Warforged Disguise Kit

Horwath

Explorer
I would say that Envoy is built as modern ehm,,, "entertainment" dolls.

It is designed to interact in social settings, and having T-800 without the "meat suit" is not a perfect company in many situations.

Maybe some kind of taxidermy or similar thing with real human skin is used in the creation.
Maybe permanent prestidigation spell is integrated to simulate body heat, sweat, good or bad breath, simulated breathing, etc...
 
"You can fluff it how you like" is very the attitude of the Wayfinder's Guide, and that includes the basic appearance of any warforged character.
 

Cap'n Kobold

Adventurer
This actually comes up in the creator's podcast. He suggests that it isn't like a Changeling's ability, it is just an actual disguise kit, with the restriction as to time needed to create disguises and suchlike.
 

Perun

Mushroom
How would you handle a halfling trying to pass as human? A gnome trying to pass as half-orc? An elf trying to pass as dwarf? If you'd give penalties/disadvantage to these checks, I'd say they're appropriate here as well.

If, OTOH, you don't think penalties are appropriate when a dragonborn tries to disguise himself as a half-elf... don't apply them here either.

 

Horwath

Explorer
How would you handle a halfling trying to pass as human? A gnome trying to pass as half-orc? An elf trying to pass as dwarf? If you'd give penalties/disadvantage to these checks, I'd say they're appropriate here as well.

If, OTOH, you don't think penalties are appropriate when a dragonborn tries to disguise himself as a half-elf... don't apply them here either.

Well, for some things diguise would simply auto-fail.
Like halfling to an halforc.

I would say that if Warforged was made as a human by deafult that he does not have any penalties for using disguise as a generic human(hell, I would give him advantage on the check for simply being recognised as a human)
 
How would you handle a halfling trying to pass as human?
A human child? sure.

A gnome trying to pass as half-orc?
Not possible.

But a gnome as a halfling or goblin? Sure.

An elf trying to pass as dwarf?
No.

But an elf as a human? Sure, just pull your woolly hat over your ears.

It's not comparing like with like, and a warforged that is built to look human could, with the aid of a disguise kit, impersonate a human without penalties. If the warforged didn't look remotely human (which is entirely up to the player) then it could never impersonate a human, no matter how good the disguise.
 

Hawk Diesel

Explorer
This actually comes up in the creator's podcast. He suggests that it isn't like a Changeling's ability, it is just an actual disguise kit, with the restriction as to time needed to create disguises and suchlike.

I'm not really a fan of this idea. This would essentially mean that any player taking disguise kit as their Envoy Warforged tool is making a walking make-up compact. And hey, if you want to play a Warforged stylist akin to Zohan, then that totally works. However, at least within the Eberron setting, warforged were built to fight a war. Each one was made for a specific purpose towards winning that war, and required significant resources to create. While a warforged may later decide to alter themselves to pursue a passion in make-up and styling after its purpose in war has been served, it seems much more likely that a warforged with such a built-in tool would have been built for infiltration. Thus, such a warforged would by necessity need to be able to convincingly pass themselves off as a human. If that could not be achieved within an acceptable rate of success, then no such warforged would have been created with their envoy tool as a disguise kit. Wars don't need make-up artists. They need effective spies and scouts.

EDIT: I can see the warforged needing the same time to create a disguise as anyone else. Perhaps they are making the fake skin and wig and stuff like a 3D printer. It wouldn't be as quick as a changeling. But I also don't think it would be like a different kind of Warforged using a normal disguise kit. A warforged envoy with a racial disguise kit tool would be more effective and robust, allowing them to pass as human or appropriately sized demi-humans. I don't think regular warforged using a regular disguise kit could pull off a similar disguise.
 
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tglassy

Adventurer
We played last night, and we decided to make it simple. He’s a Terminator, and can generate a skin-like substance around his body to look human. He can change the appearance of his Disguise with a long rest, but can only have one appearance at a time.

I haven’t told the party about what he is, so they all just assumed he was human, until we got into combat and now a few of them are suspicious. While he does have History as a proficiency, he really just knows facts about history. He is very ignorant of the “Why” of human culture. So he acts very curious and takes other people’s lead during social encounters, often to humorous effect. Oddly enough, he is a very effective liar. Able to tell bold faced lies with a completely straight face. Mostly about who he is and what his mission is.

And then he gets in to combat. I rolled for my equipment and since I don’t need food I opted for a heavy crossbow. Wow. Heavy crossbow plus Arcane Weapon spell = dead bandits. We went to attack a bandit camp and (because our Rogue is an idiot and alerted the whole camp) we wound up fighting 12 of them at lvl 1, and I downed one every round, almost. I critted once, and the damage was enough to kill 2 of them, so the DM allowed the bolt to go trough one guy and into the other. I never realized what a damage boost 1d6 is. That, and I rolled surprisingly well.

And during combat, Ferrous, the curious, easygoing Artificer, goes into “combat mode”, systematically picking off targets with emotionless detachment. Since his “magic” is going to be fluffed as megitech, his crossbow had glowing lights along the sides when he “cast” Arcane Weapon on it, and he used his bonus action to change the type of damage every shot, just cause, and the “lights” would change to match the damage type.

All in all he was a very effective character. I’m very happy so far. We rolled stats, so he wound up with 8, 16, 13, 17, 11, 14.

I figure at lvl 12 he can make his own Gauntlets of Ogre Power if I want to do melee by that point, and at lvl 16 he can make an Amulet of Health, and while I know those are higher levels, I figured Int, Dex and Cha were more important for this concept. I’m going Artillarist at lvl 3, so I won’t be able to use Int for Attack like a Battlesmith, so Dex needs to be high. I plan to take Keen Mind at either lvl 4 or 8, to give that +1 to Int and feel Keen Mind’s abilities work with a robot. I’ll also focus on raising his Dex so he can attack better. Going with the Medium Armor set up until he gets a 20 in Dex, and then I’ll go Light. Funny how the Light Armor version is better than the medium for Warforged. Either way his AC is currently a 17 without a shield (13+2 Dex + 2 prof). More Dex doesn’t help with the Medium Armor setup, but if I had a 20 in Dex, with the Light Armor setup it would be 18 (11+5 Dex+2 prof). So if I ever get a 20 in Dex, I’ll switch.

Planning on utilizing the no sleep exhaustion to work on crafting magical items during travel. Mainly wands, once I get to lvl 3. I plan to have a bandolier of wands at higher levels.
 

tglassy

Adventurer
I did a workup of what he’ll be like at lvl 20, and what possibilities there are. I realized that by lvl 20, he can make +2 Shields and Armor, Bracer of Defense, Ring of Protection and Cloak of Protection. Now, this Warforged can’t wear armor, but he can use a Shield.

Because he’s a Warforged, and I plan on getting his Dex up to 20 by the time he is lvl 20, his AC will be 11+5 Dex + 6 Prof = 22. That’s before anything else. +4 from a +2 Shield, +1 Ring of Protection, and +1 Cloak of Protection. That’s an additional +6. That makes his AC 28.

But there’s more. He’s going to be an Artillarist, and at lvl 14, he has half cover while within 10 ft of his Turret. Half Cover is +5 to AC. So that makes his AC 33.

But there’s more! As an Artillarist, he can cast Shield. That makes his AC 38.

Tiamat would almost need to Crit just to hit him.

All this by Attuning 3 out of six magic items, as his capstone let’s him attune to six items at once. And if he has 6, which he will have at least 5, he also gets a bonus to saving throws equal to the number of items he is attuned to. And he’s proficient in Con Saves. And can make an Amulet of Health, and A Belt of Hill Giant Strength to make his Con 19 and Str 21.

So his Con save will be a +16. His Int save will be +17. His Str and Dex saves will be +11. Even Wis and Cha will be +6 and +8, respectively, and that’s not bad.

Essentially, he almost can’t get hit and very rarely fails a Saving Throw unless it’s Wisdom or Charisma. Granted, that’s a pretty big weakness, but even then he basically gets proficiency in them.

Add in fake skin, some blasty spells and homemade wands and he is literally the Terminator.
 

Perun

Mushroom
I would say that if Warforged was made as a human by deafult that he does not have any penalties for using disguise as a generic human(hell, I would give him advantage on the check for simply being recognised as a human)
It's not comparing like with like, and a warforged that is built to look human could, with the aid of a disguise kit, impersonate a human without penalties. If the warforged didn't look remotely human (which is entirely up to the player) then it could never impersonate a human, no matter how good the disguise.
Thus, such a warforged would by necessity need to be able to convincingly pass themselves off as a human. If that could not be achieved within an acceptable rate of success, then no such warforged would have been created with their envoy tool as a disguise kit. Wars don't need make-up artists. They need effective spies and scouts.

EDIT: I can see the warforged needing the same time to create a disguise as anyone else. Perhaps they are making the fake skin and wig and stuff like a 3D printer. It wouldn't be as quick as a changeling. But I also don't think it would be like a different kind of Warforged using a normal disguise kit. A warforged envoy with a racial disguise kit tool would be more effective and robust, allowing them to pass as human or appropriately sized demi-humans. I don't think regular warforged using a regular disguise kit could pull off a similar disguise.
Here I disagree with you. An envoy warforged is a warforged. There's nothing in the racial write-up of envoy that would suggest that an envoy with a built-in disguise kit gets any kind of special benefit when disguised as a member of another race.

They get a built-in disguise kit (however you reflavour it).

And they're already better at it than any other warforged, as they get double their proficiency bonus when using their built-in kit. (I initially thought bard and rogue warforged could match their mastery with chosen tool through Expertise class feature, but they actually can't -- Expertise covers only skill checks and, for rogues only, thieves' tools.)

Now, the rules for disguises are anything but clear. If you go by the PHB, in the section on using ability scores (pp. 177-178), it would seem like creating a disguise is an Intelligence (Disguise Kit) check, and trying to pass yourself off in disguise a Charisma (Deception) check. But XGtE then muddles things by saying that copying a humanoid's appearance is DC 20.

So, apparently in RAW, there is no penalty, disadvantage or increase in DC when trying to pass off as a member of another race. And, as such, a warforged inflitrator would have an easier time to pass off as a human than another human. Which, IMO and with all due respect, is silly.

I'd say when you disguise yourself, the quality of the disguise is determined by a Intelligence (Disguise Kit) roll. DC set by the DM, with as much granularity as the DM is willing to deal with (same race, disguising as a member of another sex, races similar in appearance, etc.). If you pass the check, your disguise is good enough not to raise suspicion on appearance alone. Further success depends on various Charisma skills (mainly Deception, but other could be useful as well -- Perform, for example), maybe occasionally used with Intelligence instead of Charisma.

I would give warfoged some kind of penalty on their attempts to disguise as members of other races. The same I'd apply to dragonborn trying to pass off as human, for example. Or a human trying to pass of as warforged. The envoy's integrated tool benefits would give him an edge in such situations, but he wouldn't be as good as passing off as human as another human. OTOH, a warforged would have an easier time trying to disguise himself as a shield guardian, golem, or other similar creatures.

There's nothing in Masque's description implying she's good at disguising herself as human. It just says she's built for infiltration, to blend in and assassinate. She could do that by posing as another warforged. There were a lot of them built, and they were found in armies of all nations.

But, it would all be a lot easier if we had better rules for disguise. This way, it's according to the DM's interpretation. Which means we're all correct. And likely wrong, at the same time ;)

I apologise if the post came out difficult to follow. I started replying this morning, and then continued returning to it when I could get away from work.
 

Hawk Diesel

Explorer
Hey @Perun. So first note that I am not trying to change or persuade your thinking. All play styles are valid. But I would like to engage your argument.

Here I disagree with you. An envoy warforged is a warforged. There's nothing in the racial write-up of envoy that would suggest that an envoy with a built-in disguise kit gets any kind of special benefit when disguised as a member of another race.

They get a built-in disguise kit (however you reflavour it).
This is true, to an extent (I'll get more into my differences in thinking about it below). However, it is not just "built-in." A built-in disguise kit could be just a compartment in the chest that opens and is capable of holding the items that make up a disguise kit. The word that is specifically used in the description is "integrated." It is not just a compartment that holds a disguise kit. The warforged's body, or some part of it, is the disguise kit. They are not pieces that can be separated from the warforged. A warforged cannot hand someone else their disguise kit to use any more than I can literally give you my hand so that you can use it. I believe this use of "integrated" versus "built-in" is important. The difference is slight, but I think significant.

Now, the rules for disguises are anything but clear. If you go by the PHB, in the section on using ability scores (pp. 177-178), it would seem like creating a disguise is an Intelligence (Disguise Kit) check, and trying to pass yourself off in disguise a Charisma (Deception) check. But XGtE then muddles things by saying that copying a humanoid's appearance is DC 20.

So, apparently in RAW, there is no penalty, disadvantage or increase in DC when trying to pass off as a member of another race. And, as such, a warforged inflitrator would have an easier time to pass off as a human than another human. Which, IMO and with all due respect, is silly.
I would say that you are half-right from my perspective, but missing something. A skirmisher warforged rogue does not have an integrated tool, but they may have expertise in disguise. They would need to use a disguise kit the same as any other creature, and I think in this situation such a warforged should have a hard time passing themselves off as human. It is not a simple matter of putting on some makeup and a wig.

But in addition to RAW, we also have to consider RAI (Rules as Intended) and RAF (Rules as Fun). We can't base our whole game experience on RAW.

Let's start with Rules as Intended. This is slightly difficult, because we don't know what Ketih Baker was specifically intending with these rules, but we can infer this to some extent based on the presentation of the ability and knowledge of the setting. Let's first consider what it means when a Warforged Envoy selects a Disguise Kit as their integrated tool. This is not like selecting a normal class proficiency. This is something that is inherent into the very being of the warforged. It is a literal part of who they are, and integral to how they function and the purpose they were made for. Such a warforged is not using a disguise kit. They are the disguise kit. I don't think it was intended that an integrated disguise kit is the exact same as a normal disguise kit. I see a warforged with an integrated disguise kit actually sprouting hair, growing artificial skin over their head and hands, having eyes that rotate to reveal different kinds (similar to Man-E-Faces from He-Man), and so on.

No let's look at Rules as Fun. Warforged are a very distinct race. As they are presented in Eberron, there is literally nothing that they could easily pass themselves off as other than a different warforged, golems, or shield guardians (and none of these creatures are prevalent enough for the average NPC to need to be familiar enough to tell specific individuals apart). This means that if we treat a warforged envoy with an integrated disguise kit as any normal warforged that has access to a disguise kit, we are severely hampering that player's opportunities to be effective and use something that is so central to the core identity of that particular subrace of warforged. If their integrated disguise kit is not sufficient to allow them to allow them to pass as a different race, then we are risking severely hampering that player's fun. They may feel penalized for making the "wrong"choice with their integrated tool, and grow to dislike their character because they can not use their abilities in a way that can meaningfully impact the game, or in the way they may have imagined for their character.

I'd say when you disguise yourself, the quality of the disguise is determined by a Intelligence (Disguise Kit) roll. DC set by the DM, with as much granularity as the DM is willing to deal with (same race, disguising as a member of another sex, races similar in appearance, etc.). If you pass the check, your disguise is good enough not to raise suspicion on appearance alone. Further success depends on various Charisma skills (mainly Deception, but other could be useful as well -- Perform, for example), maybe occasionally used with Intelligence instead of Charisma.
I agree with this. I don't think having an integrated disguise kit contradicts the normal process of making disguise checks or trying to pass yourself off as someone else.

I would give warfoged some kind of penalty on their attempts to disguise as members of other races. The same I'd apply to dragonborn trying to pass off as human, for example. Or a human trying to pass of as warforged. The envoy's integrated tool benefits would give him an edge in such situations, but he wouldn't be as good as passing off as human as another human. OTOH, a warforged would have an easier time trying to disguise himself as a shield guardian, golem, or other similar creatures.
And THIS is where we disagree most. How often would a warforged in actual gameplay be likely to be in a situation where they need to disguise themselves as a golem or shield guardian? How many human or demi-humans have been around other warforged enough to be able to tell them apart? If you were looking at your computer and another one that was the same model, could you tell them apart? That is how I see most races seeing and treating warforged. Most people can't tell them apart any better than they could identify their specific appliances. Personally, I wouldn't even require a disguise check for a warforged to try and pass as another warforged, unless you were trying to fool another warforged. Where is the player's opportunity to benefit from their racial ability? Is there any situation when a warforged with an integrated theives' tool would get a penalty that another race would not receive, specifically due to their race? You are severely limiting the opportunities that a player has to be effective in using their racial ability, and negating their racial expertise via penalties or heightened DCs when they would attempt to use their ability outside that extremely narrow window.

Additionally, yes, I would agree that a dragonborn trying to pass themselves off as human would be more difficult. But that dragonborn also does not have a special, built-in racial ability to create disguises from their body. And neither do most warforged. But to penalize a warforged with an integrated disguise kit when trying to pass themselves off as human or demi-human, in my view, is effectively nerfing a player who has an interesting and creative idea. It doesn't break the game to allow it, but by nerfing and penalizing the player it can significantly negatively effect their experience trying to play that character.

There's nothing in Masque's description implying she's good at disguising herself as human. It just says she's built for infiltration, to blend in and assassinate. She could do that by posing as another warforged. There were a lot of them built, and they were found in armies of all nations.
If that was all Masque could do, there's no way she would be effective, for the following reasons:

1) High-value targets do not always have warforged around. Even if there are a lot of warforged (I contend that they make up a very tiny portion of the population and thus are not so prevalent), not every one uses them, trusts them, or could afford them. House Deneith or House Thrashk are much more likely to act as guards. Additionally, warforged were built for war, not labor. They would not have been used as servants or maids until after the war ended and they were no longer needed as soldiers. I argue that the number of high-value targets that keep a warforged close enough to give Masque the access she needed to be an effective assassin is quite low.

2) High-value targets dying creates a lot of attention and scrutiny. If Masque could only pass herself off as a warforged, then it would be fairly easy to tell after a couple of successful executions that a warforged was doing the killing. That would create increased scrutiny of warforged, and high-value targets would likely reduce or cease all interactions with warforged.

3) Why would Masque be built with an integrated disguise kit that she could not use to easily pass herself off as non-warforged? Why not choose an integrated thieves' tool to increase her effectiveness at infiltration? Or perhaps a poisoner's kit? If an integrated disguise kit was chosen, it was likely done intentionally to make her more effective. If, in order to experience any consistent degree in success, she were limited to only passing herself off as another construct, then I seriously doubt she would have been created with an integrated disguise kit.

But, it would all be a lot easier if we had better rules for disguise. This way, it's according to the DM's interpretation. Which means we're all correct. And likely wrong, at the same time ;)
Very true. I wholeheartedly disagree with your perspective and interpretation and would be very reluctant to play at your table, but I respect your position as equally valid.
 
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tglassy

Adventurer
I love the discussion. This is what I was looking for but couldn’t find. I hope this thread helps others with similar ideas in the future.

For reference, Warforged are not common in this setting. At all. There is only one nation to the south of the continent that has advanced Magitech, and all I know about them is my brother, the DM, has described them as “Steampunk Vikings”. We’ve agreed my character was created there as an infiltration unit, designed to get in unnoticed and kill the enemy with extreme prejudice. AKA, a Terminator.

As to whether or not he is the only, or first Warforged, or if there are many like him, or whatever, is going to be up to him, and I am not privy to it. But no one outside that country has ever heard of a Warforged. All my character knows is that he became self aware at some point, and grew a conscience. Be that because he was made with the soul of a person, or because he developed one or whatever, again is left to my Brother the DM. I’ll find out later what he decided. This way, my character can go in a journey of discovery.

I do think it would be interesting if, during the course of the main plot, that my character was integral in freeing the Warforged Race from their warmongering creators. But I’m not the DM. So we’ll see.
 

Perun

Mushroom
A skirmisher warforged rogue does not have an integrated tool, but they may have expertise in disguise.
Hi @Hawk Diesel, thanks for the interesting reply. I'm on my phone now, so a proper reply will have to wait until I get to a computer (it's really difficult replying to posts via phone), but I can address this bit.

Actually, a warforged skirmisher can't have expertise in disguise. And it's not just WF, as I learned today. Came as a bit of a surprise. You can't take Expertise in tools, apart from thieves' tools, and that's rogues only. It's skills only.

So, only in special cases (and I can't think of any at the moment, apart from the envoy), can a character get double the proficiency bonus when using a tool. And thats's the envoy's special power, he has at least a +2 bonus to any checks with his integrated tool kit.
 

Hawk Diesel

Explorer
Hi @Hawk Diesel, thanks for the interesting reply. I'm on my phone now, so a proper reply will have to wait until I get to a computer (it's really difficult replying to posts via phone), but I can address this bit.

Actually, a warforged skirmisher can't have expertise in disguise. And it's not just WF, as I learned today. Came as a bit of a surprise. You can't take Expertise in tools, apart from thieves' tools, and that's rogues only. It's skills only.

So, only in special cases (and I can't think of any at the moment, apart from the envoy), can a character get double the proficiency bonus when using a tool. And thats's the envoy's special power, he has at least a +2 bonus to any checks with his integrated tool kit.
Interesting. I had not caught that one before. However, I still don't see it breaking the game to exchange a skill proficiency for a tool proficiency. In fact, more often than not a tool proficiency (outside of Thieves' Tools, as this particular tool is highly valued) is a sub-optimal choice compared to a tool proficiency. This is another instance where I think Rules as Fun could over rule Rules as Written. Additionally, artificers in the most recent UA can get expertise is tool proficiencies.
 

Perun

Mushroom
Hey @Perun. So first note that I am not trying to change or persuade your thinking. All play styles are valid. But I would like to engage your argument.
No problem here. I'm aware that I'm actually on the losing side, as the RAW support the no penalties approach. With that in mind, it's a bit difficult to defend my position, as one has simply to point out the rules (which I actually did) and all of my arguments are irrelevant.

But to cut it short, for anyone not willing to read through the wall of text that follows, what I'm trying to defend is the idea that if you would be giving penalties for using disguise kit to characters trying to pass off as members of other races, especially those with significant physical differences, you should be giving those same penalties to warforged envoys with integrated disguise kits. No more, and no less.

This is true, to an extent (I'll get more into my differences in thinking about it below). However, it is not just "built-in." A built-in disguise kit could be just a compartment in the chest that opens and is capable of holding the items that make up a disguise kit. The word that is specifically used in the description is "integrated." It is not just a compartment that holds a disguise kit. The warforged's body, or some part of it, is the disguise kit. They are not pieces that can be separated from the warforged. A warforged cannot hand someone else their disguise kit to use any more than I can literally give you my hand so that you can use it. I believe this use of "integrated" versus "built-in" is important. The difference is slight, but I think significant.
Well, in my post when I used 'built-in', I meant 'integrated'. I agree with you here, but English is not my first language, so the difference between the two was not readily apparent to me.

I would say that you are half-right from my perspective, but missing something. A skirmisher warforged rogue does not have an integrated tool, but they may have expertise in disguise. They would need to use a disguise kit the same as any other creature, and I think in this situation such a warforged should have a hard time passing themselves off as human. It is not a simple matter of putting on some makeup and a wig.
We've covered the expertise in tools already. It's fairly difficult to get in game, and the only other option I'm aware of, apart from the envoy, it the (still unofficial) version of the artificer from UA, as both you and @tglassy mentioned.

The proficiency bonus starts at +2 and goes to +6. That means that an envoy WF will have an effective bonus ranging from +2 to +6 (depending on level) when compared to a skirmisher WF rogue with a proficiency in disguise kit. That's the advantage the envoy gets over other warforged (or other humanoids of different build), that represents the fact that he was constructed with that one purpose.

But in addition to RAW, we also have to consider RAI (Rules as Intended) and RAF (Rules as Fun). We can't base our whole game experience on RAW.
I think this is where we disagree the most, while being in agreement at the same time, the RAF. I believe that everybody should have fun at the table. This is the no. 1 priority, the Rule 0, if you will. If someone is not having fun, the entire game is pointless.

Someone wants to play a WF infiltrator. There are rules for that. But the character doesn't get to be the best infiltrator ever, just because of flavour or "concept". The character will be good at infiltration, however you read the rules.

But see below, when I mention other tools available to envoys.

Let's start with Rules as Intended. This is slightly difficult, because we don't know what Ketih Baker was specifically intending with these rules, but we can infer this to some extent based on the presentation of the ability and knowledge of the setting.

Let's first consider what it means when a Warforged Envoy selects a Disguise Kit as their integrated tool. This is not like selecting a normal class proficiency. This is something that is inherent into the very being of the warforged. It is a literal part of who they are, and integral to how they function and the purpose they were made for. Such a warforged is not using a disguise kit. They are the disguise kit. I don't think it was intended that an integrated disguise kit is the exact same as a normal disguise kit.
Agreed on that, we don't know what he specifically intended with the rules, but we have some indication.

@Cap'n Kobold posted this earlier in the thread:
This actually comes up in the creator's podcast. He suggests that it isn't like a Changeling's ability, it is just an actual disguise kit, with the restriction as to time needed to create disguises and suchlike.
While I haven't actually listened to the podcast, I think that's a strong indication of KB's intentions. Combined with the relevant parts in the WGtE (emphasys mine):
WGtE said:
Integrated tool. Choose one tool you're proficient with. This tool is integrated into your body, and you double your proficiency bonus for any ability checks you make with it. You must have your hands free to use this integrated tool."
and
WGtE said:
In developing your integrated tool, remember that you must have your hands free to use it. Masque, the infiltrator mentioned above, doesn't shapeshift like a changeling; she has to manually adjust her appearance.
So, while the tool is integrated with the envoy's body (and it could be argued that the envoy is the tool, as you mentioned above), I still see it as a tool. It's not like selecting a normal class proficiency, but it is like getting a normal racial proficiency, along the lines of how dwarves get to choose between smith's tool, brewer's supplies, or mason's tools. It is different in that for dwarves it's, presumably, a cultural thing (although this isn't specified anywhere, so one could argue it's built-in (or integrated, if you will ;) ) in the very essence of dwarfdom). In fact, it's even more similar to dwarven Stonecunning -- they get proficiency and expertise in any Intelligence (History) check related to the origin of stonework. Much more limited, of course, but similar.

Going back to the WGtE quotes, according to the rules:
  • you have to have both hands free in order to use the integrated tool; and
  • Masque is explicitly stated to adjust her appearance manually
Which brings me to this:
I see a warforged with an integrated disguise kit actually sprouting hair, growing artificial skin over their head and hands, having eyes that rotate to reveal different kinds (similar to Man-E-Faces from He-Man), and so on.
Unless I'm not reading the rulebook correctly, this should not be the interpretation intended by the author(s).

I suppose one could argue that the envoy grow hair, switches her eyes to the more human-looking pair, grows synthetic skin, etc., and then adjusts her appearance in the same sense someone would adjust their tie or shirt or something along those lines.

But I believe that the author intended for the disguise to be applied by hand, same as any other disguise by any other character.

No let's look at Rules as Fun. Warforged are a very distinct race. As they are presented in Eberron, there is literally nothing that they could easily pass themselves off as other than a different warforged, golems, or shield guardians (and none of these creatures are prevalent enough for the average NPC to need to be familiar enough to tell specific individuals apart). This means that if we treat a warforged envoy with an integrated disguise kit as any normal warforged that has access to a disguise kit, we are severely hampering that player's opportunities to be effective and use something that is so central to the core identity of that particular subrace of warforged. If their integrated disguise kit is not sufficient to allow them to allow them to pass as a different race, then we are risking severely hampering that player's fun. They may feel penalized for making the "wrong"choice with their integrated tool, and grow to dislike their character because they can not use their abilities in a way that can meaningfully impact the game, or in the way they may have imagined for their character.
See above. Even if you give some kind of penalty to the disguise kit use to pass off as a member of another race, they've still got the equivalent of expertise.

As for making the "wrong" choice, this is where the DM should step in. If a player IMC wanted to play such a character, I'd let him know in advance the situation he would find himself in. But it would be the same with any other character concept. To use a cliche example, if someone wanted to play a drow character in a campaign where drow are mostly the evil, underground race as resented in the MM, I'd let them know of the difficulties their character might encounter, even if the drow are a core, PHB race. Just because a player imagined their wizard to be the most powerful wizard ever, doesn't mean the DM has to accommodate such "concepts".

Additionally, yes, I would agree that a dragonborn trying to pass themselves off as human would be more difficult. But that dragonborn also does not have a special, built-in racial ability to create disguises from their body. And neither do most warforged. But to penalize a warforged with an integrated disguise kit when trying to pass themselves off as human or demi-human, in my view, is effectively nerfing a player who has an interesting and creative idea. It doesn't break the game to allow it, but by nerfing and penalizing the player it can significantly negatively effect their experience trying to play that character.
Ugh. I feel we're running in circles. The envoy's racial abilities give them proficiency in a tool, a skill and an additional language known. Additionally, they get double their proficiency bonus with their chosen tool. Those are their benefits. That's what makes them good at what they do.

I just can't see the problem. If you've got the following set of characters, all with identical starting ability scores (before racial modifiers):
  • a warforged envoy rogue with a charlatan background with an integrated disguise kit, who is focused on infiltration and assassination (specifically of human targets);
  • a dragonborn rogue with a charlatan background, proficient in disguise kit, who is focused on infiltration and assassination (specifically of human targets);
  • a Brelish human rogue with a charlatan background, proficient in disguise kit, who is focused on infiltration and assassination (specifically of human targets).
who would you say would have the best chances of infiltrating a Thranish stronghold and assassinating the noble high-up commanding it?

If you don't apply any kind of penalty to the use of disguise kit, the envoy would get the best chance by far (+2 to +6 bonus, depending on level), while the dragonborn and human would have about the equal chance.

If you apply penalties or disadvantages, then the human has the best chances, envoy comes second, and the dragonborn is fully penalised (but keep in mind that nowhere am I implying that the penalties should be so severe as to make the character unplayable). This is, IMO, the way it should be.

If that was all Masque could do, there's no way she would be effective, for the following reasons:

1) High-value targets do not always have warforged around. Even if there are a lot of warforged (I contend that they make up a very tiny portion of the population and thus are not so prevalent), not every one uses them, trusts them, or could afford them. House Deneith or House Thrashk are much more likely to act as guards. Additionally, warforged were built for war, not labor. They would not have been used as servants or maids until after the war ended and they were no longer needed as soldiers. I argue that the number of high-value targets that keep a warforged close enough to give Masque the access she needed to be an effective assassin is quite low.

2) High-value targets dying creates a lot of attention and scrutiny. If Masque could only pass herself off as a warforged, then it would be fairly easy to tell after a couple of successful executions that a warforged was doing the killing. That would create increased scrutiny of warforged, and high-value targets would likely reduce or cease all interactions with warforged.

3) Why would Masque be built with an integrated disguise kit that she could not use to easily pass herself off as non-warforged? Why not choose an integrated thieves' tool to increase her effectiveness at infiltration? Or perhaps a poisoner's kit? If an integrated disguise kit was chosen, it was likely done intentionally to make her more effective. If, in order to experience any consistent degree in success, she were limited to only passing herself off as another construct, then I seriously doubt she would have been created with an integrated disguise kit.
I'd say there's a reason only six such envoys were ever made. The idea was great, but in the end it became apparent that, while a warforged infiltrator assassin generally worked, it was far easier and more effective to use appropriate flesh-and-blood assassins.

Picking an envoy's integrated tool does not have to be an optimal choice, from a mechanical standpoint. The rules allow the envoy to select any tool. Compass Rose, another example envoy, does not get any meaningful mechanical benefit from being a really good google maps app, even with an integrated printer. Same thing with Lute. True, he gets double the proficiency bonus when using his lute, and you could say he's really, really good at playing it, but in order to get any benefits in game, he has to use Performance.
In both cases, the player used exactly the same resources as when creating Masque. You could select brewer's supplies, cobbler's tools, glassblower's tools, dragonchess set or bagpipes or any other tool. In fact, no other tool, with the possible exception of thieves' tools, will have such an effect on the character as the disguise kit.

It's a proficiency in a tool, and because it's an integral part of you, you get expertise. Some tools are more usable than others, but none provide benefits nearly as good as the ones proposed here. Even thieves' tools are situational -- there have to be locked locks and traps for them to be of any use (we have a rogue in our campaign, and we have had a couple of traps in almost 10 levels, and virtually no locks to open, and yet the player doesn't mind at all, he's had plenty of other opportunities to shine). With disguise kit used as suggested here, you effectively have a slightly weaker alter self at will. Compared to tinker's tools, that's extremely powerful.

If another player went for envoy focusing on smith's tools, sort of a mobile forge for in-field repair and manufacture of weapons and armour, a viable concept for a warforged, one that would presumably be much more common than Masque and her "siblings", it is he (or she) who would feel penalised playing next to Masque. What do Rules as Fun say in that case?

Very true. I wholeheartedly disagree with your perspective and interpretation and would be very reluctant to play at your table, but I respect your position as equally valid.
Same here, although I wouldn't say I'd be reluctant to play at your table; it's different kinds of approach to the (very open) rules. I don't agree with a lot of house rules my current DM introduced to the game, and would not even consider them at my table, but that doesn't prevent me from having a blast when we're playing.

An interesting discussion, in any case, even though it took me ages to compose this reply!

Cheers!
 

Hawk Diesel

Explorer
Same here, although I wouldn't say I'd be reluctant to play at your table; it's different kinds of approach to the (very open) rules. I don't agree with a lot of house rules my current DM introduced to the game, and would not even consider them at my table, but that doesn't prevent me from having a blast when we're playing.
Apologies for that, I was too harsh when I said that. I certainly see where you are coming from and your argument has brought me closer to the middle (though I think I would still end up running it without penalty). I think ultimately it boils down to how we prioritize or value racial abilities versus class/feat abilities. Similar to the nature versus nurture, or innate versus learned skills. I think when it comes to mechanics of the game and conceptualization, something that is more innate will have an edge over something that is learned.

Thanks so much for the discussion, it really made me think about some things. Cheers!
 

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