How would you build an enemy skill based class?

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I have a player who wants to play a character who copies skills from enemies and am stumped on how to balance a character that could do this. Has this been done before and how did it turn out?
I wouldn't.  NPCs/monsters can have abilities that would be disastrous in the hands of PCs.

The closest thing I've ever seen was 3e's Spellthief.
Depends partially on the edition, but in general, it's not a simple endeavor primarily for the reason FoxFireInferno gave.  3e's Spellthief work because PCs and Monsters, for the most part, used the same spell list and spell-related mechanics.  Though it is important to note that the class did not grant you access a monster's more esoteric abilities, such as a dragon's breath or a snake's poison, since they are not spells.
Thinking about creating a race for 4e? Make things a lil' easier on yourself by reading my Race Mechanic Creation Guide first.
The Mage power Beneficent Transformation is a good template. The spell gives you powers based on the enemy's ability. If the enemy can climb, fly or swim, the recipient of the spell gains that movement mode and speed. Or the recipient can borrow resistances or senses. In short, don't let the character completely replicate the monster's ability, but give it something reminiscent of it. If it has a power that immobilizes, give the character a +4 to grab or a +2 to attack rolls with powers that immobilize.

Beneficent Transformation is a daily power, hinting at how strong this sort of ability can be, even in a limited capacity.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

The Mage power Beneficent Transformation is a good template. The spell gives you powers based on the enemy's ability. If the enemy can climb, fly or swim, the recipient of the spell gains that movement mode and speed. Or the recipient can borrow resistances or senses. In short, don't let the character completely replicate the monster's ability, but give it something reminiscent of it. If it has a power that immobilizes, give the character a +4 to grab or a +2 to attack rolls with powers that immobilize.

Beneficent Transformation is a daily power, hinting at how strong this sort of ability can be, even in a limited capacity.

Well what they wanted was a class that copies abilities like the enemy skill materia from FF7. I am pretty sure that foxfireinferno and fireclave are right now that I have started playing around with the idea. I think that it could be built but it would need a tightly controlled list of what can be copied. I think that I might build it using that list as a base and find comparable abilities to build it.
Don't base the character's powers solely on the enemy NPCs rather use it as a suppliment. Have it so the player takes a certain aspect from a creature which is arbitrarily assigned. like fighting a goblin blackblade will give your character additional reflex or a dragon might grant them the resistance to that dragon's element. I think that's a good balance between what your character wants and what you can do with minimal planning.
Don't base the character's powers solely on the enemy NPCs rather use it as a suppliment. Have it so the player takes a certain aspect from a creature which is arbitrarily assigned. like fighting a goblin blackblade will give your character additional reflex or a dragon might grant them the resistance to that dragon's element. I think that's a good balance between what your character wants and what you can do with minimal planning.

Okay but I want to try to give them the ability to learn some thing from enemies permanently although the price to learn it will be taking a hit from it and staying conscious. I am wanting some things to be for a time, maybe allow form changes like a warden  a certain number of times a day. 
Just an idea:
Reskin powers that already exist as player powers, let him get those or bonuses to stats or such. Keep a stack of index cards with things written on them. When he learns a new one over his max, make him swap out an old card for the new one. Before or after seeing the new power. Let him pick or get rid of the oldest power. He might end up with 0 at will powers and 4 encounters, but that's his problem when he uses 4 awesome attacks and then sits there for the rest of combat.
That's what I would do at least. The cards make it easy to remember as well as easy to learn/forget abilities. Reskinning keeps everything balanced with other powers (since they're in reality the same). The ability to only get powers from what you fight balances out the ability to have any power from any book. Swapping out powers balances it so they don't end up with infinity powers.
To learn it, have them have to be in total defence AND get hit by it (thinking the "learn" stance in FFV here). Obviously they have to survive the hit to remember it. 
Just an idea:
Reskin powers that already exist as player powers, let him get those or bonuses to stats or such. Keep a stack of index cards with things written on them. When he learns a new one over his max, make him swap out an old card for the new one. Before or after seeing the new power. Let him pick or get rid of the oldest power. He might end up with 0 at will powers and 4 encounters, but that's his problem when he uses 4 awesome attacks and then sits there for the rest of combat.
That's what I would do at least. The cards make it easy to remember as well as easy to learn/forget abilities. Reskinning keeps everything balanced with other powers (since they're in reality the same). The ability to only get powers from what you fight balances out the ability to have any power from any book. Swapping out powers balances it so they don't end up with infinity powers.
To learn it, have them have to be in total defence AND get hit by it (thinking the "learn" stance in FFV here). Obviously they have to survive the hit to remember it. 

This is helpful but only partially, the character is for 3.5 so I have to play with it some. I used the example of the warden because it has simple form changes which could represent the changes from adapting to an enemy. The "learn" stance idea would be rather useful and I think I will make use of it.

Google Homebrew (whatever editon your playing) DnD Classes; look for a Bluemage.


I know there was one for 4th (Im currently playing it, and having a super fun time absorbing powers) but also remember seeing a few out there when i first looked for the other editions as well


It does just what you want (with some minor tweeking); Monster casts spell; you after some rolls get that power/spell.


 

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Google Homebrew (whatever editon your playing) DnD Classes; look for a Bluemage.


I know there was one for 4th (Im currently playing it, and having a super fun time absorbing powers) but also remember seeing a few out there when i first looked for the other editions as well


It does just what you want (with some minor tweeking); Monster casts spell; you after some rolls get that power/spell.


 


That is very helpful I think that I have found a base Ill probably post it once I get it ready.