Monk/Way of the Shifting Form

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monk

Way of the Shifting Form

The Way of the Shifting Form teaches its students to meditate on their spirit and body to understand that their body is fundamentally fluid and mutable. These monks draw on the power of nature to seamlessly shift from one beast form to another in battle, pouncing on an enemy like a tiger, mauling it like a bear and flying away like a falcon.

The physical appearance of these shifts are subtle. These monks undergo subtle changes that make them look somewhat bestial, but not outright monstrous. Others do not physically alter their body at all and opt to manifest a spiritual visage of their animal traits.

These monks are rare and tend to be located in reclusive sanctuaries in nature, far from civilization.

Homebrew: The "Way of the Shifting Form" monk subclass was made by MiniBoes and published on the unearthedarcana subreddit.

Shifting Initiate

When you choose this tradition at 3rd level, you gain proficiency in the Animal Handling and Nature skills.

Additionally, whenever you make an unarmed strike on your turn, you can choose to change its damage type to slashing damage or piercing damage, growing sharp claws or fangs.

Disciple of the Forms

At 3rd level, you learn magical disciplines that harness the power of the wilds. Some disciplines require you to spend ki points when you use them.

You learn two shifting disciplines of your choice, which are detailed in the shifting disciplines sections below. You learn two additional shifting disciplines of your choice at 6th, 11th, and 17th level.

Whenever you learn a new shifting discipline, you can also replace one shifting discipline that you already know with a different discipline of the same level.

Casting Primal Spells. Some shifting disciplines allow you to cast spells. See chapter 10 of the Player's Handbook for the general rules of spellcasting. To cast one of these spells, you use its casting time and other rules, but you don't need to provide material components for it. When you cast a spell with a discipline, it is cast at the spell's lowest level unless otherwise specified.

3rd Level Shifting Disciplines

Starting at 3rd level, you can learn the following disciplines:

Bull's Charge. If you haven't used any of your movement on your turn, you can use an action to spend 1 ki point to move up to your speed in a straight line. If you would enter a creature's space, that creature must make a Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, you gore the creature and stop moving. A creature gored this way takes 3d8 piercing damage, and you can spend a number of ki points up to your proficiency modifier, increasing the damage by 1d8 for each ki point spent.

Crab's Claws. When you hit a creature with an unarmed strike with one of your hands, you can spend 1 ki point to grapple the target if it's no more than one size larger than yourself. When the target attempts to escape, you may choose to use your Wisdom modifier for the Athletics check you make to contest it, instead of your Strength modifier.

Goat's Toughness. You can stubbornly stand your ground like a goat. When you use your Patient Defense feature, you gain temporary hit points equal to your Wisdom modifier (minimum of 1), and you have advantage on Strength saving throws until the start of your next turn.

Hunter's Sight. You can spend 1 ki point to gain the ability to see a blurred red outline of any creature within 20 feet of you that doesn't have all its hit points. Your sight of that creature can't be obscured. If a creature is invisible, that doesn't impose disadvantage on your attack rolls against it. This effect lasts for 1 minute.

Snake's Venom. When you hit a creature with both attacks granted by your Flurry of Blows, you can spend 1 ki point to force it to make a Constitution saving throw. On a failed save, it is poisoned until the end of its next turn and takes 1d10 poison damage.

Speech of Beasts. You learn how to influence beasts and communicate with them. You can spend 1 ki point to cast animal friendship or speak with animals.

Tail Weapon. As an action, you can grow or retract a spiked or weighted tail. You are proficient with the tail, which is a natural weapon, counts as a monk weapon for you, and has a reach of 10 feet. When you grow your tail, you choose whether it deals bludgeoning, piercing or slashing damage. On a hit, it deals 1d8 + your Dexterity or Strength modifier (your choice) damage of the chosen type. If you hit a creature with your tail, you can spend 1 ki point to force it to make a Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.

Tiger's Pounce. If you move at least 20 feet towards a creature and hit it with an unarmed strike on the same turn, you can spend 1 ki point to force it to make a Strength saving throw or be knocked prone. The next time you hit a prone target with an unarmed strike before the end of your turn, it takes an additional 1d10 piercing damage.

6th Level Shifting Disciplines

Starting at 6th level, you can learn the following disciplines:

Aquatic Adaptation. As an action, you can spend 1 ki point to adapt your body to an aquatic environment, sprouting gills and growing webbing between your fingers. You can breathe underwater and gain a swimming speed equal to your walking speed. The adaptation lasts for a number of hours equal to your Wisdom modifier (minimum of 1 hour), or you can end it early (no action required).

Cat's Claws. You gain a climbing speed equal to half your speed. Additionally, whenever you use your Flurry of Blows feature, your movement increases by 10 feet until the end of your turn.

Chameleon Skin. You can attempt to hide even when you are only lightly obscured by foliage, heavy rain, falling snow, mist, and other natural phenomena. You have advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks made to hide in natural terrain such as rocks, plants or sand.

Frog's Leap. Your long jump distance is doubled, and you can make a high jump up to 10 feet, with or without a running start.

Owl's Sight. You have advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight. You can see in dim light within 120 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.

Shift Size. You can spend 2 ki points to cast enlarge/reduce on yourself.

Wasp's Sting. Whenever you reduce a creature to 0 hit points and knock it out rather than killing it outright, you may choose to cause that creature to be poisoned for 1 hour. The creature is stabilized, and it remains poisoned even after regaining hit points.

Wolf's Smell. You have advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing or smell, as well as Wisdom (Survival) checks that rely on smell.

11th Level Shifting Disciplines

Starting at 11th level, you can learn the following disciplines:

Bat's Echolocation. As an action, you can spend 2 ki points to gain blindsight out to 60 feet for 1 hour, as well as advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing. You can't use this blindsight while deafened.

Bear's Endurance. You can grow a layer of thick and resilient fur. You can spend 4 ki points to cast stoneskin on yourself.

Cervine Agility. You move with the grace of a deer, avoiding any obstacle on your path. You can spend 4 ki points to cast freedom of movement on yourself.

Falcon's Flight. When you use your Step of the Wind feature, you gain a flying speed equal to your speed until the end of your turn.

Lion's Roar. You can unleash a frightening lion's roar, spending 3 ki points to cast the fear spell.

Porcupine's Quills. When you are hit by a melee attack, you can spend 2 ki points as a reaction to rebuke the attacker by growing spikes from your body. The creature must make a Dexterity saving throw, taking 4d6 piercing damage on a failed save, or half as much on a success. Until the start of your next turn, any creature that touches you or hits you with a melee attack takes piercing damage equal to your Wisdom modifier.

Scorpion's Sting. Once per turn when you hit a creature with an unarmed strike, you can use your bonus action to spend 2 ki points to force the creature to make a Constitution saving throw. On a failed save, it takes 4d10 poison damage and is poisoned for 1 minute. On a successful save, it takes half as much damage and isn't poisoned. A poisoned creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.

Snake's Constriction. As an action, you can spend 3 ki points to change your lower body into the tail of a constrictor snake for 1 minute. You are proficient with the tail, which is a natural weapon, counts as a monk weapon for you, and has a reach of 10 feet. On a hit, it deals damage equal to twice your martial arts die + your Strength or Dexterity modifier (your choice). You can only make one attack with your tail per turn, and when you hit a Large or smaller creature with it, that creature is grappled. Until this grapple ends, the creature is restrained and you can't grapple another target in this way. When the target attempts to escape, you can choose to use your Wisdom modifier for the Athletics check you make to contest it, instead of your Strength modifier.

Sweeping Tail. As an action, you can spend 3 ki points to grow a long tail and make a sweeping attack in 15 foot wide, 10 foot long line originating from you. Each creature in the area must make a Strength saving throw. On a failed save, a creature takes 6d8 bludgeoning damage and is knocked prone. A creature that succeeds its save takes half as much damage and isn't knocked prone.

17th Level Shifting Disciplines

Starting at 17th level, you can learn the following disciplines:

Bear's Ferocity. Whenever you score a critical hit with an unarmed strike, you can spend 2 ki points to cause that attack to deal its maximum damage instead of rolling, knock the target prone, and immediately make an additional attack against the same target.

Eagle's Wings. You gain the ability to sprout a pair of wings from your back, gaining a flying speed equal to your current speed. You can create these wings as a bonus action on your turn. They last until you dismiss them as a bonus action on your turn. You can't manifest your wings while wearing armor unless the armor is made to accommodate them, and clothing not made to accommodate your wings might be destroyed when you manifest them.
If you are flying and attempt to grapple a creature directly below you immediately after diving at least 20 feet towards it, you can add your Wisdom modifier to the Strength (Athletics) check you make to grapple. If you successfully grapple the target, it takes 4d6 slashing damage.

Many Forms. You learn to take the form of any beast you've seen. You can spend 4 ki points to cast the polymorph spell on yourself.

Mammoth's Charge. If you haven't used any of your movement on your turn, you can use your action to spend 5 ki to dash and use all of your movement to travel in a straight line. While moving this way, you can move through the spaces of other creatures and whenever you come within 5 feet of a creature, that creature must make a Strength or Dexterity saving throw (their choice). A Strength saving throw to resist this effect is made at disadvantage. On a failed saving throw, a creature takes 5d8 bludgeoning damage and 5d8 piercing damage. If a creature succeeds on a Dexterity saving throw, it takes half as much damage instead.
If a creature succeeds on a Strength saving throw, it takes half as much damage and causes you to stop moving, coming to a standstill 5 feet in front of the creature.

Spider's Venom. When you hit a creature with an unarmed strike, you can spend 4 ki points to force it to make a Constitution saving throw. On a successful save, the creature is immune to this effect for 24 hours. On a failed save, it is poisoned for 1 hour. At the end of the hour, the creature must make another Constitution saving throw, taking 6d10 poison damage on a failed save, or half as much on a success.

Thousand Stings. You cause insects made of your own essence to rise from your skin and attack your enemies. You can spend 5 ki points to cast insect plague.