Tell me about the Chameleon...

Kroax

Explorer
Overpowered but interesting

Although I immensily like the concept of the class, it's so utterly broken that I think it's no fun unless you wish to be unbalancingly good. The benefits of the class just massively outweighs the losses. If you leave it as it is there's also a good chance the the rest of the groups members who've specialized on a certain area might feel cheated, especially the melee oriented classes, since you'll be able to outperform them in their field and still being able to use other classess abilities.

Compared to a regular lvl 15 fighter a rogue 1/fighter 4/chameleon 10 looses 4 bonus feats, one attack, access a few fighter-only feats and an average of 10 hp.

Assuming he chooses the combat and divine focuses each day he gains:
+6 to an ability (strength or wisdom perhaps?)
3 uses/day of rage, evasion, smite, sneak attack and/ord turn/rebuke undead
The ability to rechoose one of his feats every day
10 more skillpoint
+4 damage to ALL weapons
+4 to Fort and Will saves
+4 to Knowledge (Religion)
Cast up to lvl 6 divine spells as a lvl 20 caster (heal anyone?)
Being able to switch one of his focuses in 10 minutes once a day

Cut most of the bonuses in half and it's still a pretty good PrC, and maybe still even rather overpowered, although not as much.

To begin with you could remove Ability Boon +6, move Ability Boon +4 there and cut the attack, damage and save bonuses from the focuses in half. Put a cap on the caster levels of the arcane and divine focus based on your character level, maybe character level -2. You might even want to lower the amount of skill points gained (even if you're supposed to be knowledgable about a lot of different stuff, that part is already included in the skill bonus gained from the focuses).

Doing that will leave you with a much more balanced character who is still able to pull a lot of tricks out of his sleeves without completely outshining everyone else in the party at the same time. It will probably a lot more fun for you and your fellow players.

-----

Having said all that I think it could be a blast to play this class. If you play it as it is straight out of the book I think it would also make a great choice for a single player campaign.

There is the roleplaying aspect of it all as well though. Personally I would skip the whole organisation part of it, I just don't like the idea of only one particulair group being able to pull this off as it turns down so many wonderful concepts.

If you do it's possible to find all possible reasons for why you can pull these things of. Maybe you're an alchemist who found a way to make special brews and potions that fixates and enhances certain parts of your personality, and as you level you gain more insight of these brews. The 1 hour preparation time could be changed into the time it takes for you to concoct these potions. It all has a "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" feel to it.

Maybe the character is mentally ill and suffers from a form of schizofrenia? Or a curse that has a thousand spirits trapped inside you. Sometimes a different personality with a different set of abilities pops up and stays that way until you change focus, and you're only your "real" self when not using the focuses at all. If the DM allows it you could even change your alignment based on differen personalities. The 1 hour preparation time might be a struggle between the different personalities to gain control. This gets especially interesting when you have the ability to gain two focuses/personalities at once.

Another idea would be to say that you spend 1 hour calling/binding on spirits/totems/souls to guide/inhabit/serve you. It's a bit like the example above, just with the added benefit of being mentally stable and in control of yourself all the time.

Maybe it's a curse/blessing that alters you physical and/or mental state now and then. Or you could give the PrC a religious theme (preferably with a changing or adapting deity) and you spend the 1 hour praying for inspiration, visions and physical/mental blessings. Each focus could be the result of a certain prayer or ritual. This would also explain how you're able get divine magic in world where you can only access it through gods (like FR), especially if it's a nature deity. But I don't know how it is in World's Largest Dungeon.

Or, you could just go with what the book says and meditate. :)

The possibilities are endless if you just drop the organisation part of the PrC. :p

Did I mention I find this PrC cool?
 

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rowport

First Post
Driddle said:
Me? Snarky?! Nevah!

Really, I'm just curious about the story implementation of this particular prestige class within the campaign. The initial post mentioned that the gamer is playing in the World's Largest Dungeon, but the WotC Chameleon text explains that the class involves an organization with certain ulterior motivations. The vast majority of chat in this thread so far has focused on game mechanics -- class combos, skill ranks, etc. -- and not so much on explaining how the heck a person (aka "character") would shift his career in that direction. What's the background leading to that development?
Ah, I gotcha now! Yes, I see your point entirely, remembering the context of the WLD. I am not sure how that PC could interact with the organization. I do know that some DMs have changed the 'rules' for WLD to allow PCs to leave, re-equip, etc. so if the PC has a chance to get out 'to the city' on occasion that might work.

I am glad that yours was a legitimate concern, and not just empty anti-PrC reactionism! :D
 

Slife

First Post
Driddle said:
Me? Snarky?! Nevah!

Really, I'm just curious about the story implementation of this particular prestige class within the campaign. The initial post mentioned that the gamer is playing in the World's Largest Dungeon, but the WotC Chameleon text explains that the class involves an organization with certain ulterior motivations. The vast majority of chat in this thread so far has focused on game mechanics -- class combos, skill ranks, etc. -- and not so much on explaining how the heck a person (aka "character") would shift his career in that direction. What's the background leading to that development?

That's for the player to decide. IM(NSH)O, fluff is made to be rewritten.


@Kroax
Fighter really isn't a fair comparison for class power. Fighters are the very lowest end of the power curve.
 

Kroax

Explorer
Slife said:
@Kroax
Fighter really isn't a fair comparison for class power. Fighters are the very lowest end of the power curve.
True, I hadn't considered that. The main reason I compared it with a fighter was because it was the easiest class to compare it to. :p

I've done some quick calculations to the other main melee warriors (except the monk), and although it's not as obvious as with a fighter, they're also usually better of with this prestige class than not.

Barbarian
[sblock]Barbarian 15
Improved Uncanny dodge
+4 to Trap Sense
DR 3/-
2 rages/day
Greater Rage
Indomitable Will
1 attack
An average of 20 hp

Rogue/Bard 1/Barbarian 4/Chameleon 10
Assuming he chooses the combat and divine focuses each day he gains:
+6 to an ability
3 uses/day of rage, evasion, smite, sneak attack and/ord turn/rebuke undead
One bonus feat that gets to be rechoosen each day
+4 damage to ALL weapons
+6 to Fort
+3 to Will saves
+4 to Knowledge (Religion)
Cast up to lvl 6 divine spells as a lvl 20 caster
Being able to switch one of his focuses in 10 minutes once a day
Heavy Armor (although to use it he looses the +10 speed)
(Lvl 1 rogue/bard stuff including saves and skill point, but that's a given)[/sblock]The barbarian mostly looses a little bit of toughness by going chameleon, but not too much and nothing that can't be helped by applying the +6 ability bonus to constitution.

Loosing Greater Rage might look like a big loss, but if you add the +6 to con there won't a big difference anyway. The +4 to damage rules that part out in favor of chameleon, so it's only the +to hit bonus that the barbarian benefit from. Longer rages and more damage seems like a fair trade to me for a "lousy" +1 to hit.

Fighter (recalculated)
[sblock]Fighter 15
4 bonus feats
1 attack
Access to fighter-only feats
An average of 10 hp.


Rogue/Bard 1/fighter 4/chameleon 10
Assuming he chooses the combat and divine focuses each day he gains:
+6 to an ability score
3 uses/day of rage, evasion, smite, sneak attack and/ord turn/rebuke undead
The ability to rechoose one of his feats every day
10 more skillpoint
+4 damage to ALL weapons
+6 to Fort
+3 to Will saves
+4 to Knowledge (Religion)
Cast up to lvl 6 divine spells as a lvl 20 caster (heal anyone?)
Being able to switch one of his focuses in 10 minutes once a day
(Lvl 1 rogue/bard stuff including saves and skill point, but that's a given)[/sblock]"We can rebuild him. We got the prestige class. We can make him stronger, smarter and able to cast spells."

Seriously, there's pretty much nothing a lvl 15 fighter can do that this chameleon can't do better. And then he still got a ton of tricks up his sleeve. The only thing the chameleon can't do is get the bonus for Improved Weapon Focus and some insane feat combo that requires 8 to 12 feats to pull off. Or three attacks.

Paladin
[sblock]Paladin 15
Special Mount
An average of 10 hp
Smite Evil 3/day (All gainable through Mimic Class Feature that works on non evil)
+10 damage of Smite Evil (only +5 when using Mimic Class Feature)
Less than a third of Lay on Hands
1 attack
Turn undead (although she can do it better as a chameleon)
Most spells (although she can do it better as a chameleon)


Rogue/bard 1/Paladin 4/Chameleon 10
Assuming she chooses the combat and divine focuses each day she gains:
+6 to an ability (wisdom or charisma perhaps?)
3 uses/day of rage, evasion, smite, sneak attack and/ord turn/rebuke undead
One bonus feat that gets to be rechoosen each day
10 more skillpoint
+4 damage to ALL weapons
+6 to Fort
saves
+3 Will saves
+4 to Knowledge (Religion)
Cast up to lvl 6 divine spells as a lvl 20 caster
Being able to switch one of his focuses in 10 minutes once a day
(Lvl 1 rogue/bard stuff including saves and skill point, but that's a given)[/sblock]This chameleon can do pretty much the same thing as the paladin. Although it is slightly worse at the more specialized abilities Smite Evil and Lay on Hands, most of the things a paladin can do at lvl 15 the chameleon can do, only better. The only big hit is the paladin's mount.

The greatest failure of logic here though is, well... Exactly how often do you see a rogue/paladin multiclass?

Ranger
[sblock]Ranger 15
4 favored enemies
Improved Combat Style + Mastery
5 equivalent druid levels for animal companion
+10 to Wild Empathy (+5 compared to Wild Focus)
Woodland Stride (unless using wild focus)
Swift Tracker
Evasion (although she can mimic it 3/day one minute at a time)
Camouflage
Most spells (although she can do it better as a chameleon)
1 attack



Rogue/Bard 1/Ranger 4/Chameleon 10
Assuming she chooses the combat and divine focuses each day she gains:
+6 to an ability score
3 uses/day of rage, evasion, smite, sneak attack and/ord turn/rebuke undead
One bonus feat that gets to be rechoosen each day
+4 damage to ALL weapons
+6 to Fort
saves
+3 Will saves
+4 to Knowledge (Religion)
Cast up to lvl 6 divine spells as a lvl 20 caster
Being able to switch one of his focuses in 10 minutes once a day
Medium and Heavy armor (although it negates Combat Style)
(Lvl 1 rogue/bard stuff including saves and skill point, but that's a given)[/sblock]The rangers suffers from taking the chameleon class in the same way as the paladin. Most of the losses are gained by chameleon abilities, but the big difference is that they're usually only available when using wild focus. Also, the rangers companion will never grow as strong as a "true" ranger's, but with his newfound spellcasting ability he should be more than able to whip up a summon creature spell.

The big hit for rangers comes in the form of combat style, as the chameleon will need to use several feats to become as good and meet the prerequisites to take them. The upside is that his attacks now packs a little more punch than they used to.


In addition to the benefits I noted, it's also good to remember that when that's all done and said, they can still pull of other class roles. The fact of a lvl 20 caster at lvl 15 comes to mind, although fortunately it's "only" up to lvl 6 spells. And in theory they can cast all spells, although the divine ones are easier/cheaper to come by than the arcane.

To me the mundane combat part is a bit over the top in this PrC and the all too high caster level is also a bit odd to me. If you base the character on a caster the choice might not be as obvious as you'll loose your higher level spells. A caster that takes the PrC they will loose some to gain some, and that's how I see a "jack of all trades" PrC should work.

It should be "jack of all trades, master of none" and not "jack of all trades, master of two at a time". Sure, maybe master of one, but not two. Or be good at two trades, but not master them.


The fact that I have been awake for over 24 hours might have clouded my judgement on this, so please feel free to point out where I'm wrong. I like the concept of this PrC and think it would be great fun to use it, but the way I view it now it's just too much over the top.
 

Kaodi

Hero
You should really take your comparisons all the way to 20th.

Also, no melee class could qualify as a chameleon at 5th level without at least two levels of rogue. Hell, no melee class could qualify for chameleon without two levels of rogue until 13th level.

At least as I understand it. The Able Learner feat *does not* allow you to exceed the number of ranks you can place in a cross-class skill, only purchase them 1/1.

So, a human rogue 2/fighter 8/chameleon 10 with Str 20, Dex 14, Con 13, Int 12, Wis 8, Cha 10 using dual combat bonus/divine focus (because it is unclear to me whether you can have two ability boons at any given time, no spellcasting) would have:

Avg 128 HP
Melee Atk +28/+23/+18 w/+12 Damage
Able Learner + 7 Feats + 5 Bonus Fighter Feats + Chameleon Feat
112 Skill Points
Uncanny Dodge
3 Uses/Day of Any Combination of Evasion, Rage or Substandard Smite, Sneak Attack, Turn
Fort +11, Ref +7, Will +5

A human fighter 20 with the same scores would have:

Avg 144 HP
Melee Atk +25/+20/+15/+10 w/+5 Damage
8 Feats + 11 Bonus Fighter Feats
80 Skill Points
Fort +13, Ref +8, Will +5

Ouch.

Change the ability scores around so that the Chameleon can use all of their divine spells, and the disparity gets a little better, until they start casting those spells. But then again, a buffed cleric would own a fighter anyway. Except, if we assume a standing start, the fighter would probably defeat the chameleon w/spells while it was busy casting them. Hard to say what a fighter could do with those extra five feats though.

However, the fighter is one of the few classes a focused chameleon would be superior to. A bard would be owned by a chameleon too, and maybe a rogue. On the other hand, a mystic theurge is a much better mystic theurge than a chameleon, for while they might not have a caster level quite as high, then can have 9th level spells and 7th level spells compared to a small number of 6 and 6.

Of course, why would you allow someone to be a chameleon just to be a better fighter? A 20th level chameleon would probably have a -much- less focused list of equipment than a real fighter. +5 mithral full plate is only useful to a combat/divine, and if you allow yourself to be trapped in one combination your entire career, you're not really playing the class. Same with +5 heavy shield.

Based on stats alone, of course the chameleon is going to be superior to the fighter. In actual gameplay though, the chances are the fighter is going to be better equipped for pure fighting. Or rather, a chameleon would be a better fighter than the fighter in a rollplaying game, but probably not a roleplaying game.
 

Crust

First Post
Anna: "It change colors. Like the cameleon. It uses the jungle."
Dillon: "You saying that Blain and Hawkins were killed by a f---in' lizard? That's a bull---- psyche job. There is 2 to 3 men out there at the most. F---in' lizard."

Awesome movie. :D
 

Driddle

First Post
rowport said:
Ah, I gotcha now! Yes, I see your point entirely, remembering the context of the WLD. I am not sure how that PC could interact with the organization. I do know that some DMs have changed the 'rules' for WLD to allow PCs to leave, re-equip, etc. so if the PC has a chance to get out 'to the city' on occasion that might work.

I am glad that yours was a legitimate concern, and not just empty anti-PrC reactionism! :D

Well, now that I gotcha thinking in that direction, I can admit that I'm not particularly in love with the Chameleon's organizational backstory anyway. If I were to take the prestige route myself, I'd probably drop the emphasis on the disguise skill and rename it The Natural, or maybe The Ultimate Bard. ... Yes, I know the class isn't very music/performance-focused, but the flexibility and dabbling in other classes reminds me something of the original bard from years ago. More of a "jack of all trades" concept.

... Speaking of which, I'd probably name him Jack. :\

Anyway.
I don't necessarily love all the PrC backgrounds as canonized, but I do believe there should be a legitimate roleplaying reason for a PC to develop certain abilities and career paths, tweaked-text or not. These Nothing-But-Mechanics discussions tend to trigger that response from me. It is my curse. :( I'm not "anti PrC" at all. I just appreciate substance.
 
Last edited:

Hussar

Legend
Driddle said:
Me? Snarky?! Nevah!

Really, I'm just curious about the story implementation of this particular prestige class within the campaign. The initial post mentioned that the gamer is playing in the World's Largest Dungeon, but the WotC Chameleon text explains that the class involves an organization with certain ulterior motivations. The vast majority of chat in this thread so far has focused on game mechanics -- class combos, skill ranks, etc. -- and not so much on explaining how the heck a person (aka "character") would shift his career in that direction. What's the background leading to that development?

Actually, since I don't have the book, I only looked at the mechanics of the class. It's entirely up to the player to deal with any background issues.

Story wise, he went to the WLD and died some time ago. In the WLD, there is no planar travel, so I've ruled that all souls are stuck there forever. When a PC dies, the souls of the dead race to the new corpse and try to bring it back to life. There's a nice flash of light and the new PC is on hand, complete with new equipment and the like (morphic resonance and all that) while the old PC vanishes along with its goodies.

It's not that a character decided to take this PrC, it's a new character being brought in to replace a casualty.

Thanks for the heads up on the whole background thing. I'll mention it to him, although, honestly, since his organization is somewhere outside the Dungeon with no way to contact him, it's not all that important.
 


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