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Shifter prediction.


Product Discussion

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So... What actual advantages does the Shifter have over a Druid or even a Feral Hunter? Or is it just full BAB and the Stormwind fallacy?


Tabernero wrote:
So... What actual advantages does the Shifter have over a Druid or even a Feral Hunter? Or is it just full BAB and the Stormwind fallacy?

From reading the Force of Nature blog, it seems that they can use abilities not from their form/shape.


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Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Tabernero wrote:
So... What actual advantages does the Shifter have over a Druid or even a Feral Hunter? Or is it just full BAB and the Stormwind fallacy?

So far we know they get full BAB, scaling claw damage (including in normal form), bypassing DR, and wisdom to AC (with reduced bonus while in druid-approved armor). It seems like they get earlier access to large and maybe tiny forms, and I think a dev mentioned in an interview that the aspects you apply are stronger than the animal focus abilities. Those aspects can get added onto what you're shifted into.

For new players, it's also simpler. You have more information about your options baked into the class rather than spread out across six bestiaries. (I know not everybody values that, but I think it's useful.)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
QuidEst wrote:


So far we know they get full BAB, scaling claw damage (including in normal form), bypassing DR, and wisdom to AC (with reduced bonus while in druid-approved armor). It seems like they get earlier access to large and maybe tiny forms, and I think a dev mentioned in an interview that the aspects you apply are stronger than the animal focus abilities. Those aspects can get added onto what you're shifted into.

For new players, it's also simpler. You have more information about your options baked into the class rather than spread out across six bestiaries. (I know not everybody values that, but I think it's useful.)

I was a little apprehensive with the negative initial take on the class, but as more information comes out I feel more excited about the Shifter and its potential. A long while back (before Shifter was announced), I was digging through Druid archetypes for something that specialized in one or a few forms without any satisfactory results. The Shaman archetypes are nice, but don't take the idea far enough. I wanted to be Really good with one form. I think (without actually having received my book yet. Pending... ;-;) that the Shifter is exactly what I wanted.

Just because they can't turn into an entire zoo's collection of animals doesn't mean they aren't the best at shapeshifting. DR is a Huge hindrance to natural attackers and it seems Shifters have a good answer to that. Scaling claw damage is very nice. I would be thrilled to see it applied to all their natural attacks, but even if not, claws alone is quite good and really helps a lot of animal forms that are more limited in attacks. Like a wolf with three attacks at full BAB is suddenly a lot more competitive with a tiger even without pounce. Or take tiger as one of your lesser aspects and be a pouncing wolf! It seems to me, again without actually being able to read the class description, that while a Shifter can't turn into as many animals, a wolf Shifter is going to be much more capable in melee than any wolf-wildshaped Druid.


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filgaiasguardian wrote:
I was a little apprehensive with the negative initial take on the class, but as more information comes out I feel more excited about the Shifter and its potential.

I've gotten up to 'VERY cautiously optimistic'. I'm going to have to see how the whole 'wildshape' but not wildshape works out. It SOUNDS cool but the devil is in the details. The rest sounds cool too, but it's all going to depend on how the core feature plays out.


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Unfortunately, the final result is that the shifter is like the Feral archetype for Hunter, except worse in almost every way. Minor aspects are like animal focus, except you have to pick them in advance and they have a time limit per day, and the wild shape is more limited and not as good as normal druid wild shape.

Stuff the shifter gets that the feral hunter doesn't get:
- Two claws that get up to 1d8/x3, and you can replace the base damage of two natural attacks in wild shape with them
- The ability to use multiple minor aspects at once
- The monk AC bonus
- Another +5 BAB
- Trackless step

Stuff the feral hunter gets that the shifter doesn't get:
- No time limit on animal focus
- The ability to pick which animal focus to use each time it's used, rather than being set in advance
- Wild shape up to Huge size and beast shape III
- Wild shaping into any animal type
- 6th-level spells


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Since the Shifter still isn't widely available yet, I think this is still a good thread to use to discuss what we've seen so far in the product discussion thread.

There are a lot of concerns going around about the class, and to be honest I share a few of them. My biggest worry about the class is that it's going to fall on its face when people want to really utilize their shifting.

The whole point of the class was to make a master shifter, the go-to class for anyone who says "I want to play an elf that turns into a tiger and mauls people, but I don't want to deal with spells". They appear to have designed it to support new players who want to achieve that without making a wonky 4Druid/xRanger with 2 wildshape feats build.

The class appears to work. Fundamentally, it's a playable class, especially for a new player. However my prediction is that as it reaches level 8 or 9, you're going to see those new players become frustrated with it.

They will see the wizard transforming into more things than they can, AND tossing around spells. God forbid they play with an actual druid who will be outshining them in the every way. Even if you look at non-9th level classes, they'll feel outshined by alchemists, shifting hunters, and even natural attacking rangers.

All because their kit is lacking a few key pieces. All of this goes away if they were to add a way to get polymorph spell-like abilities and something like bow proficiency.

A new class feature that might be a wisdom based pool that lets them mimic Alter Self, then beast shape, then the higher level beast shapes would make them a very good Shifter and give them the utility they sorely need.

I also strongly feel that a full BAB class should have access to a better ranged option than sling. If a group takes a Shifter instead of a fighter and they come to the inevitable situation where they want to engage an enemy at a distance, the Shifter has zero good options to contribute, especially if they want to reserve wild shape uses for, say, Tiger.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I agree, the class feels like a play test rough draft and not a finished product.

Things I would change.

Weapon Prof.- I would add blowgun, bolas, boomarang, great club, lasso, long spear, net, short bow, and whip.

Class skills- I would add escape artist, intimidate, knowledge(local), knowledge(geography), and sense motive. I might increase skill points to 6+int as well.

Defensive Instinct- I would like to give the option to use charisma instead of wisdom for AC.

Natural Attacks- Your first aspect would determine your starting natural attacks. You start with two attacks but can gain more later through additional aspects and based on your level. They would all do the same damage and scale like the claws but damage would max at 2d6 instead of d10 and they would count as magic weapons at 5th level.

Minor Morph(1st)- You can change minor features of your appearance as well your hair, eye, and skin(fur, feathers, scales, etc.) color. Maybe granting a +2 bonus on disguise or stealth checks but not both at the same time.

Aspects(1st)- I would have minor aspects as at will minor benefits like low-light vision, darkvision, +1 natural armor, scent, gills, swim speed, climb speed, etc. While the major aspects would be minutes for level and grant stuff like additional natural attacks, blindsense, fly speed, fast healing 1, poison, disease, paralysis, bleed, +4 natural armor, tremor sense, etc.

Keen Senses(2nd)- You add 1/2 your shifter level to perception checks.

Woodland Stride(2nd)- Moved from 3rd level.

Wild Shape(3rd)- Same as the druid but animal forms only. At 20th level you would get this at will.

Favored Terrain(4th)- As the Ranger class feature. You gain a new favored terrains at 9th, 14th, and 19th.

Free Spirit(6th)- You gain immunity to paralysis effects and add 1/2 your shifter level to escape artist checks.

Natural Health(9th)- You gain immunity to diseases including magical ones.

Venom Immunity(11th)- You gain immunity to poisons.


Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Minor detail- claws scale up to 1d10.

Shifter gets some nice feats, like level-to-damage on claws with weapon finesse.


QuidEst wrote:

Minor detail- claws scale up to 1d10.

Shifter gets some nice feats, like level-to-damage on claws with weapon finesse.

Just to be clear, it's getting changed to half-level to damage.


Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
WatersLethe wrote:
QuidEst wrote:

Minor detail- claws scale up to 1d10.

Shifter gets some nice feats, like level-to-damage on claws with weapon finesse.

Just to be clear, it's getting changed to half-level to damage.

Oh, is it? I thought the change was going to be requiring strength as the damage stat. That makes sense, though. Full level was really good.


WatersLethe wrote:

Fundamentally, it's a playable class, especially for a new player. However my prediction is that as it reaches level 8 or 9, you're going to see those new players become frustrated with it.

They will see the wizard transforming into more things than they can, AND tossing around spells. God forbid they play with an actual druid who will be outshining them in the every way. Even if you look at non-9th level classes, they'll feel outshined by alchemists, shifting hunters, and even natural attacking rangers.

The shifter might have a few advantages over polymorphing casters, though. She is not required to raise one mental score that much (meaning slightly better physical stats) and full BAB makes an increasing difference over the course of levels (both for AB and feat requirements). That's without looking at the actual class features.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Also a speak with animal ability would also be cool.


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Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The only thing wrong with the Shifter, IMO, is the need for more forms. However, for a fresh new class, I really like the ones available. Just need some more in future products.
I like the fact that they added Awesome Blow to the Bear Major Form (15th level). Smacks of Beorn to me!
Some see these forms as restrictive, but I appreciate everything be defined right there in one resource. Remember, this is the beginning of the class. There is more to come.


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Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I would love to see better support for hybrid forms (for example, a centaur-like form for a horse or a stag or a merfolk-like form for a fish). But I think Paizo specifically decided to avoid the complications that such forms would introduce with their initial iteration of the Shifter class.

Shadow Lodge

Despite saying it was something the shifter could do? That seems really odd.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

It looks like hybrid forms are possible only with the lycanthropic archetype and/or via minutes per day minor aspects. For the lycanthropic archetype, it appears that the hybrid form is closer to a humanoid than a monstrous mixture.


Looks like the product page has been locked down for a while.....wonder what's going on....


QuidEst wrote:
WatersLethe wrote:
QuidEst wrote:

Minor detail- claws scale up to 1d10.

Shifter gets some nice feats, like level-to-damage on claws with weapon finesse.

Just to be clear, it's getting changed to half-level to damage.
Oh, is it? I thought the change was going to be requiring strength as the damage stat. That makes sense, though. Full level was really good.

Both str damage and 1/2 level damage from what I understand.

Shadow Lodge

Probably wiping out a ton of posts. I wouldn't be surprised if it is most of the ones showing how the shifter is not what we were told or calling for the return of public playtests.

I would be surprised if they the posts decrying the ones saying the shifter isn't what we were told are removed as well.


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nighttree wrote:
Looks like the product page has been locked down for a while.....wonder what's going on....

They were gone over the weekend and we posted a pile of pages, so it's most likely a break so they can check it out.


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Dragonborn3 wrote:

Probably wiping out a ton of posts. I wouldn't be surprised if it is most of the ones showing how the shifter is not what we were told or calling for the return of public playtests.

I would be surprised if they the posts decrying the ones saying the shifter isn't what we were told are removed as well.

I can't say I would agree with that. Some of the posts were dramatic to say the least, and some people made some childish comments....but all in all those disappointed in the class were civil....

The mods will delete posts that are childish....but they won't delete posts just because someone is disappointed in the product and expressing that disappointment.


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So the Hero Lab for Shifter dropped today (or at least I noticed it today). Gotta say I'm quite disappointed in the class. Any druid will be outshining you both in and out of combat from level 1, and the difference will simply get progressively worse from there. A shifter gets slightly (very slightly) better melee ability and gives up a ton of versatility, animal companion, and of course 9th level spells. As it is, I don't see any reason to ever play a shifter over a druid, and it's very unlikely that will change without a serious "unchained" level makeover at least. Sad, but not unexpected.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

So far it's pretty damning that I can do more with a druid than a shifter, and my rules-fu is not all that great.

...not only that, but the character is able to fill several roles in a party as a result, versus 'beat on things only'.

(ie, if the form one takes is a 'scouting form' that dramatically reduces one's damage through-put based on what I could see?)


Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Damiv wrote:
So the Hero Lab for Shifter dropped today (or at least I noticed it today). Gotta say I'm quite disappointed in the class. Any druid will be outshining you both in and out of combat from level 1, and the difference will simply get progressively worse from there. A shifter gets slightly (very slightly) better melee ability and gives up a ton of versatility, animal companion, and of course 9th level spells. As it is, I don't see any reason to ever play a shifter over a druid, and it's very unlikely that will change without a serious "unchained" level makeover at least. Sad, but not unexpected.

Well, some of us go for theme rather than DPR. So, I like the Shifter quite well, thank you. Different strokes for different folks.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Fourshadow wrote:
Damiv wrote:
So the Hero Lab for Shifter dropped today (or at least I noticed it today). Gotta say I'm quite disappointed in the class. Any druid will be outshining you both in and out of combat from level 1, and the difference will simply get progressively worse from there. A shifter gets slightly (very slightly) better melee ability and gives up a ton of versatility, animal companion, and of course 9th level spells. As it is, I don't see any reason to ever play a shifter over a druid, and it's very unlikely that will change without a serious "unchained" level makeover at least. Sad, but not unexpected.
Well, some of us go for theme rather than DPR. So, I like the Shifter quite well, thank you. Different strokes for different folks.

Except Druids are better at the “shapeshifting” theme than shifters are.


Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ventnor wrote:
Fourshadow wrote:
Damiv wrote:
So the Hero Lab for Shifter dropped today (or at least I noticed it today). Gotta say I'm quite disappointed in the class. Any druid will be outshining you both in and out of combat from level 1, and the difference will simply get progressively worse from there. A shifter gets slightly (very slightly) better melee ability and gives up a ton of versatility, animal companion, and of course 9th level spells. As it is, I don't see any reason to ever play a shifter over a druid, and it's very unlikely that will change without a serious "unchained" level makeover at least. Sad, but not unexpected.
Well, some of us go for theme rather than DPR. So, I like the Shifter quite well, thank you. Different strokes for different folks.
Except Druids are better at the “shapeshifting” theme than shifters are.

I've heard that often already. Doesn't matter to me. I still like it. As I have said, it reminds me of Beorn...always loved that character. He's the way I imagined a Shifter would be, so the class is good enough for me.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Fourshadow wrote:
Damiv wrote:
So the Hero Lab for Shifter dropped today (or at least I noticed it today). Gotta say I'm quite disappointed in the class. Any druid will be outshining you both in and out of combat from level 1, and the difference will simply get progressively worse from there. A shifter gets slightly (very slightly) better melee ability and gives up a ton of versatility, animal companion, and of course 9th level spells. As it is, I don't see any reason to ever play a shifter over a druid, and it's very unlikely that will change without a serious "unchained" level makeover at least. Sad, but not unexpected.
Well, some of us go for theme rather than DPR. So, I like the Shifter quite well, thank you. Different strokes for different folks.

True....I'm more role play than roll play....at the same time...I want a class that actually is worth playing. As has been addressed by many people...this falls REALLY short. Attempts to disparage the disappointment of people...has been the primary cause of all of the ugly.....so let's put it aside for the time being....


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Fourshadow wrote:
Damiv wrote:
So the Hero Lab for Shifter dropped today (or at least I noticed it today). Gotta say I'm quite disappointed in the class. Any druid will be outshining you both in and out of combat from level 1, and the difference will simply get progressively worse from there. A shifter gets slightly (very slightly) better melee ability and gives up a ton of versatility, animal companion, and of course 9th level spells. As it is, I don't see any reason to ever play a shifter over a druid, and it's very unlikely that will change without a serious "unchained" level makeover at least. Sad, but not unexpected.
Well, some of us go for theme rather than DPR. So, I like the Shifter quite well, thank you. Different strokes for different folks.

Interesting...I just figured DPR out this week....I'm more interested in flavor....this still falls totally flat... IMO....


Still totally into trying an Oozemorph out..
Terribly sad that it sounds like it is less "hey play an ooze character" and more "hey. Play an ooze trying to bea human(oid) like a normal character"
but Still will have to try it! cause it might work better in practice than what it sounds like.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Personally the oozemorph should have been a persona turning into an ooze not the other way around.


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Zwordsman wrote:

Still totally into trying an Oozemorph out..

Terribly sad that it sounds like it is less "hey play an ooze character" and more "hey. Play an ooze trying to bea human(oid) like a normal character"
but Still will have to try it! cause it might work better in practice than what it sounds like.

I think with a hefty dose of homerules the Ooozemorph could be fun. There is two ways to approach it: either leave the insane penalties in place and actually give them all the advantages of an ooze to make up for it, or remove the frankly ridiculous penalties of no item use and the restrictions on morphing into a humanoid form so they can actually contribute to the party for more than an hour a day.


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Fourshadow wrote:
Ventnor wrote:
Fourshadow wrote:
Damiv wrote:
So the Hero Lab for Shifter dropped today (or at least I noticed it today). Gotta say I'm quite disappointed in the class. Any druid will be outshining you both in and out of combat from level 1, and the difference will simply get progressively worse from there. A shifter gets slightly (very slightly) better melee ability and gives up a ton of versatility, animal companion, and of course 9th level spells. As it is, I don't see any reason to ever play a shifter over a druid, and it's very unlikely that will change without a serious "unchained" level makeover at least. Sad, but not unexpected.
Well, some of us go for theme rather than DPR. So, I like the Shifter quite well, thank you. Different strokes for different folks.
Except Druids are better at the “shapeshifting” theme than shifters are.
I've heard that often already. Doesn't matter to me. I still like it. As I have said, it reminds me of Beorn...always loved that character. He's the way I imagined a Shifter would be, so the class is good enough for me.

If you play in a low enough power campaign that you can play a shifter and not be a detriment to the group, great! I'm glad you like it. Many of us do have a lot of love for shifter type characters. I like to run and play in higher power more challenging campaigns, stuff like Rappan Athuk. Every character needs to be able to pull their own weight and then some just to survive so a class that is objectively worse than any other class that can fill the exact same theme is going to be disappointing to me, and to many others.


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Damiv wrote:
Fourshadow wrote:
Ventnor wrote:
Fourshadow wrote:
Damiv wrote:
So the Hero Lab for Shifter dropped today (or at least I noticed it today). Gotta say I'm quite disappointed in the class. Any druid will be outshining you both in and out of combat from level 1, and the difference will simply get progressively worse from there. A shifter gets slightly (very slightly) better melee ability and gives up a ton of versatility, animal companion, and of course 9th level spells. As it is, I don't see any reason to ever play a shifter over a druid, and it's very unlikely that will change without a serious "unchained" level makeover at least. Sad, but not unexpected.
Well, some of us go for theme rather than DPR. So, I like the Shifter quite well, thank you. Different strokes for different folks.
Except Druids are better at the “shapeshifting” theme than shifters are.
I've heard that often already. Doesn't matter to me. I still like it. As I have said, it reminds me of Beorn...always loved that character. He's the way I imagined a Shifter would be, so the class is good enough for me.
If you play in a low enough power campaign that you can play a shifter and not be a detriment to the group, great! I'm glad you like it. Many of us do have a lot of love for shifter type characters. I like to run and play in higher power more challenging campaigns, stuff like Rappan Athuk. Every character needs to be able to pull their own weight and then some just to survive so a class that is objectively worse than any other class that can fill the exact same theme is going to be disappointing to me, and to many others.

It's like choosing to play a Warrior instead of a Fighter for RP purposes and defending the choice by saying "It works for me, I'm interested in roleplaying not roll playing".

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

..and then hoping that the DM has mercy on the party because they are playing deliberately underpowered characters with not nearly enough flexibility.


Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Ah, disparaging comments despite the fact that I mentioned (for both sides!) 'Different strokes for different folks'. I like the shifter, you don't. And that is okay..or should be. Civility is dying a horrible death due to the faceless anonymity of the internet.


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Fourshadow wrote:
Ah, disparaging comments despite the fact that I mentioned (for both sides!) 'Different strokes for different folks'. I like the shifter, you don't. And that is okay..or should be. Civility is dying a horrible death due to the faceless anonymity of the internet.

Some people are ok with playing NPC classes and others aren't, so I agree "Different strokes". I'd rather not play a class that's outclassed by another existing class that 'ties' 2/3rds of it's abilities behind it's back. For the majority of people, I don't think they wanted a new NPC level character: I don't think anyone is telling YOU not to like it, just that they don't and and why. I don't see the 'disparaging comments' as those 'different strokes' explains the different perspective on what's is useful or up to an expected power level.

Shadow Lodge

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Fourshadow wrote:
Civility is dying a horrible death due to the faceless anonymity of the internet.

Commenting on others being about the DPR rather than the theme is not civil either. It's rather disparaging.


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Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


..and then hoping that the DM has mercy on the party because they are playing deliberately underpowered characters with not nearly enough flexibility.

The flexibility bit isn’t worth anything at all to some people. If they want to turn into a bear, then Shifter lets them turn into a bigger bear sooner, makes their bear claws scarier, and makes them a tougher and more accurate bear. Druid lets them have a pet bear, turn into a bird tomorrow one level earlier, and cast spells, but those aren’t adding to turning into a bear (with the exception of casting Strongjaw, I’ll admit).

The ability to turn into a bird at level four or five is more flexibility than some of the martial classes get, so I don’t think that will require GM mercy if the player is playing a Shifter instead of one of those.

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