Shapers use magic to deliberately mutate and change creatures to better suit their purposes.
Hit Points: 1d4
Shapers have an Essence pool equal to twice their level. Creating monsters requires Essence, which is not regained as long as the monster is alive.
Basic monster is a 1HD (d6) monster with a 1d4 melee attack. 10 in all physical stats, 5 in mental stats. Loyal to Shapers in general and creator in particular. Won’t disobey normal orders even if they are dangerous, but can be charmed or tricked. Size spread is not quite to the extreme of dog sizes. Smaller than the biggest dogs, bigger than the smallest. Can’t speak but Shaper has shallow empathetic connection with his creations that works over short distances.
Extra big or extra small monsters require more essence.
Ranged attack is another essence.
Can boost HD with another Essence. So, three extra Essence would make the monster have 4HD.
Boosting damage works by die type. Each point of Essence spent on the creature bumps the die type up one. d4 > d6 > d8 > d10 > d12. D12 is the max. A point of essence can also add a die of the same type, but then bumping up the die takes as many points of essence as dice. So 1d6>2d6 takes one point of essence, but after that 2d6>2d8 takes two points of essence.
Essence can also be used to grant abilities and mutations. Random mutation can be done to any creature either before or after it is created. Roll on Mystic Mutations table for what is affected and DM will roll to see if it is a good or bad mutation (weighted toward bad) and determine the details. Trying for a specific mutation that is partially learned will have better chances of coming out beneficial. If the roll on the Mystic Mutations table grants a spot the ability might show up, Shaper rolls for that ability (d8 aiming low)
Abilities and mutations can be learned from other creatures. Flight, toughness, acid breath weapon, etc. Involves dissolving the monster in question in essence and absorbing it. Works best on living creature (which kills it) but can be done on freshly dead monsters. Long dead monsters it is technically possible but not going to get much.
Adding abilities to a monster is d8 roll-low. Each specific power is rated in 1-in-8 terms. So, 1-in-8, 2-in-8, etc. When crafting or mutating a creature, roll a d8 to see if the ability is successfully applied. However, if a 8 is rolled the creature in question gets a mystic mutation instead of the ability. If the roll is below 8, but above the Shaper’s rating in the ability, the creature gets the mutation in a random place (use mutation table). If the random place doesn’t work for the ability in question the ability is not applied. The mutation skill also goes up by 1 (from 2-in-8 to 3-in-8, for example). If the roll is under the Shaper’s rating of the ability everything goes fine and as planned.
Learning abilities is a d8 roll as well. If the result is 8 or higher, the Shaper accidentally takes some of the monster ability into his own being and gains a Mystic Mutation related to the ability he attempted to learn. No limit to number of mutations, but mutations should become more and more extreme as they build up. Rolling a 1 on the die means learning the ability was a failure. Otherwise the goal is to roll over the current rating of that ability. So, brand new? Anything above a one. 7-in-8? Have to roll an 8 and will get a mutation. The price for completely mastering a particular ability. Ancient creatures grant 1 point to the ability, dead creatures 2, living creatures 4. Which means that two live creatures could teach a Shaper everything he needs to know about a specific ability.
Non-creature organic items can be created. Don’t need the 1 essence to start and the ability is going to be much more focused. The downside is that a crafted frame for the single-purpose creation would need to be made. Or, alternatively, grafting abilities onto already living creatures also skips the creation step.
Each level (including 1st) a Shaper can develop a new ability (at 1-in-8) or add a point to an already known ability. Also, can start with creations that have that ability if they wish.
With the right materials, Shapers can mutate/create animals with specific abilities much more reliably as rituals. Takes a week, some laboratory equipment, and 100 silver worth of materials, per point of Essence. No chance of failure or unexpected mutation. Still should roll the ability check to see if the ability rating increases.
Shapers can build and maintain a laboratory.