metamorphs Species in Scarterra | World Anvil


Metamorphs are physiologically similar to the "Doppelgangers" of D&D games, but they are culturally distinct.  
by Eron12 with Hero Forge
by Eron12 with Hero Forge
by Eron 12 with Hero Forge

Civilization and Culture

Gender Ideals

Metamorphs themselves have no gender, but they understand gender dynamics of other mortals and can normally impersonate any gender they wish. Some Metamorphs develop a preference for assuming male or female forms.

Major Language Groups and Dialects

If metamorphs have their own unique language, it was forgotten long ago. Most metamorphs learn Elven or Common as their native language. A great many metamorphs are multi-lingual.

Common Etiquette Rules

Metamorphs, while selfish, are usually pretty loyal to their own kind. They have a (justifiable) fear that the entire world is out to get their race which promotes solidarity. They rarely come to blows with each other. If they find by chance their schemes come into conflict, they will usually talk it out and come to a compromise. Most will usually take reasonable actions to aid their own kind if possible and some can will even take serious risks to aid their own.

Common Customs, Traditions and Rituals

Metamorphs are generally impious though some have impersonated pious people long enough that they “become the mask” and learn genuine respect for one or more of the Nine. When they bother to pray to one of the Nine, it could be for almost anyone depending on their life experiences though there is a slight bias for Korus , Mera, and Greymoria.


Early History: Metamorphs’ precise origins are unknown. Metamorphs are believed to be created by mortals rather than one of the Nine as metamorphs are rarely pious and none of the Nine claim them as their wayward children. It is widely believed they were created by an elven transmuter in the early centuries of the Second Age. Stories differ as to whether they were created whole-cloth or mutated from elves (or some other race).   Details vary. Most metamorphs claim they were created as a slave race by the Second Age elves but very quickly slipped the leash. Second Age historians do not dispute this, but they cannot find a definitive time or place for the metamorphs genesis or their rebellion.   Metamorphs flitted in and out of the many elven kingdoms selling their services to the highest bidder or simply fleecing elves as they saw fit. This generally made them unpopular to say the least. Only the unscrupulous or desperate willingly dealt with metamorphs. More than one kingdom had a policy of killing metamorphs on sight (easier said than done). This lead to metamorphs becoming insular and clannish.     The Great Betrayal   During the Second Unmaking , many metamorphs joined with the Demonic armies and served as spies and infiltrators. The extant of metamorph involvement is unclear. Metamorph infiltration is hard to spot in the best of times and taking an accurate record of events was a low priority compared to survival.   Most oral and written histories establish that most if not all of the metamorphs sided with the demons. This was done to get vengeance on the elves who persecuted them. It is believed that roughly half of the demon collaborators were eventually consumed by the fickle demons themselves. Given that metamorphs mix among themselves fairly often, all (or at least a vast majority of) modern metamorphs are descended from these Infernalists.   Modern metamorphs tell the story differently. They say less than half of their kind rebelled. Most, if not all of the would-be Infernalists did so under duress. As the Second Unmaking drew to a close, most of the race traitors were consumed by desperate demons. The few survivors were then hunted down and slain by the righteous metamorphs who naturally sided with the mortal world, despite the poor treatment they received at the hands of the elves. Thus, no modern metamorphs bear descent from the “race traitors.” A claim somewhat dubious due to the fact that modern metamorphs occasionally show psionic ability. metamorph with psionic powers rarely broadcast these abilities. Metamorphs are the only Second Age race that ever shows latent psionic potential suggesting they were altered somewhat from contact with the minions of The Void.

Interspecies Relations and Assumptions

Metamorphs are fairly well remembered as demon collaborators. Even without this knowledge, people who live in disguise all the time are generally distrusted. There is also the problem that metamorphs are usually selfish and to outsiders, seem indistinguishable. Since all metamorphs look pretty much the same in their natural forms, they are usually all tarred with the same brush. It’s fairly rare for ruling powers to pass laws that encourage free destruction of metamorphs (unless metamorphs slighted them personally in which case all bets are off).
RPG Character Creation Rules   Natural Spies: A Metamorph’s Manipulation score hovers between two dots and six dots rather than one to five.   Mimicry: Dopplegangers can mimic any voice or accent they hear. They cannot use their mimicry to speak a language they do not know. If they are trying to impersonate someone a listener knows very well, an opposed roll is necessary pitting the Tengku’s Manipulation + Subterfuge against the listener’s Perception + Empathy.   Natural Soak: A metamorph wearing its true form has a natural soak pool equal to half his/her Stamina rounded up. Metamorphs can carry this over when impersonating other creatures but it raises the difficulty of the polymorph by +1 if the Metamorph doesn’t want the thicker skin to be obviously visible unless the person being impersonated has scaly skin or something similar (like a kobold).   Lunacy: Metamorphs get headaches when exposed directly to moonlight or when the full moon is in the sky even if indoors. This results in +1 difficulty modifier to polymorph rolls and anything involving a mental attribute or spellcasting.   Metamorphs start out with 16 fewer freebie points than most other player characters.
Polymorphing Ability   Metamorph’s can polymorph at will. Metamorph’s have a special skill called “Polymorphing” which counts as a simple ability. As a full round action, a metamorph can roll Wits + Polymorphing. The example below assumes the metamorph is trying to impersonate a well-known Dwarf general.   Successes   One You are somewhat shorter and has a weird looking beard   Two You look like an unusually tall and skinny Dwarf   Three You’re a Dwarf   Four You could be General Lyros’ older cousin   Five General Lyros, sir!   Impersonating a specific individual is usually difficulty 7 assuming the metamorph was able to observe the target at least an hour. Raise the difficulty if he only has a painting, drawing or a statue (+1 difficulty) general description to go off of (+2 difficulty).   Impersonating a generic individual such as “middle-aged male human merchant” is difficulty 6   Most metamorphs have a stable of fake identities complete with names and distinctive appearances that the metamorph is very well practiced with. A metamorph can maintain a number of these idenities equal to his Intelligence + Polymorph rating.  These practiced identiies are only difficulty 5 to assume.  A metamorph can "forget" a fake identity and pick up a new identity with a week of downtime practicing the new identity.     Metamorphs trying to impersonate non-humanoids roll at +2 difficulty. Difficulty 7 if they are practiced.   Metamorphs can change their size a little bit by altering their density, but the law of conservation of mass applies.  Metamorphs cannot normally shift to something drastically than them such as an adult gnome or human child.   Metamorphs cannot normally shift into something larger than a large orc.   Metamorphs can mimic clothes with little problem, though “growing” very specialized clothes like courtly garb may raise the difficulty by +1 at the storyteller’s discretion.   If a metamorph mimics a natural weapon, they can either do Strength +2 Bashing or Strength +2 lethal damage, max.   Metamorphs do not have an innate ability to act like who they are impersonating, but most metamorphs take a Performance specialty in acting and practice accents.   If a metamorph is trying to blend in and is doing no speaking or very little speaking, roll Appearance + Performance instead of Manipulation + Performance. In this case Appearance represents how natural the metamorph seems in his/her chosen form.   Most metamorphs have no problem impersonating old or young people, male or female, human, demi-human or monster. If your metamorph is not very good at impersonating a certain category of people, you may take a flaw. +3 difficulty to impersonate Dwarfs would be a one point flaw, while +3 difficulty to impersonate females would be a four point flaw.
Related Myths

Cover image: by Eron12 with Hero Forge


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