Adventures in Stormreach
Changelings are a player race in the Eberron campaign setting.
Changelings are subtle shapeshifters capable of disguising their appearance. They evolved through the union of doppelgangers and humans, eventually becoming a separate race distinct from either ancestral tree. They do not possess the full shapechanging ability of a doppelganger, but they can create effective disguises at will. This ability makes them consummate spies and criminals, and many changelings live up to that potential.
Changelings strongly resemble their doppelganger lineage, with only a passing nod to their human heritage. All changelings fall within the boundaries of Medium size, usually standing between 5 and 6 feet tall. Unlike true doppelgangers, changelings do have gender in their natural form, although they can adopt any shape they like. Changelings have pale gray skin, and their hair is thin and fair. Their limbs are long and slightly out of proportion compared to other humanoids. Their faces have slightly more distinct features than a doppelganger’s, including a hint of nose and lips, though their eyes remain blank white and the rest of their facial features don’t look quite as finished as those on a human.
Personality: In general, changelings are prudent and cautious, preferring to take risks only when they feel that their chances of success are good or the payoff is worth it. They appreciate the finer things in life and take great pleasure in the comforts of a wealthy lifestyle when they can obtain it. They avoid direct confrontation, preferring stealthy strikes and hasty retreats whenever possible. In conversation, they are soft-spoken but have a gift for drawing out more information than the other party intends to reveal.
Relations: Nobody with any sense completely trusts a changeling. Many people, however, have reason to do business with them. Most members of other races treat changelings with extreme caution. Dwarves have little patience for their deceptive and subtle manner. Halflings, on the other hand, enjoy matching wits with changelings, though they are often rivals in certain shady activities.
Alignment: Changelings of all alignments exist, but most gravitate toward the neutral alignment. They focus on their own concerns without any meaningful regard for laws or morals. Many have their own code of honor but are also fiercely independent. Some refuse to engage in assassination, while others embrace that path as the most perfect form of the changeling art of deception.
Changeling Lands: Changelings live wherever humans do in Khorvaire, blending in among them and living in their shadow. They are most commonly found in the large cities of Khorvaire, where they form the backbone of the criminal underworld, though many find more respectable work as entertainers, inquisitives, government agents, and sometimes adventurers. Changelings have no established homeland of their own.
Dragonmarks: Changelings never develop dragonmarks, though they can mimic a mark’s form if not its power.
Religion: Many changelings revere the deity known as the Traveler, one of the Dark Six. Others follow a personal philosophy of the perfect form, in which physical transformation is a mystical practice symbolizing spiritual purification. This philosophy is curiously amoral, and its practitioners include both assassins and saintly ascetics.
Language: Changelings speak Common, which allows them to move easily among humans and members of all other races. They often learn as many other languages as they can to facilitate a multitude of disguises.
Names: Changeling names are usually monosyllabic and seem to other races more like nicknames than proper names. In fact, changelings collect names and may go by entirely different names in different social circles. They make no distinction between male and female names.
Male and Female Names: Bin, Dox, Fie, Hars, Jin, Lam, Nit, Ot, Paik, Ruz, Sim, Toox, Yug.
Adventurers: Changeling adventurers might be fleeing from past crimes, seeking revenge for a wrong done to them, or striving for spiritual perfection through the use of their shapechanging abilities. Others are driven to adventure through a simple lack of other palatable opportunities: Changelings who are not inclined toward crime or stealth often have difficulty finding steady work.
Standard Racial Traits
+2 to One Ability Score: Changeling characters get a +2 bonus to one ability score of their choice at creation to represent their versatile nature and excellent adaptability. However they can change this bonus when they use Minor Shape Change (see below).
Size: Changelings are Medium creatures and thus receive no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Type: Changelings are Humanoids with the shapechanger subtype.
Base Speed: Changelings have a base speed of 30 feet.
Languages: Changelings begin play speaking Common. Changelings with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Auran, Dwarven, Elven, Giant, Gnome, Halfling, and Terran. See the Linguistics skill page for more information about these languages.
Feat and Skill Racial Traits
Sociability: +2 racial bonus on Bluff, Intimidate, and Sense Motive checks: Changelings are inherently skilled in deception and intimidation, and though they cannot actually detect thoughts as doppelgangers can, they can intuitively read body language and attitude with surprising accuracy.
Gifted Linguist: Changelings gain a +4 racial bonus on Linguistics checks, and learn 2 languages each time they gain a rank in Linguistics rather than 1 language.
Magical Racial Traits
Minor Change Shape (Su): Changelings have the supernatural ability to alter their appearance as though using a disguise self spell that affects their bodies but not their possessions. This ability is not an illusory effect, but a minor physical alteration of a changeling’s facial features, skin color and texture, and size, within the limits described for the spell. However, unlike the disguise self spell, the changeling can also choose to alter one of her ability scores, temporarily drawing on the strengths of the race chosen which grants her a morale bonus to that ability score. For example, a changeling taking the form of an elf could choose to add a +2 bonus to either Dexterity or Intelligence, but not to both. If the changeling chooses to alter her ability scores when changing shape, she temporarily loses her racial ability score bonus which she selected at 1st-level for as long as she remains in that form. A changeling need not alter her ability scores to change shape however. A changeling can use this ability at will, and the alteration lasts until she changes shape again. A changeling reverts to her natural form when killed. A true seeing spell reveals her natural form. When using this ability to create a disguise, a changeling receives a +10 circumstance bonus on Disguise checks. Using this ability is a full-round action.