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More Taste Less Filling: The shifter Any good or not?


Advice

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Shadow Lodge

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Redirecting the mathfight here...

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Barring some easy to make and reasonable changes (such as Wild Shape being just like Druidic Wild Shape, but with Aspects providing a little 'extra), I'm not seeing how they're any better than anything else out there right now, and in many case are actually a downgrade.

Truth in Text: I'm not a 'crunch' sort of person, but I can get a 'feel' from a class and I haven't gotten that 'feel' from Shifter.


I haven't had a chance to play one of course, but rough made characters don't seem to be a standout at anything other than ease of use. Other classes can out fight, out shapeshift and pretty much 'out' everything the shifter can [with spells or SU powers to boot too].

It's not awful but it's not great either. It seems playable in the same way an unchained rogue/monk was playable: You can manage, but you're always thinking that you could have done better [and that archetypes make a HUGE difference in usefulness].

Now actual play may temper my feelings, so I'll post something if I get the chance to try one.


Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


Barring some easy to make and reasonable changes (such as Wild Shape being just like Druidic Wild Shape, but with Aspects providing a little 'extra), I'm not seeing how they're any better than anything else out there right now, and in many case are actually a downgrade.

Truth in Text: I'm not a 'crunch' sort of person, but I can get a 'feel' from a class and I haven't gotten that 'feel' from Shifter.

I can definitely agree here. It feels like it's lacking a core defining feature, you know? It feels like a mix of secondary and tertiary abilities, with nothing really giving it a defining feeling

The only place I've found it can do something particularly unique, is using Owl Aspect (Major) at level 8 to turn into a somewhat nasty hit-and-runner. But, there's other ways to do hit and run, I'm sure, and likely better ones


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Might as well link some of Painful Buggers posts: One, Two, Three.


To be fair, if we start comparing any full attack class to their caster equivalent we usually come up lacking. I don't know why shifter was expected to buck the trend.

Snark aside, the apparent lack of shifting options feels like the biggest weakness of the design, especially along side the limited availability of buff effects other classes get for free makes this feel bad. Trying to put an idea together and I keep coming back to "This feels like an inferior version of x." It never feels like it stands on its own.


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MrBear wrote:

To be fair, if we start comparing any full attack class to their caster equivalent we usually come up lacking. I don't know why shifter was expected to buck the trend.

Snark aside, the apparent lack of shifting options feels like the biggest weakness of the design, especially along side the limited availability of buff effects other classes get for free makes this feel bad. Trying to put an idea together and I keep coming back to "This feels like an inferior version of x." It never feels like it stands on its own.

The issue here is, if you compare a Druid or a Feral Hunter, shapeshifting combat wise (read: no spells taken into account) to a Shifter, they /still/ come out ahead. They get more options sooner, and they get better abilities faster. Feral Hunter and Druid get Pounce+Rake at Level 8 compared to a Shifter's 15.


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yeah, it's like the warpriest, yeah it's a lot like the cleric, but it'll out combat the cleric real good.
Or the investigator out skilling basically everyone
or the slayer being a better and simple combat rogue
the hunter is the better pet class than druid

like it's expected that a class be good at something compared to others.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Duke of Dosh wrote:
MrBear wrote:

To be fair, if we start comparing any full attack class to their caster equivalent we usually come up lacking. I don't know why shifter was expected to buck the trend.

Snark aside, the apparent lack of shifting options feels like the biggest weakness of the design, especially along side the limited availability of buff effects other classes get for free makes this feel bad. Trying to put an idea together and I keep coming back to "This feels like an inferior version of x." It never feels like it stands on its own.

The issue here is, if you compare a Druid or a Feral Hunter, shapeshifting combat wise (read: no spells taken into account) to a Shifter, they /still/ come out ahead. They get more options sooner, and they get better abilities faster. Feral Hunter and Druid get Pounce+Rake at Level 8 compared to a Shifter's 15.

It's partially why I did a dump wisdom stat Druid for comparison. Wild empathy, track, woodland stride, trackless step are kinda just tack on abilities. Most of the time you won't notice them or they never come up in play but nice flavor options to have. Defensive Instinct is okay I guess, maybe it's a good patch until Shifter gets wild armor + shield, it still makes the class rather MAD. I still say it should've had a scaling natural armor bonus or some other defensive ability.

When you get down to it both Aspects and Wildshape are one really complicated class ability that ultimately function like a limited version of a Cavalier's orders and depending on the form you're in you completely invalidate Shifter's claws until 13th level by the time the damage starts outpacing the base forms. So you end up with alot of essentially dead levels for this class. Nothing really amazing changing for several levels at a time unless you take a amazing feat combination.


Painful Bugger wrote:
Duke of Dosh wrote:
MrBear wrote:

To be fair, if we start comparing any full attack class to their caster equivalent we usually come up lacking. I don't know why shifter was expected to buck the trend.

Snark aside, the apparent lack of shifting options feels like the biggest weakness of the design, especially along side the limited availability of buff effects other classes get for free makes this feel bad. Trying to put an idea together and I keep coming back to "This feels like an inferior version of x." It never feels like it stands on its own.

The issue here is, if you compare a Druid or a Feral Hunter, shapeshifting combat wise (read: no spells taken into account) to a Shifter, they /still/ come out ahead. They get more options sooner, and they get better abilities faster. Feral Hunter and Druid get Pounce+Rake at Level 8 compared to a Shifter's 15.

It's partially why I did a dump wisdom stat Druid for comparison. Wild empathy, track, woodland stride, trackless step are kinda just tack on abilities. Most of the time you won't notice them or they never come up in play but nice flavor options to have. Defensive Instinct is okay I guess, maybe it's a good patch until Shifter gets wild armor + shield, it still makes the class rather MAD. I still say it should've had a scaling natural armor bonus or some other defensive ability.

When you get down to it both Aspects and Wildshape are one really complicated class ability that ultimately function like a limited version of a Cavalier's orders and depending on the form you're in you completely invalidate Shifter's claws until 13th level by the time the damage starts outpacing the base forms. So you end up with alot of essentially dead levels for this class. Nothing really amazing changing for several levels at a time unless you take a amazing feat combination.

I hadn't even realized that until you mentioned it, but yeah, dumping Wisdom makes it a really, really fair comparison.


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I have a super sexy Shifter build which I'll share once the Additional Resources update is up...


Haven't seen the Shifter, but from what I've heard about its abilities I really wonder why they didn't just use the existing (Unchained) Summoner's Evolution Pool mechanic instead of the existing Hunter's Animal Focus.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The design premise (from what has been disclosed thus far) was 'entry-level shape-shifting class'.

Adding in something complex like even the basic druid 'Wild Shape' or Summoner evolution pools would seemingly go against that concept.

Or, to use the automobile analogy that's been popping on the product blog, instead of getting any of a number of racing vehicles with several hundred horsepower the class instead gets a nice four-cylinder engine.

or... 'sure, it'll get you somewhere, but a lot of things are faster/better'.


I have heard tell that the way SoP does shifting is similair to evolutions but much simpler. It may have been a good starting point for the shifter


Really that just makes some of what I've heard worse. I've seen many references to the Shifter having "for life" choices, so every choice is one that will effect the character for its play span. Having seen a lot of "What's the best class for a new player?" threads the consensus on what's best seems to be that Fighter and Sorcerer (two classes that live and die based on such selections) may be easy to play but they are very hard to build and should be avoided by new players unless you're doing pregens. The actual recommendation is classes that don't have these (Druid and Cleric can change their spells every day, and in case of the druid you can still change what you wildshape into) because "entry level" players can't make these decisions. Spirit Shaman style ability selection (few options to use, but can change their options at the start of the day) should be the natural choice for something designed for players not cut out to build something complex. Don't know how limiting what you can turn actually does anything to to make wild shape easier to understand anyways: "How polymorph spells work"/"What exactly do I get?" and "Does the animal I want to use come in a size I can pick?" (Both of which can be solved by ability cards for common forms) come up far more than "I can't think of an animal that does the thing I want" (At least not for Beast Shape/Elemental Shape. Alter Self/Monstrous Physique can get it but that's irrelevant). While there may be better better combat forms than "bear" "rhino" "elephant" or "gorilla", better fliers than "bird" and better scouts than "mouse" (The typical animal shapeshifter choices in fiction for those roles), none of them are bad choices, and "dinosaur" (also a staple) actually is the best choice (I've also just noticed the Shifter apparently can't become a rhino or an elephant).

Evolution Pool isn't that complex or hard to understand either. You look at the list, and pick abilities up to your capacity and some require other evolutions chosen before you can use them. The part everyone messed up is the limit on natural attacks, and that was a problem (like the old Psionics nova problem) where the rule wasn't known instead of being confusing.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
deuxhero wrote:
Having seen a lot of "What's the best class for a new player?" threads the consensus on what's best seems to be that Fighter and Sorcerer (two classes that live and die based on such selections) may be easy to play but they are very hard to build and should be avoided by new players unless you're doing pregens.

That's true, though at least in the case of Sorcerer and Fighter you can swap your features out at certain levels if it turns out your spell/feat selection isn't doing it for you. I'm not sure if the Shifter has the same ability to swap out aspects.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Alchemaic wrote:


That's true, though at least in the case of Sorcerer and Fighter you can swap your features out at certain levels if it turns out your spell/feat selection isn't doing it for you. I'm not sure if the Shifter has the same ability to swap out aspects.

It doesn't. While you gain other aspects at higher levels, the aspects you chose are the aspects you keep. You don't have a Sorcerer's ability to change out spells known every few levels, or the Fighter's ability to trade in combat feats the same way. To be a class designed around shapeshifting, the Shifter is oddly static.

I think the Shifter will be another 'easy to play, relatively difficult to make' class. But I expect her pregen will be relatively popular in PFS for exactly that reason.


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I use ranger for the entry class. It introduces many aspects of the game (creature types, spells, companions) at staggered levels instead of all at once. As well, you can build one not all that terrible with no recommendations but the combat style feats built in.


Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


The design premise (from what has been disclosed thus far) was 'entry-level shape-shifting class'.

Adding in something complex like even the basic druid 'Wild Shape' or Summoner evolution pools would seemingly go against that concept.

Or, to use the automobile analogy that's been popping on the product blog, instead of getting any of a number of racing vehicles with several hundred horsepower the class instead gets a nice four-cylinder engine.

or... 'sure, it'll get you somewhere, but a lot of things are faster/better'.

Did I just miss all the statements to this effect over the last 6 months ? If I had known out the gate this was a dumbed down class for beginners I probably would have had completely different expectations (and a lot less interest).....but I have only seen statements to this effect over the last 24 hours......

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I don't recall any statements to this effect during the lead-up to product release to subscribers, but it's been cropping up over on the product discussion page the past couple of days, perhaps in relation to the lackluster design of the class.

The sad part is I bought into the class description, and the aspects of the class are not what the class description offers. I'm resisting the urge to cut and paste the exact words here, as the item technically is not available until tomorrow, which is when a 'hot fix' supposedly is going to come down.


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Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

We knew that the Shifter would have up to five forms and get Wild Shape at the same time as Druid from the convention preview. That’s how I was able to guess the levels we’d get new aspects at.

The bit about being easier for beginners was from the Know Direction interview they did about the Shifter about a month ago.

Shadow Lodge

nighttree wrote:


Did I just miss all the statements to this effect over the last 6 months ?

These ears aren't just for show.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Let's make a the Metamorph Alchemist to Painful Bugger's sample build parameters

25 point buy
Race: Half-orc
Base: Str 16(+3), Dex 16(+3), Con 16(+3), Int 12(+1), Wis 12(+1), Cha 7(-2)
Feats (in order) Toughness, Weapon Focus (claws), Weapon Focus (bite), Improved Natural Attack (Bite)
HP identical to Druid
Takes Feral Mutagen and Tumor Familiar discoveries for natural armor, whatever later
Same item progression, Mutagen considered active.

Level 4 we've got a 25 strength, 2 higher than the Shifter. We can wear armor while Shapeshifted, so our AC (assuming a chain shirt) is 18, one higher than shifter, and we have Light Fortification inherently. We have +1 to hit compared to the Shifter (thanks to him being large). A Metamorph in sasquatch form will average 42 Damage with their 4 attacks, the Shifter averages 35 damage with their 3, but has Grab and pounce.

Level 6 we've got a 25 strength still. We can assume better armor (and finally have monstrous physique), so our A.C. sits at 20, now 2 higher than Shifter, we also now have medium fortification inherently. We have the same to hit as the Shifter now, and can now assume Witchwyrd form to get 5 attacks, averaging 56 compared to the Shifter, still at 35.

Level 8 we've now got 26 Strength, an AC of 22 like the Shifter (if we assume armor upgrading). Our to hit is 1 higher than the Shifter (SIZE PENALTIES!). We now average 64 damage, shifter got a boost and now averages 44.

This all ignores the added flexibility of being able to actually use items and weapons and retain speech, or use your shifting for urban disguises.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I wasn't going to do this but I didn't really care for the response about discussing the Shifter on the product page, hope they enjoy deleting comments for a week from people unaware of what was happening in the thread. So here's a Warrior for comparison to the Shifter. Is it petty? Yep! But lets shine a spotlight on the poor design of the Shifter. Just assume the Warrior is something silly like some dude working for a mad transmuter and he's disallowed from wearing armor and using weapons. He's not a smart man but he tries his best. He does it.

25 point buy
Race: Half-orc
Base: Str 16(+3), Dex 16(+3), Con 16(+3), Int 7(-2), Wis 9(-1), Cha 14(+2)
Damage (min/avg/max)

4th level:

Feats: Toughness, Weapon Focus (Claw)
Magic Items: Belt of Giant's Strength, Scroll of Beast Shape II x2

Warrior (Dire Tiger form)
HP 42
Str 21(+5), Dex 14(+2) BAB +4
AC 15, touch 11, flat-footed 13 (+2 dex, +4 natural armor, -1 size)
Melee 2 claws +9 (2d4+5 plus grab), bite +8 (2d6+5/19-20 plus grab), rake (2 claws +9, 2d4+5) (35/42/69)

6th level:

Feats: Toughness, Weapon Focus (Claw), Weapon Focus (Bite)
Magic Items: Belt of Giant's Strength, Amulet of Might Fists +1, Ring of Protection +1, 2x Scrolls of Beast Shape II

Warrior (Dire Tiger form)
HP 61
Str 23(+6), BAB +6
AC 16, touch 12, flat-footed 14 (+2 dex, +4 natural armor, +1 deflection, -1 size)
Melee 2 claws +13 (2d4+7 plus grab), bite +13 (2d6+7/19-20 plus grab), rake (2 claws +13, 2d4+7) (45/52/79)

8th level:

Feats: Toughness, Weapon Focus (Claw), Weapon Focus (Bite), Improved Natural Attack (Bite)
Magic Items: Belt of Physical Might(Str, Con) +2, Amulet of Might Fists +1, Ring of Protection +2, Bracers of Armor +2, 5x Scrolls of Beast Shape III

Warrior (Allosaurus form)
HP 88
Str 26(+8), Dex 12(+1), Con 18(+4), Wis 14(+2) BAB +8
AC 19, touch 11, flat-footed 18 (+1 dex, +2 armor, +6 natural armor, +2 deflection, -2 size)
Bite +16 (3d6+9/19-20 plus grab), 2 claws +16 (1d8+9), rake (2 talons +16, 1d8+9) (52/73/95)

The Warrior gets pretty admirable at what he does as he goes up in levels. Plus he has bit of a versatility that the Shifter still lacks.


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Painful Bugger wrote:
I wasn't going to do this but I didn't really care for the response about discussing the Shifter on the product page, hope they enjoy deleting comments for a week from people unaware of what was happening in the thread.

It's certainly a.....novel....way to address customers concerns.

If I had to hazard a guess....they were genuinely not expecting this level of disappointment.....and are discussing what direction to take.

Since my experience has been that they do genuinely care about their fan base....I say let them have the time to get over their knee jerk to our disappointment (just like many of us need some time to get over our knee jerks to our disappointment)....and determine a proper course of action to go foreword with.

Not saying don't discuss the class....I think the more information that's out there about what people were expecting....and why what they were given fall's so horribly short of that....is very important at this juncture, but don't discuss from a position of "butt hurt" :P

Grand Lodge

I haven't got the book yet...I _was_ really looking forward to the shifter class...after seeing some of the threads about it, I have lost much of my eagerness to purchase the book.

Maybe this will spur them into finally making a Pathfinder Unchained 2, so they can fix the Shifter (and a few other jacked up classes)


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I don't really have a dog in this fight, but that fighter comparison might be the lamest one I've seen. It's lame for the scrolls, but it's also lame because in all of these scenarios we're fine buffing the class you're comparing the shifter too but never the shifter?

Half of these comparisons generally assume infinite time and preparation and ignore the fact that Pathfinder is inherently a team game. Can a fully buffed druid match or beat a Shifter in some kind of weird 1 combat death match? Sure. Feral Hunter? Sure. I'm sure we could build a Totem Skald that can do it too. But that's honestly pretty irrelevant in a lot of Pathfinder (caveat: your personal experiences may differ). You're almost never going it alone, have perfect knowledge, perfect prep, or anything of the sort.

There's like half a dozen ways to conceptualize a shape shifting warrior already. The one that didn't exist was the full-BAB one. I really don't know if this is all that great of a class, but I can absolutely see it being a totally reasonable fill if you've got a party of mostly casters or support and needs a front-liner who doesn't want to deal with spells. Expectations not met hand-waving aside, take a deep breath and at least try to remain objective.


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nighttree wrote:
It's certainly a.....novel....way to address customers concerns.

Yeah, you tell people they CAN'T do something, that a sure fire way to get them to do it.

nighttree wrote:
If I had to hazard a guess....they were genuinely not expecting this level of disappointment.....and are discussing what direction to take.

I'm sure they thought we'd all LOVE it. Who wouldn't want a shapeshifter hobbled to make it simple for first time players...

nighttree wrote:
Since my experience has been that they do genuinely care about their fan base...

That depends. Some, like Mark, I agree really do. Some others seem to be more interested in their own vision on pathfinder IMO.

nighttree wrote:
I say let them have the time to get over their knee jerk to our disappointment (just like many of us need some time to get over our knee jerks to our disappointment)....and determine a proper course of action to go foreword with.

They may need to rethink that 'internal' playtest they said they did. Even a simple preview would have shown the level of general discontent with the concept. I DO hope this gives them food for thought for how to move forward in the future.

nighttree wrote:
Not saying don't discuss the class....I think the more information that's out there about what people were expecting....and why what they were given fall's so horribly short of that....is very important at this juncture, but don't discuss from a position of "butt hurt" :P

*shrug* I don't think that'll be possible as the book hits the streets and a flood of newly disappointed people get their pitchforks and torches out to storm the threads. I figure they thought that if the response was like this with a set of people that generally have a positive outlook on the game [enough to get early access], what would it be like with the general player base?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
cavernshark wrote:

I don't really have a dog in this fight, but that fighter comparison might be the lamest one I've seen. It's lame for the scrolls, but it's also lame because in all of these scenarios we're fine buffing the class you're comparing the shifter too but never the shifter?

Half of these comparisons generally assume infinite time and preparation and ignore the fact that Pathfinder is inherently a team game. Can a fully buffed druid match or beat a Shifter in some kind of weird 1 combat death match? Sure. Feral Hunter? Sure. I'm sure we could build a Totem Skald that can do it too. But that's honestly pretty irrelevant in a lot of Pathfinder (caveat: your personal experiences may differ). You're almost never going it alone, have perfect knowledge, perfect prep, or anything of the sort.

There's like half a dozen ways to conceptualize a shape shifting warrior already. The one that didn't exist was the full-BAB one. I really don't know if this is all that great of a class, but I can absolutely see it being a totally reasonable fill if you've got a party of mostly casters or support and needs a front-liner who doesn't want to deal with spells. Expectations not met hand-waving aside, take a deep breath and at least try to remain objective.

You literally can just make a druid that can't cast spells at all, given all the same cookie cutter buffing magic items a shifter would get, the same feats, and it'll out perform the Shifter.


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I don't know what it is, but something about traditionally difficult classes to work with like rogues and monks just draw me...

I feel very tempted to see how far I can go with this.


Painful Bugger wrote:
You literally can just make a druid that can't cast spells at all, given all the same cookie cutter buffing magic items a shifter would get, the same feats, and it'll out perform the Shifter.

Why on earth would you pick a druid if you wanted to ignore the spells and why on earth wouldn't you use your BAB advantage to get different feats sooner on a Shifter?

Pathfinder characters aren't amorphous blobs of math that run into a DPS simulator. Except maybe the Oozemorph.


cavernshark wrote:
Painful Bugger wrote:
You literally can just make a druid that can't cast spells at all, given all the same cookie cutter buffing magic items a shifter would get, the same feats, and it'll out perform the Shifter.

Why on earth would you pick a druid if you wanted to ignore the spells and why on earth wouldn't you use your BAB advantage to get different feats sooner on a Shifter?

Pathfinder characters aren't amorphous blobs of math that run into a DPS simulator. Except maybe the Oozemorph.

I'm not sure there's a lot in the way of useful BAB-based feats to get earlier for someone using natural attacks. What do you have in mind?

For the druid, it's taking a deliberate handicap when making the character to show that the shifter has nothing to offer. Obviously a druid who actually has spells will be even better.


cavernshark wrote:
Why on earth would you pick a druid if you wanted to ignore the spells and why on earth wouldn't you use your BAB advantage to get different feats sooner on a Shifter?

You're not getting the point: He's saying that EVEN if you did something you normally wouldn't, like a 8 wis druid, you out perform a shifter at shape shifting. He's giving the shifter the BEST possible situation to beat the druid and it really doesn't even then.

The shifter has a SLIGHT period of usefulness from 4-5 when the druid doesn't have pounce yet but that's about it.


I have a huge question about the Shifter. Why did it get the random AC bonus but no other class abilities that scale with any stat?

It seems a large part of the problem is wasted power on this for seemingly no reason other than to make the class MAD, as if a natural attack focused melee character isn't already MAD with needing Str, Dex, and Con.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
SorrySleeping wrote:

I have a huge question about the Shifter. Why did it get the random AC bonus but no other class abilities that scale with any stat?

It seems a large part of the problem is wasted power on this for seemingly no reason other than to make the class MAD, as if a natural attack focused melee character isn't already MAD with needing Str, Dex, and Con.

I guess you can dump dex and pump wisdom for when you're in animal form. Problem is there are times where you're not gonna be in animal form and you end up having to wear heavier armor cause of your gimped dex and then you end up with half your wisdom bonus. It feels too spread thin.

I'll assert again. Why not give them a scaling natural armor bonus?


SorrySleeping wrote:

I have a huge question about the Shifter. Why did it get the random AC bonus but no other class abilities that scale with any stat?

It seems a large part of the problem is wasted power on this for seemingly no reason other than to make the class MAD, as if a natural attack focused melee character isn't already MAD with needing Str, Dex, and Con.

I assume the thought was 'well when they are in animal form, they can add their Wis to AC instead of needing the super overpriced wild armor. So let's let them add Wis...'. Great intention but falling down in execution.

Liberty's Edge

I feel like the Wis to AC was added because Monk 1/Druid x was a super common multiclass, even while delaying spell casting. There doesn't seem to be anything that would keep me from multi-classing with the shifter, so maybe they were just trying to pre-empt Monk 1/Shifter x from being the standard build for all shifter characters.


Deighton Thrane wrote:
I feel like the Wis to AC was added because Monk 1/Druid x was a super common multiclass, even while delaying spell casting. There doesn't seem to be anything that would keep me from multi-classing with the shifter, so maybe they were just trying to pre-empt Monk 1/Shifter x from being the standard build for all shifter characters.

The Druid is a heavily focused Wisdom class. The same thing happens for Charisma characters too with Scaled Monk, Oracle, or sometimes Paladin for saves.

If Shifter wasn't giving the bonus AC, I doubt that Monk 1/Shifter X would be a popular build. You get nothing from Wisdom. I don't see Brawler builds doing anything like this.

Liberty's Edge

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Brawlers don't require a +3 armor enchantment to not lose their armor when using their class features. Getting a single decent mental stat isn't hard on a melee class, and bonus to will, and perception means a few points in Wisdom is usually a pretty good investment. Wis likely won't be your highest priority, but the same is usually true with melee focused druids.


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cavernshark wrote:

I don't really have a dog in this fight, but that fighter comparison might be the lamest one I've seen. It's lame for the scrolls, but it's also lame because in all of these scenarios we're fine buffing the class you're comparing the shifter too but never the shifter?

Half of these comparisons generally assume infinite time and preparation and ignore the fact that Pathfinder is inherently a team game. Can a fully buffed druid match or beat a Shifter in some kind of weird 1 combat death match? Sure. Feral Hunter? Sure. I'm sure we could build a Totem Skald that can do it too. But that's honestly pretty irrelevant in a lot of Pathfinder (caveat: your personal experiences may differ). You're almost never going it alone, have perfect knowledge, perfect prep, or anything of the sort.

There's like half a dozen ways to conceptualize a shape shifting warrior already. The one that didn't exist was the full-BAB one. I really don't know if this is all that great of a class, but I can absolutely see it being a totally reasonable fill if you've got a party of mostly casters or support and needs a front-liner who doesn't want to deal with spells. Expectations not met hand-waving aside, take a deep breath and at least try to remain objective.

Not to sound like an ass, but you do realize that neither his Hunter, nor his Druid, had any spells involved in it right? The only reason the Warrior (not Fighter) uses Scrolls is because there's no other way it'll work, and he wanted to show that even someone shapeshifting through a consumable item, with almost no class features, can perform at the same level as a Shifter.

No character in his comparisons (save the Warrior and his Scrolls) goes in pre-buffing, casting any spells, or consuming any potions
He, and the rest of us know this is a party-based game. That's painfully obvious. He's pointing out how horridly underwhelming the class is.

Grand Lodge

Duke of Dosh wrote:

Not to sound like an ass, but you do realize that neither his Hunter, nor his Druid, had any spells involved in it right? The only reason the Warrior (not Fighter) uses Scrolls is because there's no other way it'll work, and he wanted to show that even someone shapeshifting through a consumable item, with almost no class features, can perform at the same level as a Shifter.

No character in his comparisons (save the Warrior and his Scrolls) goes in pre-buffing, casting any spells, or consuming any potions
He, and the rest of us know this is a party-based game. That's painfully obvious. He's pointing out how horridly underwhelming the class is.

While I think the point still stands, the shifter is certainly underperforming, unless I'm reading his stats wrong the druid has cat's grace and barkskin, and the hunter has barkskin.


Keydrin wrote:
Duke of Dosh wrote:

Not to sound like an ass, but you do realize that neither his Hunter, nor his Druid, had any spells involved in it right? The only reason the Warrior (not Fighter) uses Scrolls is because there's no other way it'll work, and he wanted to show that even someone shapeshifting through a consumable item, with almost no class features, can perform at the same level as a Shifter.

No character in his comparisons (save the Warrior and his Scrolls) goes in pre-buffing, casting any spells, or consuming any potions
He, and the rest of us know this is a party-based game. That's painfully obvious. He's pointing out how horridly underwhelming the class is.
While I think the point still stands, the shifter is certainly underperforming, unless I'm reading his stats wrong the druid has cat's grace and barkskin, and the hunter has barkskin.

Ah, that's on me then. Though, I think the AC buffs could be removed, and the comparisons still work out


barkskin lasts long enough that it's pretty easy to have it up for all the adventure day so is worth keeping, but cat's grace is short enough that it's hard to say it's always up.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

For s*&$s and grins I built up a 20th level Shifter. Feel free to compare it to other builds.

Level 20 Human Shifter Combat Block:
Favored Class Bonus: +20 HP

Init: +5
Defense:
AC 50, touch 29, flat-footed 49 (+1 Dex, +7 Wis +14 Armor, +7 Shield, +5 Deflection, +1 Insight, +5 Defensive Instinct)
HP: 270 (20d10+160)
Fort +26, Ref +25, Will +21

Offense:
Melee: +5 scythe +38/+33/+28/+23 (2d4+21) or 2 claws +38 (2d8+16)
Special Attacks: Power Attack -6 to hit (scythe: 2d4+39)(claw: 2d8+28)

Stats:
Start: Str 16(+3), Dex 14(+2), Con 16(+3), Int 12(+1), Wis 14(+2), Cha 8(-1)
Final: Str 32(+11), Dex 20(+5), Con 22(+6), Int 18(+4), Wis24(+7), Cha 14(+2)
Base Atk +20; CMB +38; CMD 61

Celestial Wolverine Form Combat Block:
Defense:
AC 56(54), touch 31(29), flat-footed 52(50) (+4 Dex, +7 Wis +14 Armor, +7 Shield, +5 Deflection, +4 natural armor, +1 Insight, +5 Defensive Instinct,

-1 size)
HP: 270 (20d10+160), 310 while raging
Fort +26(+28), Ref +24, Will +21(+23); +6 morale bonus vs spells, supernatural abilities, and spell-like abilities
DR 10/evil; Resist acid 15, cold 15, electricity 15; SR 25

Offense:
Melee: 2 claws +40 (2d6+18/x3), bite +40 (2d8+18/x3)
Power Attack: 2 claws +34 (2d6+30/x3), bite +34 (2d8+30/x3)
Rage: 2 claws +46 (2d6+20/x3), bite +46 (2d8+20/x3)
Power Attack Rage: 2 claws +40 (2d6+32/x3), bite +40 (2d8+32/x3)
Special Attacks: Smite 1/day (+2 to hit/+20 damage to evil foes)

Stats:
Base: Str 36(+13), Dex 18(+4), Con 22(+6), Int 18(+4), Wis24(+7), Cha 14(+2)
Rage: Str 40(+15), Con 26(+8)
CMB +42(+44); CMD 64

Rage Powers: Reckless Abandon, Superstition

Someone said Wolverine would be your go to form, yeah rage powers are nice but you just aren't going to get the same damage output as a dire tiger, especially when you are not using any attack at 1-1/2 str modifier.

Celestial Dire Bear Form Combat Block:
Defense:
AC 56, touch 31, flat-footed 52 (+4 Dex, +7 Wis +14 Armor, +7 Shield, +5 Deflection, +4 natural armor, +1 Insight, +5 Defensive Instinct, -1 size)
HP: 270 (20d10+160)
Fort +26, Ref +24, Will +21;
DR 10/evil; Resist acid 15, cold 15, electricity 15; SR 25

Offense:
Melee: 2 claws +40 (2d8+18/x4 plus grab), bite +40 (2d6+18)
Power Attack: 2 claws +34 (2d6+30/x4), bite +34 (2d6+30)
Special Attacks: Smite 1/day (+2 to hit/+20 damage to evil foes), Awesome Blow

Stats:
Str 36(+13), Dex 18(+4), Con 22(+6), Int 18(+4), Wis24(+7), Cha 14(+2)
CMB +42; CMD 64

If you get a crit off with your claw then woah buddy someone is in for a whooping. Still stick with Tiger Form

Celestial Dire Tiger Form Combat Block:
Defense:
AC 56, touch 31, flat-footed 52 (+4 Dex, +7 Wis +14 Armor, +7 Shield, +5 Deflection, +4 natural armor, +1 Insight, +5 Defensive Instinct, -1 size)
HP: 270 (20d10+160)
Fort +26, Ref +24, Will +21;
DR 10/evil; Resist acid 15, cold 15, electricity 15; SR 25

Offense:
Melee: 2 claws +40 (2d8+18/x3 plus grab), bite +40 (2d6+18/19-20/x3 plus grab)
Power Attack: 2 claws +34 (2d6+30/x3), bite +34 (2d6+30)
Special Attacks: Smite 1/day (+2 to hit/+20 damage to evil foes), pounce, rake (2 claws +40, 2d8+18/x3 plus grab)

Stats:
Str 36(+13), Dex 18(+4), Con 22(+6), Int 18(+4), Wis24(+7), Cha 14(+2)
CMB +42; CMD 64

Here's your bread and butter right here. This is gonna be the default form all the time.

Celestial Bull Form Combat Block:
Defense:
AC 56, touch 31, flat-footed 52 (+4 Dex, +7 Wis +14 Armor, +7 Shield, +5 Deflection, +4 natural armor, +1 Insight, +5 Defensive Instinct, -1 size)
HP: 270 (20d10+160)
Fort +26, Ref +24, Will +21;
DR 10/evil; Resist acid 15, cold 15, electricity 15; SR 25

Offense:
Melee: Gore +40 (2d8+18/x3)
Power Attack: Gore +40 (2d8+30/x3)
Special Attacks: Smite 1/day (+2 to hit/+20 damage to evil foes), Awesome Blow, Powerful Charge (+1d8), Trample (2d8+24)

Stats:
Str 36(+13), Dex 18(+4), Con 22(+6), Int 18(+4), Wis24(+7), Cha 14(+2)
CMB +42; CMD 64

He's just here for his minor form bonus.

Celestial Mouse Form Combat Block:
Defense:
AC 59, touch 37, flat-footed 52 (+7 Dex, +7 Wis +14 Armor, +7 Shield, +5 Deflection, +1 natural armor, +1 Insight, +5 Defensive Instinct, +2 size)
HP: 270 (20d10+160)
Fort +26, Ref +27, Will +21
DR 10/evil; Resist acid 15, cold 15, electricity 15; SR 25

Offense:
Melee: Bite +40 (2d8+15/x3)
Power Attack: Bite +40 (2d8+27/x3)
Special Attacks: Smite 1/day (+2 to hit/+20 damage to evil foes)

Stats:
Str 30(+10), Dex 24(+7), Con 22(+6), Int 18(+4), Wis24(+7), Cha 14(+2)
CMB +35; CMD 60

You could actually songbird of doom someone with the mouse form with the right multiclass/feat set up.

Feats:
1st Power Attack, Toughness(B)
3rd Furious Focus
5th Shifter's Rush
7th Wild Speech
9th Powerful Shape
11th Improved Natural Attack (Bite)
13th Improved Natural Attack (Claw)
15th Planar Wild Shape
17th Cornugan Smash
19th Dreadful Carnage

I really felt the desperate need for feats. The base shifter likely needs some bonus feats at the same rate as non-fighter martials.

Skills:
Acrobatics +30
Climb +36
Intimidate +24 <---Why isn't this a class skill!?!?
Knowledge (Nature) +29
Perception +37
Stealth +30
Survival +32

Class Abilities:
Shifter Aspects: 23 minutes a day/(Tiger, Bull, Bear, Wolverine, Mouse)
Wildshape: 9/day, 20 hour duration
Defensive Instinct: +5
Shifter Claws: 1d0/x3. Bypasses DR/adamantine, DR/cold iron, DR/silver, DR/-
Wild Empathy, Track, Woodland Stride

Minor Form abilities:
Tiger: +6 enhancement bonus to Dexterity
Bull: +6 enhancement bonus to Strength
Bear: +6 enhancement bonus to Constitution
Mouse: Improved Evasion
Wolverine: +20 hp, Die Hard

Major form abilities noted in combat stat block where I felt needed to be noted.

Gear and Gold:
Manual of Gainful Exercise +5, Tome of Understanding +4, Headband of Mental Superiority +6, Amulet of Mighty Fists +5, +5 Wild Stone Plate (+14), +5 Wild Heavy Wooden Shield (+7), Ring of Protection +5, Cloak of Resistance +5, Dusty Rose Prism, Cracked Pale Green Prism (+1 competence bonus on attack rolls), Crack Pale Green Prism (+1 competence bonus on saving throws) Flawed Pale Green Prism, Luckstone, Druid's Vestment, Lenses of Detection, +5 Scythe

64,825gp remaining

WEW! Honestly this is just a hair more complicated then necessary for new players. After statting up a shifter all I see is lost potential in a great class that could have been. Being restricted to a select number of forms hurt. The shifter claws could have better scaling. Defensive Instinct but it doesn't need to be tied with wisdom, it creates MAD and as we can see the AC of a shifter quickly goes out of control. The Shifter aspects need alot of work, it needs to be more meaningful then just a bonus here and there. The wolverine has the right idea but it's clumsy in how it's introduced into the class. Ultimately I think the aspects should be some form of blanket buff that you apply to your wildshaped and human form. And how would it compare to druids and other classes. Well I can speak on behalf of a combat focused druid I was running around with a few years ago,I can tell you I was doing more damage then the shifter at earlier levels. I still stand by that this is half a class.

EDIT: Fixed a couple errors. There's prolly more but ahhh screw it.


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Out of curiosity, for all the builds of classes that are out-shifter-ing the shifter, what books are being used? Are these builds accomplished with just core and APG? Or ACG if it includes hunter? Or do they rely on several others? How do things look when limited to just core and UW?

Dark Archive

Do shifters end up gaining the Thousand Faces ability of Druids? From a 'fun to play' perspective, it seems like Hats of Disguise are super-popular 'fun' items, and something like that seems thematically appropriate for a class based around shapeshifting.


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It screams "partial wild shaping", such as gaining animalistic aspects instead of normally changing shape, but it doesn't. The Major Form Aspects only apply in Wild Shape... when let's face it, it should have been the opposite, albeit using a Wild Shape usage to do so.

For instance, you must turn into a Bear to gain its Major Form, when you should have been able to become a human with bear traits.


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cavernshark wrote:


Why on earth would you pick a druid if you wanted to ignore the spells and why on earth wouldn't you use your BAB advantage to get different feats sooner on a Shifter?

Because, If you are willing to worship a specific god, get access to swift girding, and ignore spellcasting, you can do something no Shifter can: Wear metal armour. Because that's what really matters.


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The Sideromancer wrote:
cavernshark wrote:


Why on earth would you pick a druid if you wanted to ignore the spells and why on earth wouldn't you use your BAB advantage to get different feats sooner on a Shifter?
Because, If you are willing to worship a specific god, get access to swift girding, and ignore spellcasting, you can do something no Shifter can: Wear metal armour. Because that's what really matters.

This message brought to you by the Church of Gorum.

The Church of Gorum: Go Metal or Go Home™

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