Mongrelman, Infiltrator

Dragon MagazineCampaign Setting Logo

Frequency:Very rare (possibly extinct)
Organization:Small groups
Activity Cycle:Any
Intelligence:Very (11-12)
Treasure:See below
Alignment:Lawful neutral
No. Appearing:1-4
Armor Class:7
Hit Dice:4
No. of Attacks:1
Damage/Attack:By weapon type
Special Attacks:Shapechange
Special Defenses:Nil
Magic Resistance:Nil
Morale:Elite (14)
XP Value:270

Much as dopplegangers, infiltrators were (and possibly still are) created by wizards as servitors. They have the ability to shapechange into various humanoid forms, but their original form is that of an emaciated, hairless being with a somewhat oversized head. Large black eyes cover nearly half of the face, which has no discernible nose and only a thin slit of a mouth. Skin color tends to be a dusty white.

Combat: Infiltrators can adopt a variety of humanoid forms (see “Ecology” for details). While in their natural forms they can attack only with a weapon, but infiltrators spend time practicing armed combat and are usually proficient in a wide variety of combat arms. In addition, some of the shapes they can adopt provide them with natural combat abilities, such as a lizard man's claw/claw/bite routine. Infiltrators have all of the natural combat abilities of whatever form they adopt, with the exception of skills which must be learned (such as proficiency with a flind's flindbar or a lizard king's great trident). When wearing a different humanoid's form, they gain that creature's armor class and hit dice (add 4 hp per additional hit die of the assumed form - these “extra” hit points are the first lost in combat, and disappear when the infiltrator reverts to its normal form). An infiltrator assuming the form of a humanoid with fewer hit dice retains its own hit points.

Habitat/Society: Created by wizards, infiltrators live to serve them in the role of spy, messenger, and occasionally interpreter. All infiltrators have an innate ability to comprehend languages that they hear, and can speak those languages as well. Infiltrators are fiercely loyal to the wizards that create them, treating them with a devotion often reserved only for the divine. An infiltrator whose wizard is slain often seeks out a new wizard to serve, for it is service to a master of the magical arts that an infiltrator feels secure. Infiltrators generally have no treasure of their own, as any that they acquire is turned over immediately to their masters. However, because of the infiltrators' devotion, wizards often entrust them with the use of magical weapons or helpful items. Infiltrators can use any magical items usable by warriors.

Ecology: Infiltrators have an adaptable set of vocal cords, allowing them to speak just about any language they hear. They also have the ability to absorb genetic material through the flesh they consume. This process, called “feasting”, allows the infiltrator to break down the organic material in a separate stomach-like organ and use the genetic material gained therein to restructure their own bodies into a perfect physical simulacrum of the type of humanoid whose flesh they consumed. Gender has no bearing in the flesh being “feasted” upon; a male infiltrator “feasting” upon the flesh of a female hobgoblin could thereafter shapechange into a male hobgoblin. He could not, however, become a female hobgoblin, as gender remains a constant no matter what form is assumed. Additionally, the assumed form will not be an exact replica of the being “feasted” upon - an infiltrator cannot pose as the specific individual whose flesh he ate, merely as a member of the same race. Only the genetic material of humanoid races from 4' to 9' can be successfully “feasted” upon, as these are the size limits of the infiltrators' shapechanging abilities. Animal forms or humanoids outside the size limits listed above cannot be adopted.

Once “feasting” is complete (the process takes about an hour), the infiltrator can thereafter assume the form of that type of humanoid. Shapechanging into a new form takes a single round and heals the infiltrator of 1d4 hp damage. Naturally, it is in the infiltrators best interests to “feast” upon as great a variety of humanoids as he can, in order to widen the selection of forms he can adopt.

Shapechanging affects only the infiltrator's body, not his clothing or armor. For this reason, infiltrators prefer to wear no clothing while in their natural forms. (They have no taboo against nudity, probably because male and female infiltrators are virtually indistinguishable while in their natural forms.) Once taking on an assumed form, they will usually don clothing, armor, and weapons appropriate to that form.

The biggest drawback to an infiltrator's life is its inability to pass on its characteristics to its next generation. Infiltrators cannot bear young with other species, even when assuming their forms, and the offspring of two infiltrators is always a mongrelman, bearing the physical characteristics of the various types of humanoids upon which the infiltrators had previously “feasted.”

The original infiltrators have long since died out, leaving behind the mongrelmen as their only legacy. However, it is possible that the secrets to the creation of the infiltrator race might someday be rediscovered (if it hasn't been already) or independently researched by some wizard exploring the possibilities of magical shapeshifting.