrace. A changeling’s subrace is determined by their parental lineage. Three lineages are presented here: Dryad, Hag, and Troll.
As a dryad changeling, you are inexorably drawn to nature. Your hair and eyes change in color with the seasons, ranging from green, to red, to yellow, orange, and brown. You also have a preternatural attractiveness that allows you to ensnare men and beasts under your thrall.
Ability Score Increase. Your Charisma score increases by 2.
Fey Charm. As an action, you can charm a single humanoid or beast you can see within 30 feet. If it can see you, then it must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw (DC 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier) or be magically charmed. The charmed creature regards you as a trusted friend to be heeded and protected. Although the target isn’t under your control, it takes your actions and requests in the most favorable way it can.
Each time you or your allies do anything harmful to the target, it can repeat the saving throw, ending the effect on itself on a success. Otherwise, the effect lasts 24 hours or until you die, you are on a different plane of existence from the target, or you end the effect as a bonus action. If a target’s saving throw is successful, the target is immune to your Fey Charm for the next 24 hours.
You can have no more than one humanoid and up to three beasts charmed at a time. You must complete a long rest before you can use your Fey Charm again.
Languages. You can read, write, and speak Sylvan.
As a hag changeling, you are drawn to swamps, marshes, and other dark, dank places. Your hair and eye color changes with your surroundings, taking on the colors of the land in which you inhabit. You have a proclivity toward deception and have a natural talent for casting illusions.
Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence Score increases by 2.
Natural Illusionist. You learn the Minor Illusion cantrip. At 3rd level, you can cast the Disguise Self and Silent Image spells each once per long rest.
Languages. You can read, write, and speak Abyssal, Infernal, or Sylvan.
As a troll changeling, you are strong, stout, and more powerfully built than your kin of other lineages. You are tall as a goliath, and your features tend to be sharp and rigid. You are also hardy, and your blood has regenerative properties, allowing you to stay alive when others might fall.
Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 2.
Regenerative Blood. Whenever you complete a long rest, you regain an additional number of expended hit dice equal to your Constitution modifier.
In addition, whenever you complete a short rest and expend hit dice to heal, you can regain a number of hit dice equal to half the number spent (rounded up). You must complete a long rest before you can do this again.
Languages. You can read, write, and speak Giant.
As always, here’s a PDF: The Changeling Race.