D&D 5e: Changeling Race Guide

D&D 5e: Changeling Race Guide

Intro

They say when you meet somebody that looks just like you, you die.” ― P. Wish, The Doppelgänger

The Doppelganger. The Face-stealer. The Changeling. All have taken a variety of forms over the years in Dungeons and Dragons (and have countless iterations across RPGs in general). In 5e, The Changeling is brought in as an integral part of the world of Eberron. Changelings are used to handling the suspicions of an untrusting world. They make for incredible artists, and even more formidable spies. 

Just be careful that when you look in the mirror, you know who is looking back…

Guide Key

Epic

Good

Meh

Bad

Changeling Traits

ASI: +2 CHA and +1 to any other Ability Score. You’ve basically been given the go-ahead to play any class with any subclass. Hot, hot, hot. Unless you’re using a class that really wants to focus on CHA, then you won’t be operating at the top of the line, but you are so versatile it doesn’t really matter.

-Age: Roughly the same as a human, despite maturing slightly faster.

-Alignment: They tend toward both “pragmatic neutrality” and evil. Of course, it will always be up to the player to determine how they are going to approach their character.

Size: Medium. Sadly, you’ll have to stay medium, as the specifics of “Shapechanger” don’t let you alter your size category.

Speed: 30 feet. 

Shapechanger: As an action, look or sound however you like! You can’t change yourself into a creature you’ve never seen before, so getting out into the wide world is a great reason to build your collection of possible identities. Your clothing is not changed when you use this feature, and if you die you’ll revert to your normal form. This is a pretty awesome feature to have in any campaign (just think of the psychological havoc you can wreak…), but your clothing not changing means you’ll need access to the right digs when the time comes. A disguise kit will be a high priority for you to pick up. While not perfectly flexible, you’ll never find a shortage of uses of putting on a new face.

Changeling Instincts: Two proficiencies from Deception, Intimidation, Insight, and Persuasion. Not bad. You can really skill-monkey it up with a Changeling.

Languages: Common and two others of your choice. The flexibility is pretty nice, especially if you have an idea of what type of campaign you’ll be playing. 

Changeling Subraces

– As of now when I am writing this (April 2022), the Changeling has no subraces. Frankly, it makes sense. The Changeling already gives you so much flexibility, it basically has a Build-your-Own subrace feature built in.

Best Classes and Archetypes for Changeling

I’ll save you some time and share with you some of my favorite pairings and break down why I think there are some paths you just shouldn’t go down. At the end of the day, the reasoning comes down to three things:

1) Does the race satisfy the expectations of the class?

2) Does the race synergize with subclass abilities?

3) How easy would it be to get started with this race-class/subclass combo?

Keep in mind, the Changeling is built to fit into any role you need. So, don’t be surprised there isn’t really a bad fit for them. Sure, there are a few subclasses that will need some more tweaking before they really get going, but the Changeling is a roaring engine of possibility when it comes to build versatility. I only downgrade things to “meh” or “bad” if they are too situational or need a rework respectively.

You can try to turn D&D 5e into as much of an exact science as you want, but at the end of the day, you need to figure out what works best for your playstyle, your campaign, and your playgroup. Alrighty, here we go!

Artificer

Dump the +1 into INT and go! Further ASI’s should go to INT or CON.

Alchemist: Is your Changeling a scientist? Go for it.

Armorer: Is your Changeling into mech combat? Go for it.

Artillerist: Is your Changeling into playing the Team Fortress 2 Engineer? Go for it.

Battle Smith: Is your Changeling into literally making friends? Go for it.

Barbarian

Dump the +1 into STR and go! Further ASI’s should go to STR or CON.

Ancestral Guardian: Is your Changeling fueling their rage by the might of their ancestors? Go for it.

Battlerager: Is your Changeling… a Dwarf? Go for it?

Beast: Is your Changeling into growing new limbs for glorious combat? Go for it.

Berserker: Is your Changeling the pumpkin spice latte of Barbarians? Go for it.

Depths: Is your Changeling mad for water? Go for it.

Juggernaut: Is your Changeling a threat to any inanimate object within reach? Go for it.

Storm Herald: Is your Changeling into the combat applications of climate change? Go for it.

Totem Warrior – Bear: Is your Changeling able to take a beating and…’bearly’ feel it? Go for it. (I’m not sorry for the pun)

Totem Warrior – Eagle: Is your Changeling highly mobile and capable of taking flight through their rage? Go for it.

Totem Warrior – Elk: Is your Changeling capable of moving faster (and hitting harder) than a speeding bullet? Go for it.

Totem Warrior – Tiger: Is your Changeling really into jumping? Go for it.

Totem Warrior – Wolf: Is your Changeling a pack hunter? Go for it.

Wild Magic: Is your Changeling secretly a fairy? Go for it.

Zealot: Is your Changeling damn near unkillable? Go for it.

Bard

Dump the +1 into DEX and go!  Further ASI’s should go to DEX or CHA.

Creation: Is your Changeling the most creative person in the room? Go for it.

Eloquence: Is your Changeling the best Bard known to mankind? Go for it.

Glamour: Is your Changeling also a flashy celebrity? Go for it.

Lore: Is your Changeling a know-it-all? Go for it.

Maestro: Is your Changeling writing down their set-list: 1) A power ballad 2) Some metal thrash 3) Some smooth jazz? Go for it.

Swords: Is your Changeling also a fighter? Go for it.

Valor: Is your Changeling underpowered and in desperate need of a re-work? Don’t go for it.

Whispers: Is your Changeling capable of unleashing horrors into the minds of their enemies with just their words? Go for it.

Blood Hunter

Dump the +1 into WIS and go!  Further ASI’s should go to WIS, STR, or DEX.

Ghostslayer: Is your Changeling down to destroy all undead? Go for it.

Lycan: Is your Changeling also a were-creature? Go for it.

Mutant: Is your Changeling really into body modification? Go for it.

Profane Soul: Is your Changeling dedicated to someone else’s cause, but like… kinda into it? Go for it.


Cleric

Dump the +1 into WIS and go!  Further ASI’s should go to WIS or CON.

Arcana: Is your Changeling a devotee of Knowledge for power’s sake? Go for it.

Blood: Is your Changeling weird around Red-Cross donation sites? Go for it.

Death: Is your Changeling into necromancy? Go for it.

Forge: Is your Changeling running their own etsy, selling handmade weaponry and armor? Go for it.

Grave: Is your Changeling super into Edgar Allan Poe? Go for it.

Knowledge: Is your Changeling a devotee of Knowledge for knowledge’s sake? Go for it.

Life: Is your Changeling single-handedly responsible for your party’s success, but blamed only for its failures? Go for it.

Light: Is your Changeling an eye doctor’s worst enemy? Go for it.

Nature: Is your Changeling a druid with extra steps? Go for it.

Order: Is your Changeling a bit of a rules lawyer? Go for it.

Peace: Is your Changeling mechanically broken (in a good way), but super chill about it? Go for it.

Tempest: Is your Changeling THOR ODINSON? Go for it.

Trickery: Is your Changeling even aware that it’s a Changeling? Go for it.

Twilight: Is your Changeling edgy, but also like a really good team player? Go for it.

War: Is your Changeling’s alignment any form of Chaotic? Go for it.

Druid

Dump the +1 into WIS and go! Further ASI’s should go to WIS or CON.

Dreams: Is your Changeling into John Lennon? Go for it.

Land: Is your Changeling really into landscape painting? Go for it.

Moon: Is your Changeling annoyed that it can’t also be animals? Go for it.

Shepherd: Is your Changeling literally capable of summoning bulls in a china shop? Go for it.

Spores: Is your Changeling constantly tripping on psilocybin? Go for it.

Stars: Is your Changeling really into astrology, but like… can prove it works? Go for it.

Wildfire: Is your Changeling on a list for committing arson? Go for it.

Fighter

Dump the +1 into STR or DEX and go! Further ASI’s should go to STR, DEX or CON. For the Arcane Archer, Eldritch Knight and Psi Warrior, you’ll want to either have a decent INT score to start, or put a boost into it down the line.

Arcane Archer: Is your Changeling Robin Hood and all his merry men? Go for it.

Battle Master: Is your Changeling a well-rounded and fearsome warrior? Go for it.

Cavalier: Is your Changeling interested in going to the pony show? Go for it.

Champion: Is your Changeling pretty basic, but hits hard? Go for it.

Echo Knight: Is your Changeling really into Elden Ring’s Spirit Ashes? Go for it. (The theme of this is what makes it truly epic. Summoning another version of you is just sick. Do they look like the Changeling version of you? So many options here to discuss with your DM).

Eldritch Knight: Is your Changeling also a scholar? Go for it.

Gunslinger: Is your Changeling into Clint Eastwood’s early stuff? Go for it.

Psi Warrior: Is your Changeling able to hit their enemies with their sword and brain? Go for it.

Purple Dragon Knight: Is your Changeling a genuinely helpful friend? Go for it.

Renegade: Is your Changeling into Clint Eastwood’s late stuff? Go for it.

Rune Knight: Is your Changeling a bit starved for choice, but generally capable? Go for it.

Samurai: Is your Changeling a force of both great violence and social charm? Go for it.

Monk

Dump the +1 into WIS and go! Further ASI’s should go to DEX.

Ascendant Dragon: Is your Changeling discovering its inner dragon? Go for it.

Astral Self: Is your Changeling having an internal identity crisis? Go for it. (Like the Echo Knight, the theme is what makes this truly epic. What form does your inner-self take? Do you turn on the astral form and people see the Changeling version of you?)

Cobalt Soul: Is your Changeling really into beating the truth out of your opponents? Go for it.

Drunken Master: Is your Changeling really into Jackie Chan? Go for it.

Four Elements: Is your Changeling down to paint with all the colors of the wind? Go for it.

Kensei: Is your Changeling waiting to unveil their secret weapon? Go for it.

Long Death: Is your Changeling unnervingly interested in death (and really good at unaliving people)? Go for it.

Mercy: Is your Changeling able to knock the wind back into someone? Go for it.

Open Hand: Is your Changeling the epitome of Monk? Go for it.

Shadow: Is your Changeling on the same wavelength as Batman (i.e. you are the night)? Go for it.

Sun Soul: Is your Changeling channeling an episode of Dragonball Z? Go for it.


Paladin

Dump the +1 into STR or DEX and go! Further ASI’s should go to CHA or CON.

Ancients: Is your Changeling a very committed vegan? Go for it.

Conquest: Is your Changeling a very committed warlord? Go for it.

Crown: Is your Changeling a very committed citizen? Go for it.

Devotion: Is your Changeling a very committed goodie-two-shoes? Go for it.

Glory: Is your Changeling a very committed ‘Hero’? Go for it.

Oathbreaker: Is your Changeling not very committed? Go for it.

Open Sea: Is your Changeling a very committed sea-man? Go for it.

Redemption: Is your Changeling a very committed advocate for social justice? Go for it.

Vengeance: Is your Changeling a very committed dark knight (straight from the PHB)? Go for it.

Watchers: Is your Changeling a very committed border-of-reality patrol guard? Go for it.

Ranger

Dump the +1 into WIS and go! Further ASI’s should go to STR or DEX.

Beast Master: Is your Changeling into taming beasts and unleashing them in combat? Try the Drakewarden or really lean into the changes made in Tasha’s Cauldron

Drakewarden: Is your Changeling into “How to Train Your Dragon”? Go for it.

Fey Wanderer: Is your Changeling disorientingly charming? Go for it.

Gloom Stalker: Is your Changeling terrifying in dark places? Go for it.

Horizon Walker: Is your Changeling basically Nightcraler (from X-men)? Go for it.

Hunter: Is your Changeling a basic ranger with a decent toolset? Go for it.

Monster Slayer: Is your Changeling really into the Monster Hunter series and might have done some illegal poaching back in the ‘60s? Go for it.

Swarmkeeper: Is your Changeling like that one kid who exclusively used bug-type cards from Yu-Gi-Oh? Go for it.

Rogue

Dump the +1 into DEX and go! Further ASI’s should go to DEX. The Arcane Trickster and Inquisitive deserve a bit better INT than you will be bringing to the table. So, an ASI for INT would be good in that case.

Arcane Trickster: Is your Changeling down for some brutal misdirection? Go for it.

Assassin: Is your Changeling an international threat? Go for it.

Inquisitive: Is your Changeling Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson? Go for it.

Mastermind: Is your Changeling already 10-steps ahead of the Big Bad Evil Guy? Go for it.

Phantom: Is your Changeling oddly into trinkets? Go for it.

Scout: Is your Changeling capable of serious mobility and decent damage? Go for it.

Soulknife: Is your Changeling’s knife its brain? Go for it.

Swashbuckler: Is your Changeling the father of a different kid at every port city? Go for it.

Thief: Is your Changeling wanted in every city under a different alias? Go for it.

Sorcerer

Dump the +1 into CON and go! Further ASI’s should go to CHA or CON.

Aberrant Mind: Is your Changeling born to get into people’s heads? Go for it.

Clockwork Soul: Is your Changeling down to level the playing field? Go for it.

Divine Soul: Is your Changeling a cleric that people like? Go for it.

Draconic Bloodline: Is your Changeling also part dragon? Go for it.

Rune Child: Is your Changeling a walking battery? Go for it.

Shadow Sorcery: Is your Changeling ostracized from ‘decent’ society? Go for it.

Storm Sorcery: Is your Changeling weirdly cool with putting a fork in an electric outlet? Go for it.

Wild Magic: Is your Changeling pushing the boundaries of Baskin Robbins’ 31 flavors? Go for it.

Warlock

Dump the +1 into CON and go! Further ASI’s should go to CHA or CON.

Archfey: Is your Changeling friends with a Fairy? Go for it.

Celestial: Is your Changeling friends with an Angel? Go for it.

Fathomless: Is your Changeling friends with ‘The Deep’? Go for it.

Fiend: Is your Changeling friends with a Devil? Go for it.

Genie: Is your Changeling friends with Robin Williams? Go for it.

Great Old One: Is your Changeling friends with the-inky-void-that-will-one-day-devour-us-all? Go for it.

Hexblade: Is your Changeling friends with a sentient sword? Go for it.

Undying: Is your Changeling friends with a Lich? Go for it.

Wizard

Dump the +1 into INT and go! Further ASI’s should go to INT.

Abjuration: Is your Changeling always down to use protection? Go for it.

Artificer: Is your Changeling wasting their time with this subclass? Just be an Artificer.

Bladesinging: Is your Changeling… an Elf? Go for it.

Chronurgist: Is your Changeling beyond powerful, controlling the flow of time? Go for it.

Conjuration: Is your Changeling a powerful summoner? Go for it.

Divination: Is your Changeling the strongest wizard, seeing all before it even happens? Go for it.

Enchantment: Is your Changeling not up-to-date about the importance of consent? Go for it.

Evocation: Is your Changeling just waiting to blow things up? Go for it.

Graviturgist: Is your Changeling very aware of the ‘weight’ of the situation? Go for it.

Illusion: Is your Changeling actually just a shrub? Go for it.

Necromancy: Is your Changeling looking for friends in all the wrong places? Go for it.

Order of Scribes: Is your Changeling willing to lose their mind to save themselves? Go for it.

Transmutation: Is your Changeling interested in turning objects into Changelings? Go for it.

War Magic: Is your Changeling reciting a spell written on the inside of its shield? Go for it.

Racial Feats/Best Feats

The Changeling doesn’t have any Racial Feats (yet), but there are loads of amazing feats that they can benefit from. 

– First, before I talk about any feats, I have to recommend just taking the base Ability Score Improvement. You’ll really be able to round out your character and overcome any of the small inconveniences of a +1 Ability Score Improvement. With a good ASI, at level 4, any class can go from good to epic.

Actor: Depending on how pedantic your DM chooses to be, your Shapechanger feature doesn’t give you advantage on your disguise/deception checks. So, picking this up is a surefire way of always getting advantage when you’re in an altered form. The boost to CHA might be negligible, or it may be exactly what you need to push yourself up to the next modifier bonus.

Lucky: Honestly, I think this is probably the best feat in the game. A free reroll for yourself (or forcing one on an opponent) is massive. A Changeling needs all the help it can get in a world that will likely be antagonistic toward them.

Mobile: With no mobility options beyond what their class provides, this is an excellent way to round out your character. A boost to speed, avoiding opportunity attacks, and ignoring difficult terrain will make you a nightmare on the battlefield

Sage Gamers

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