Wilderskin

Shapeshifting hunters, echoes of primal beast and primal fey

Wilderskin Heritage Traits

Average Height: Varies by form
Average Weight: Varies by form

Ability Scores: +2 Wisdom, +2 Dexterity or Strength
Size: Medium
Speed: 6 squares
Vision: Low-light vision

Languages: Common and Sylvan.

Strange Beast: You are a creature of both the fey realm and the natural world, able to walk as human or beast at your whim. You have the fey origin, the magical beast type, and the shapechanger subtype.

Threefold Soul: You have three different bodies, each an inherent part of your being. These are your wild form (a medium, small or tiny natural beast), your veil form (a medium or small humanoid which does not have the beast type) and your true form (a hybrid between your veil and wild forms, with clearly bestial features but a generally humanoid shape). Each form has a distinct, permanent appearance determined at character creation.

When you are not in your true form, whenever you make any skill check to pass yourself off as an ordinary member of your apparent species, you can roll twice and use either result.

Wildspeak: Regardless of which languages you know, you can automatically converse with beasts and magical beasts that are broadly the same subtype as your wild form (mammal, insect, reptile, etc.). Like any other communication, this is not automatically friendly or useful.

Elusive: You have a +2 heritage bonus to checks made to escape a grab, and to saving throws against effects that immobilise, restrain, or slow you.

Aspects of the Beast: You have both the mask of nature and beast of battle heritage powers.

Beast of BattleWilderskin Heritage Power
Roused to battle, you awaken the beast within.
Encounter
Minor Action ✦ Personal
Effect: You spend a healing surge but regain no hit points. Until the end of the encounter or until you choose to end the effect, you gain a +2 bonus to speed and a +1 bonus to AC and Reflex.
Special: You enter your hybrid form when you use this power and remain in it until you end the effect.
Mask of NatureWilderskin Heritage Power
You slip between forms with a grace that is truly second-nature.
At-Will ✦ Polymorph
Minor Action ✦ Personal
Effect: You assume your veil, wild or true form, until you choose to change forms again. While you are in your wild or veil form, your game statistics change as noted below until you change forms again.
Wild form: Your size changes to match your apparent species, and you gain one appropriate movement benefit from the list below, determined at character creation:
Terrestrial: You gain a +2 bonus to speed.
Aerial: You gain a fly speed equal to your movement speed. Your land speed becomes 1.
Aquatic: You gain a swim speed equal to your movement speed and can breathe underwater. Your land speed becomes 1.
Subterranean: You gain a burrow speed equal to half your movement speed. You cannot burrow through solid stone or other rock-hard substances.
Arboreal: You gain a climb speed equal to your movement speed.
You cannot use any attack powers, although you can sustain such powers.
Your equipment becomes part of the form, and you continue to gain the benefits of equipped items, but you cannot activate their item powers. While your equipment is part of the form, it cannot be removed, and anything in a container that is part of the form is inaccessible.
Veil form: Your size changes to match your apparent species.
Special: You can only use this power once per round.

The Parosean migration heralded many changes to the continent of Alm. None was none more dramatic than the Establishing War, which culminated in a permanent rift between the material plane and the shadowfell. It’s well known that this caused the first wild undead in Alm, and the revenants who now count themselves among Tenebrae’s number—but it would appear that these were not the only creatures who came about as a result of King Salem’s fateful actions.

The strange creatures now called wilderskins were first encountered in Tenebrae, some time after the creation of the Shadow Rift. Hitherto unknown in Alm, these folk were not beast-kin as they first appeared, but fey; born of wild animals, yet able to take the forms of humans without a second thought.

Both natural and unnatural, wilderskins were at first viewed with suspicion; however, when it became clear that they meant no more harm than any human, the crown decreed that they should be recognised as Tenebrian citizens if they so identified. In the decades since, they have appeared elsewhere in Alm as well, though their origins remain a mystery even to this day.

Play a wilderskin if you want…

  • to be born of beasts, but also an otherworldy spirit.
  • to be a newly discovering the ways of humanoid creatures.
  • to play a shifter or a hengeyoukai, but feel these are mechanically weaker than they deserve.

Physical Qualities

Wilderskins are born as beasts, and remain so for many years before they begin to realise they are different from others of their kind. As fey, they age more like elves than like natural animals, soon making them stand out from their siblings. Their shapeshifting powers emerge instinctively as their intelligence develops, with most discovering their true form as an accident, a moment of heightened stress, or through play.

The “true” form of a wilderskin is broadly a humanoid shape, but with the clear and obvious features of their particular animal form. The prominence of animal features varies with the individual; one might look indistinguishable from a gnoll or an abilen, while another looks simply like a human with fox ears and a tail. This variance seems to be the result of their shapeshifting powers being influenced by both their self-image, and the creatures with whom they interact.

They typically acquire their humanoid form last, only after they come into contact with other species. To a casual observer they appear no different to others of that species, though they often have features which hint at their animal form—for example, a feline wilderskin may have very large eyes or a cleft lip.

A wilderskin’s beast heritage can be almost anything, from a tiny rat or bird through cats, turtles, bats, bears and more. Wolves are surely the most common, however, and believed to be the first of them all. Tenebrian hunters know well to spare juvenile beasts, and many an old wolfskin now recalls the human who released them with great fondness.

Playing a Wilderskin

Their unusual origin makes wilderskins diverse and unpredictable, even compared to most creatures. They emerge seemingly at random, and cannot produce wilderskin offspring even with others of their kind; even they themselves do not know how or why they come to be. Thus, they broadly lack the opportunity other folk have to establish distinct nations and cultures of their own.

Instead, wilderskins are left to choose their community. Some live their entire lives with their animal families, watching over generations as their leaders and guardians. Many choose to walk with humanoids, craving intellectual and emotional connections that simple animals cannot offer. Some seek fellowship with other wilderskins, perhaps wishing to answer the mystery of their own existence, while others feel no such pull.

If there is one trait most wilderskins do share, it is curiosity. Born in isolation, they quickly become aware that the world outside is unimaginably vast. Whether they choose the wilds or the hearth, they can rarely resist the urge to at least explore and observe other humanoid creatures. The path of the adventurer is a gift to those who embrace this wanderlust, providing ample opportunity to travel and learn.

Whatever life they choose, revealing their true form is an important decision for any wilderskin—whether they wear it proudly and openly, or keep it a closely-guarded secret. While they are rarely treated with prejudice outside of Aurion, many still feel there is power or safety in keeping their veil intact, and reveal their true selves only to their most trusted companions.

Wilderskins are perceived as… wild, observant, mischievous, curious, naive, intuitive, energetic, unpredictable, animalistic, skittish.

Names: Such names as beasts take do not generally translate to spoken language, though a wilderskin may approximate some nickname—such as “sharp eyes” or “soft fur”—if they feel it necessary. Those who live among humanoids are wont to take a name from their local dialect, particularly if they wish to live as their veil.

1.0—First published version
  • 11 months ago Add First publication
Last updated: July 27, 2022
First added: December 31, 2021