call for feedback - Life-Shaping Handbook

Originally posted on the wizards board last year.

The original release of the Life-Shaping Handbook in 2007 was a beta release. We are currently working on editing the Life-Shaping Handbook for a second release. This is a final call for playtesting or general feedback. We are looking for anything feedback you have from playtesting any of the items, prestige classes, or creatures in LSH as well as simple spelling or grammatical errors you discovered. We are not however, looking for new submissions to the document.

Please post your feedback on this thread or email to

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Maybe I can look at one of these after I finish my current project. (about 75% complete at current).

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Bringing this thread back if people are looking for ways to volunteer to help.

Looking for feedback on Life-Shaping Handbook. Playtest feedback, spelling errors, general feedback. Post here or email to the

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I’d be happy to do a spelling/general content check.

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I too am willing to assist! My previous project is finished-ie-waiting-on-official-feedback, so I have some bandwidth for this now.

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To become a life shaper, one has to undergo a “womb immersion”. There is no description of the womb in question (could be left so, being only a specific location, or more detailed with the properties of the “womb”, and the process of transformation to being a life-shaper).

The spirit wombs (p 78) leads to confusion with the womb necessary to become a life-shaper, so a change of name would be welcome. Or did I miss a thing and the spirit wombs are the devices necessary to become life-shaper ? I’m a bit confused about that.

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Posting some of my observations publically:

  • Lifeshaping costs seem way out of wack when compared to achieving comparable effects in the rest of the game. For example: grafting costs, and the costs of taming or raising creatures, and the costs of producing items which can do the same as lifeshaped items. If such costs were decided by taking into consideration the scarcity of resources on Athas, then there should be a conversion table specific to using the Lifeshaping rules outside of Athas, since I have noted interest in such in other forums, and that’s just more DM/Player friendly. This is one of the most harped on criticisms of the Lifeshaping rules I’ve heard in other forums.
  • Grafting rules should be taken into consideration and reviewed, since some of the material was released after the Lifeshaping handbook, notable EB, if I recall correctly.
  • As noted in other comments, the womb needs clarification, as well as more clarity on transmission and/or recovery of knowledge among lifeshapers. I suggest something like a preserved or petrified brain that is used as a storage container of knowledge. I suggest this not for Athas, per se, but more for people who are interested in transplanting Lifeshaping into another fantasy or sci-fi world. So in addition to Athas specific lore, I would like to see a complete system that can be used with or without said lore, as per the DM’s desire.

That’s it for now.

Some additional comments:

Ideally, I want to see all the grafting rules from every supplement updated and harmonized with lifeshaping, and the otherwise horribly written Manipulate Form fixed and included too.

I kinda see an ability on the level of (a fixed) Manipulate Form as to how ancient lifeshapers did the complex and powerful lifeshaping… and why a womb was required - they needed extra organs and biology to pull off the trick. It definitely needs to have the TO recursive aspect explicitly removed at least… and in my mind add the limitations with grafts to the ability.

Possibly split lifeshaping into minor, medium, and major (or more) groupings, with scaling requirements for each grouping, along with suggestions for degrees of inclusion in each setting. This would allow player access to grafts, in line with other sources, without allowing access to most lifeshaping within Athas… and providing a full set of lifeshaping rules for DMs to use as they see fit in any campaign.

Actually, now that I mention it, I think all the Athas rules and monsters should include suggestions and modifications necessary for use in all of the other settings, by default.

While part of the point is to make it all Dark Sun 3.x, I think we should keep an eye towards making fun and useful rules that DMs in other settings and Primes still want to use, even people not playing D&D will find useful!

By the way, is there any particular reason that the Rhulisti and the Rhul-Thaun both do not have Craft Lifeshaping as a class skill when they do have Knowledge Lifeshaping? I didn’t spot any feats that grant the skill as a class skill, nor do there seem to be any base classes in the Lifeshaping Handbook. I guess it’s because Craft is a class skill for pretty much every base class out there, but it still seems odd that it shouldn’t be a racial skill.

Unlike other Craft skills, it’s trained only. Should that mean that it doesn’t count as a regular craft skill for these purposes?

Also, are the Spirit Wombs the ones referenced by the Womb Immersion requirement for the Lifeshaper prestige class? If not, the only way to find or create a Lifeshaping womb would be the Centennial Brain or the Last Tree, I’m thinking…

(I also disagree with making any prestige classes based on knowledge and training restricted by race as an entry requirement. The Womb Immersion requirement is enough.)

Thoughts anyone?