Archmage Variel's Guide to the Shifter


Advice

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I've been working on this guide for a little while, and while it's not complete, I think it's reached a point that I'm willing to share it. This is my first attempt at a class guide, so I hope everyone likes it. Please feel free to leave comments on how it can be improved.

Archmage Variel's Guide to the Shifter


The first two chapters are accurate. The half-elf should at least be on par with the half-orc option, but otherwise makes sense.

Feats is where it all falls apart. Combat Reflexes is only necessary for when you are able to exploit AOOs, and the Shifter does this poorly.

Cornugon Smash sounds decent on paper, but without Intimidating Prowess and/or Bruising Intellect, is a very poor choice for the Shifter due to likely dumped Charisma. The same can be said for Planar Wild Shape, since the additional abilities are Charisma based.

Dazzling Display and Shatter Defenses are largely pointless on a Shifter. Also, Throat Slicer's description makes me think of pre-errata Prone Shooter.

**EDIT**

Paizo ate my editation.

TL;DR, Add in Hurtful as a choice for synergy with other Intimidate options.

Survival should be green.

Point out Bracers of Armor as a trap.

Ring of Invisibility is only good for non-wild shaping, and should be green or yellow.

Expand feet/eyes/hands slot for items; they do exist.


On armor, before you get wild shape it's absolutely necessary, and even after (given your limited number of major forms) barding may be a good idea. If you somehow survive to the highest levels wild armor is possible. A dragonhide breastplate is better than half your wisdom bonus at all levels I expect.

There's items which allow communication in animal form. I think the cheapest is the Traveller's Translator.

There's also items which add natural attacks. A helm of the mammoth lord for example. Since PF lets you rack up many natural attacks without penalty you should probably do that as a shifter.


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Think I should remove Dazzling Display and Shatter Defence?


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avr wrote:

On armor, before you get wild shape it's absolutely necessary, and even after (given your limited number of major forms) barding may be a good idea. If you somehow survive to the highest levels wild armor is possible. A dragonhide breastplate is better than half your wisdom bonus at all levels I expect.

There's items which allow communication in animal form. I think the cheapest is the Traveller's Translator.

There's also items which add natural attacks. A helm of the mammoth lord for example. Since PF lets you rack up many natural attacks without penalty you should probably do that as a shifter.

It was my understanding that helm of the mammoth lord did not give you the natural attacks while in wild shape. Am I mistaken?


Good Job So far.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
The same can be said for Planar Wild Shape, since the additional abilities are Charisma based.

I disagree with your opinion on Planar wild shape, while the bonus to hit from its smite is Cha Based which lowers it's effectiveness. (while the damage is hit die based, and goodness knows the shifter needs all the damage it can get), I think that the templates are more useful for the DR, SR, and ER that they grant, as well as a quick way to bypass dr/evil or good.


Archmage Variel wrote:
Think I should remove Dazzling Display and Shatter Defence?

I'd either lower the rating, or do half of the feat in one color and the other in the same color to show that it depends on how and what you're building towards.


Archmage Variel wrote:
It was my understanding that helm of the mammoth lord did not give you the natural attacks while in wild shape. Am I mistaken?

It's on constantly, not activated, and it's not a polymorph effect - the tusks are actually built into the helm. There's no part of the rules which would prevent you using it in wild shape that I'm aware of.


avr wrote:
Archmage Variel wrote:
It was my understanding that helm of the mammoth lord did not give you the natural attacks while in wild shape. Am I mistaken?
It's on constantly, not activated, and it's not a polymorph effect - the tusks are actually built into the helm. There's no part of the rules which would prevent you using it in wild shape that I'm aware of.

I think it has to do with the attack come from the physical presence of the helm ("The tusks of the helm provide a gore attack"), and the fact that the magic item is absorbed into the shifter.


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willuwontu wrote:
avr wrote:
Archmage Variel wrote:
It was my understanding that helm of the mammoth lord did not give you the natural attacks while in wild shape. Am I mistaken?
It's on constantly, not activated, and it's not a polymorph effect - the tusks are actually built into the helm. There's no part of the rules which would prevent you using it in wild shape that I'm aware of.
I think it has to do with the attack come from the physical presence of the helm ("The tusks of the helm provide a gore attack"), and the fact that the magic item is absorbed into the shifter.

That was my thinking and why I hadn't added it. Maybe I should add it with a not that it is red if your GM says it doesn't work while wild shaped?


willuwontu wrote:
I disagree with your opinion on Planar wild shape, while the bonus to hit from it's smite is Cha Based (while the damage is hit die based, and goodness knows the shifter needs all the damage it can get), I think that the templates are more useful for the DR, SR, and ER that they grant, as welll as a quick way to bypass dr/evil or good.

For me, planar wildshape isn't exciting for several reasons.

#1 it takes an extra wildshape to use and shifter is already lacking enough to do anything other than change shape for combat so halving it seems bad.
#2 SR is generally a mixed blessing as it prevents buffs/heals as often as it prevents attacks.

So for me, the feat is only really useful once you have enough wildshape to toss some extra ones away for the ability, which is above the levels I'd likely get to play one. So the color is dependent on your level/wildshapes.


Archmage Variel wrote:
That was my thinking and why I hadn't added it. Maybe I should add it with a not that it is red if your GM says it doesn't work while wild shaped?

I guess so.

Also I'd add in intimidating prowess and hurtful as Darksol recommended.


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graystone wrote:
willuwontu wrote:
I disagree with your opinion on Planar wild shape, while the bonus to hit from it's smite is Cha Based (while the damage is hit die based, and goodness knows the shifter needs all the damage it can get), I think that the templates are more useful for the DR, SR, and ER that they grant, as welll as a quick way to bypass dr/evil or good.

For me, planar wildshape isn't exciting for several reasons.

#1 it takes an extra wildshape to use and shifter is already lacking enough to do anything other than change shape for combat so halving it seems bad.
#2 SR is generally a mixed blessing as it prevents buffs/heals as often as it prevents attacks.

So for me, the feat is only really useful once you have enough wildshape to toss some extra ones away for the ability, which is above the levels I'd likely get to play one. So the color is dependent on your level/wildshapes.

I should put a note that it really should only be taken at later levels when you have a lot of uses of wild shape.


graystone wrote:

#1 it takes an extra wildshape to use and shifter is already lacking enough to do anything other than change shape for combat so halving it seems bad.

#2 SR is generally a mixed blessing as it prevents buffs/heals as often as it prevents attacks.

So for me, the feat is only really useful once you have enough wildshape to toss some extra ones away for the ability, which is above the levels I'd likely get to play one. So the color is dependent on your level/wildshapes.

Fair points, I can see why it can be considered a bit lack luster. I was considering it from both a level 20 build, and the fact that most of the campaigns I've played have concluded about level 16-17ish, where you'd have enough wild shapes for it to be less worrisome.


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It's be great to hear people's thoughts on what good Eyes, Hands, Feet, and Wrist options are for the Shifter, as I don't have a ton of ideas.


willuwontu wrote:
Fair points, I can see why it can be considered a bit lack luster. I was considering it from both a level 20 build, and the fact that most of the campaigns I've played have concluded about level 16-17ish, where you'd have enough wild shapes for it to be less worrisome.

Yeah, looking at it from a 20th level build, I agree it has its uses. I've seen people take it as soon as they could 'because it sounded cool' at 5th and finding out it's mostly a wasted feat* at those levels: It's also one of those feats that doesn't do anything at the level you can get it as you don't have 2 wildshapes yet. ;)

* In the right game, it CAN be ridiculously strong. If foes are focused on elemental attacks and/or non-aligned natural attacks, taking 10 off the elemental and 5 off the physical can really add up to a lot of mitigation at 6th [when you first get 2 wildshapes]. For instance, you can roll right over elementals around your CR.


Feet: Nothing phenomenal that I can think of

Boots of speed: you can activate them before you wild shape
Sandals of quick reactions : ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Boots of elvenkind: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Bastion boots: There's better option, but if you're coming across foes that are maneuvering you, they might be somethign to think about.

And probably more that i didn't include.

Eyes:

Truesight goggles: If only True seeing could be permanencied
Fog-cutting lenses: Great for if your GM keeps tossing obscuring mists and such.
Greater Eye Piercings: See in darkness is nice
Goggles of night: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
And probably more that i didn't include.

Wrist:

Armbands of the brawler: Cheap +1 to grapple, these will definitely become useless later on, but they're cheap to get early on.

And i can't really find any other that would be decent.

Hand:

Apprentice's cheating gloves: I just like the item, not great for a shifter though.
Deliquescent gloves: If you do an extended wild shape time, you can always put these on to gain corrosive for free on your 2 claw attacks. They're just okay though.
Gauntlet of the skilled maneuver (grapple): grapple bonus that stacks with the armbands.
Gloves of rending: more damage on claw attacks
Gloves of twisting vines: Bonus to grapple doesn't stack with armbands, and 1/day you can tie up an opponent you pin.
Inescapable gloves: +4 competence Bonus to grapple, mythic adventures item, you can also spend a MP to negate FoM similar to tetori

I think i got most of the good gloves listed.


Eyes of the eagle are the standard eye slot item. Boots of the cat may be useful for flyers especially. If you're going naked then bracers of armor seem like an obvious choice for the wrist slot.

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There's very little guiding in this guide.

You also don't rate the aspects for the archetypes, such as the elemental shifter. While the elemental shifter is better at weapons, its major aspects are much worse than the regular shifter, which is something you never touch on. The water aspect is absolutely horrible because it gives you a huge penalty when fighting on land.


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Cyrad wrote:

There's very little guiding in this guide.

You also don't rate the aspects for the archetypes, such as the elemental shifter. While the elemental shifter is better at weapons, its major aspects are much worse than the regular shifter, which is something you never touch on. The water aspect is absolutely horrible because it gives you a huge penalty when fighting on land.

The Archetypes section is still being worked on. If you have any recommendations for how to rank the various elementalist aspects or the quasielementalist effect feel free to tell me.


So, out of curiousity, why did you rate the Shifter Aspect for Deinonychus so low? It's a far better option to take than the likes of Eagle or Frog, especially when you're using Chimeric Aspect. Add in that you rate Reactionary blue, and I'm just confused.


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mourge40k wrote:
So, out of curiousity, why did you rate the Shifter Aspect for Deinonychus so low? It's a far better option to take than the likes of Eagle or Frog, especially when you're using Chimeric Aspect. Add in that you rate Reactionary blue, and I'm just confused.

I decided to rate the effects of the minor form red because in order to gain the benefits of the initiative bonus, you need to be in your minor aspect before the encounter starts. This severely limits its usefulness as a minor aspect. Abilities like reactionary are constant, and reactionary is a very good pick for a trait. The Deinonychus minor ability on the other hand has things like enhancement bonuses to ability scores that it must compete with, on top of the fact that it's status as a minor aspect negatively impacts its use as an initiative bonus.


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Cyrad wrote:

There's very little guiding in this guide.

You also don't rate the aspects for the archetypes, such as the elemental shifter. While the elemental shifter is better at weapons, its major aspects are much worse than the regular shifter, which is something you never touch on. The water aspect is absolutely horrible because it gives you a huge penalty when fighting on land.

I feel like the moral for the Elementalist Shifter is that you absolutely never, ever, ever want to use one of your major forms for fighting unless it's a situation where you absolutely cannot attack without a fly speed or a swim speed (or something similar.) The major forms for the Elementalist are exclusively for utility, not for combat.

Elemental Strike is better than Shifter Claws (since, you know, you're a full BAB class) and pretty much comes out and tells you "do not polymorph".


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Archmage Variel wrote:
mourge40k wrote:
So, out of curiousity, why did you rate the Shifter Aspect for Deinonychus so low? It's a far better option to take than the likes of Eagle or Frog, especially when you're using Chimeric Aspect. Add in that you rate Reactionary blue, and I'm just confused.
I decided to rate the effects of the minor form red because in order to gain the benefits of the initiative bonus, you need to be in your minor aspect before the encounter starts. This severely limits its usefulness as a minor aspect. Abilities like reactionary are constant, and reactionary is a very good pick for a trait. The Deinonychus minor ability on the other hand has things like enhancement bonuses to ability scores that it must compete with, on top of the fact that it's status as a minor aspect negatively impacts its use as an initiative bonus.

So you rate it at red, while what is at most a +8 bonus on Perception (most of which are made before an encounter starts) a green rating, and a +8 on Swim checks and Acrobatics checks to jump (which are both invalidated easily by magic early on in an adventurer's career) a yellow? I'm still not seeing the logic.


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mourge40k wrote:
Archmage Variel wrote:
mourge40k wrote:
So, out of curiousity, why did you rate the Shifter Aspect for Deinonychus so low? It's a far better option to take than the likes of Eagle or Frog, especially when you're using Chimeric Aspect. Add in that you rate Reactionary blue, and I'm just confused.
I decided to rate the effects of the minor form red because in order to gain the benefits of the initiative bonus, you need to be in your minor aspect before the encounter starts. This severely limits its usefulness as a minor aspect. Abilities like reactionary are constant, and reactionary is a very good pick for a trait. The Deinonychus minor ability on the other hand has things like enhancement bonuses to ability scores that it must compete with, on top of the fact that it's status as a minor aspect negatively impacts its use as an initiative bonus.
So you rate it at red, while what is at most a +8 bonus on Perception (most of which are made before an encounter starts) a green rating, and a +8 on Swim checks and Acrobatics checks to jump (which are both invalidated easily by magic early on in an adventurer's career) a yellow? I'm still not seeing the logic.

You're totally right about perception being worth much less. I'm thinking orange at best. And maybe an initiative bonus deserves to be orange too, but neither are much better than that.

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Archmage Variel wrote:
Cyrad wrote:

There's very little guiding in this guide.

You also don't rate the aspects for the archetypes, such as the elemental shifter. While the elemental shifter is better at weapons, its major aspects are much worse than the regular shifter, which is something you never touch on. The water aspect is absolutely horrible because it gives you a huge penalty when fighting on land.

The Archetypes section is still being worked on. If you have any recommendations for how to rank the various elementalist aspects or the quasielementalist effect feel free to tell me.

You also don't seem to take two crucial things into account with that archetype:

1) You can use weapons while polymorphed as an elemental.

2) There's a huge mistake with the archetype that isn't addressed. The archetype was printed without telling what the bonus energy damage is. While it's safe to assume earth=acid, fire=fire, water=cold, and air=electricity, it's a good idea to at least mention you're making this assumption.

Elemental Ratings:

Air: Great. You get a great fly speed at a relatively early level, aerial enemies have a harder time hitting you, and you have no penalties whatsoever. The only downside is that the minor aspect will be useless if you get a belt of Dexterity.

Earth: Middling. While it reduces your speed, it gives you new mobility options and a +1/+1 bonus on ground enemies. The penalty against aerial and aqua enemies is bad, but manageable. Acid damage is also nice (assuming that's the energy type they get).

Fire: Good. Awesome mobility and burn is really good. Cold vulnerability is bad and the energy type is resisted, but the form is still useful even against enemies resistant or immune to fire due to fire immunity.

Water: Very bad. This is the only form that almost always leaves you worse off than before due to the penalty when attacking grounded enemies. It also hurts your movement speed. The only perks this form has only work in the water.

Ash Storm (air, fire)
Good. While the ability only works against ranged attacks, it's still a useful defensive buff. Fire and air is also a great combination that gives you plenty of offensive power and mobility both on the ground and in the air.

Downpour (air, water)
Bad. The effect is really situational. The water element major aspect also cripples the air element by giving you a penalty against grounded enemies.

Mudslide (earth, water)
Good. Difficult terrain that moves with you not only greatly increases your area control, but also it's a cool visual. However, never combine the major aspects! It will give you a big penalty against all types of enemies.

Sandstorm (air, earth)
Middling. While the continual damage is interesting, net benefits are worse than ash storm.

Steam Cloud (fire, water)
Good. Useful effect, but don't combine the major forms.

Volcanic Stride (earth, fire)
Middling. This would be amazing for creating traps and special terrain but it's not clear whether the shifter keeps minor aspects while assuming a major form. Regardless, fire and earth is a good combination.


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Cyrad wrote:


1) You can use weapons while polymorphed as an elemental.

Are you sure about this?


Archmage Variel wrote:
Cyrad wrote:


1) You can use weapons while polymorphed as an elemental.
Are you sure about this?

the elemental subtype says that they can get weapon proficiency when they have a human like shape.

while you do not get the subtype, you do get features such as functioning hands. which are implied by the weapon proficiency.


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Cyrad wrote:
1) You can use weapons while polymorphed as an elemental.

You can use weapons, you just lose your elemental strike damage with them since "An elementalist shifter can’t use elemental strike while under a polymorph effect."

And wild shape functions as elemental body 1.

Silver Crusade

Talking about this with another guide writer, This seems like an interesting start, but there's a lot of ground left to cover. A few things stood out to me; defensive instinct doesn't seem blue (****) at all; it's a decent AC boost, but does nothing to push the class forward. I'd say the same for chimeric aspect and greater chimeric aspect, since at least from what I've seen, there's no greatly powerful combinations (this is also combined with the painfully short duration making combinations only viable in the short term).

What I'd say is missing most though is a section talking about what the shifter can actually do. This guide talks about building them, but I don't know how from what I've read. Include a section that talks about strength builds, speed builds, what wild shape can do for versatility, and the different 'roles' one can fulfill with the class. It's also worth talking about what the class cannot do, such as being a competent ranged unit (at least through what its class features provide).

There's a lot of ratings, but once you get up some builds and such talking about what can be done with the chassis, I think the guide will be a lot more useful to newer players.


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N. Jolly wrote:

Talking about this with another guide writer, This seems like an interesting start, but there's a lot of ground left to cover. A few things stood out to me; defensive instinct doesn't seem blue (****) at all; it's a decent AC boost, but does nothing to push the class forward. I'd say the same for chimeric aspect and greater chimeric aspect, since at least from what I've seen, there's no greatly powerful combinations (this is also combined with the painfully short duration making combinations only viable in the short term).

What I'd say is missing most though is a section talking about what the shifter can actually do. This guide talks about building them, but I don't know how from what I've read. Include a section that talks about strength builds, speed builds, what wild shape can do for versatility, and the different 'roles' one can fulfill with the class. It's also worth talking about what the class cannot do, such as being a competent ranged unit (at least through what its class features provide).

There's a lot of ratings, but once you get up some builds and such talking about what can be done with the chassis, I think the guide will be a lot more useful to newer players.

Thanks for the tips! I'll make sure to add that stuff in. I have a section all the way at the bottom listing the stuff I still need to add to the guide.


The other guide writer here, and I think my big suggestion would be that while the guide has a lot of ratings, there's very little elaboration given. I agree with N. Jolly on Defensive Instinct, but I might be less inclined if you explained why it earned a blue rating. Similarly, you call the Deinonychus a good combat form, but don't actually explain the reason why it's a good combat form. To be sure, I know, as I'm sure do the majority of veteran players, that a cluster of natural attacks paired with pounce and a Dex boost is a beautiful and deadly thing, but someone reading might not. This is a thing for guides in general, I feel, but especially considering that you're tackling a class designed for beginners, it even moreso necessitates an understanding of the benefits and drawbacks of class features and options.

Scarab Sages

It may be worth mentioning that the Elementalist Shifter can actually really benefit from Combat Reflexes because you can swift-action enhance your weapon to make reach tactics particularly damaging (each AoO gets your Elemental Strike damage).

Oh, and the Air element only further aids this ability by increasing Dex. and providing flight (which can put in you in a prime position to attack).


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Cyrad wrote:

There's very little guiding in this guide.

You also don't rate the aspects for the archetypes, such as the elemental shifter. While the elemental shifter is better at weapons, its major aspects are much worse than the regular shifter, which is something you never touch on. The water aspect is absolutely horrible because it gives you a huge penalty when fighting on land.

I feel like the moral for the Elementalist Shifter is that you absolutely never, ever, ever want to use one of your major forms for fighting unless it's a situation where you absolutely cannot attack without a fly speed or a swim speed (or something similar.) The major forms for the Elementalist are exclusively for utility, not for combat.

Elemental Strike is better than Shifter Claws (since, you know, you're a full BAB class) and pretty much comes out and tells you "do not polymorph".

Yep, major forms are for utility ONLY: As soon as combat starts, the first thing they should do is exit it and take an actual useful form.

For those wondering why, they lose elemental strike and only gain a single natural attack. Anyway you look at it, they get a dramatic loss of damage as the 'benefit' of having a major form in combat.


graystone wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Cyrad wrote:

There's very little guiding in this guide.

You also don't rate the aspects for the archetypes, such as the elemental shifter. While the elemental shifter is better at weapons, its major aspects are much worse than the regular shifter, which is something you never touch on. The water aspect is absolutely horrible because it gives you a huge penalty when fighting on land.

I feel like the moral for the Elementalist Shifter is that you absolutely never, ever, ever want to use one of your major forms for fighting unless it's a situation where you absolutely cannot attack without a fly speed or a swim speed (or something similar.) The major forms for the Elementalist are exclusively for utility, not for combat.

Elemental Strike is better than Shifter Claws (since, you know, you're a full BAB class) and pretty much comes out and tells you "do not polymorph".

Yep, major forms are for utility ONLY: As soon as combat starts, the first thing they should do is exit it and take an actual useful form.

For those wondering why, they lose elemental strike and only gain a single natural attack. Anyway you look at it, they get a dramatic loss of damage as the 'benefit' of having a major form in combat.

so the take away her is that actually shifting is bad for shifters.

I came to this guide because i was confused- what do the shiftérs actually... do?

They appear to be intended to be a full BAB shape shifter class, but i cannot see much that would actually make them good atthat. I do not see attack damage bonuses outside of the enhancement bonuses to stats (and i never count those mechanics as other than than a band aid- they are a mechanic that is made obsolete by a-magic item that pretty much everyone has; nice for hunters since it saves on the second belt, but not much else.). This advisement against the major form seems to-tell me that I am correct in reading that shifters do not get the normal size bonuses of other-shape shifters.-

So what does this have that a melee druid lacks? or that one spell less alchemist archetype? And i mean the base shifter- the elemental gets a pass with its heavy bonus damage (they can even get multipleelements to try to get past resistances)


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lemeres wrote:
graystone wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
Cyrad wrote:

There's very little guiding in this guide.

You also don't rate the aspects for the archetypes, such as the elemental shifter. While the elemental shifter is better at weapons, its major aspects are much worse than the regular shifter, which is something you never touch on. The water aspect is absolutely horrible because it gives you a huge penalty when fighting on land.

I feel like the moral for the Elementalist Shifter is that you absolutely never, ever, ever want to use one of your major forms for fighting unless it's a situation where you absolutely cannot attack without a fly speed or a swim speed (or something similar.) The major forms for the Elementalist are exclusively for utility, not for combat.

Elemental Strike is better than Shifter Claws (since, you know, you're a full BAB class) and pretty much comes out and tells you "do not polymorph".

Yep, major forms are for utility ONLY: As soon as combat starts, the first thing they should do is exit it and take an actual useful form.

For those wondering why, they lose elemental strike and only gain a single natural attack. Anyway you look at it, they get a dramatic loss of damage as the 'benefit' of having a major form in combat.

so the take away her is that actually shifting is bad for shifters.

I came to this guide because i was confused- what do the shiftérs actually... do?

They appear to be intended to be a full BAB shape shifter class, but i cannot see much that would actually make them good atthat. I do not see attack damage bonuses outside of the enhancement bonuses to stats (and i never count those mechanics as other than than a band aid- they are a mechanic that is made obsolete by a-magic item that pretty much everyone has; nice for hunters since it saves on the second belt, but not much else.). This advisement against the major form seems to-tell me that I am correct in reading that shifters do not get the normal size bonuses of...

The advisement against major forms pertains purely to the Elementalist archetype. If you're using the base shifter, you should be in your major combat form whenever you're in combat. As for what makes the shifter a better melee combatant than the druid, as I go into in the guide, the druid really is a better shifted melee combatant over the shifter. The main reason I recommend instead becoming a shifter is primarily for thematic reasons, like the ability to turn into an amalgamation of animal forms.


Shifting is fine for unarchetyped shifters (the Deinonychus builds that get early pounce and make a bunch of natural attacks do good damage.) Shifting is mandatory for Oozemorphs, since you're basically helpless without it (even if the thing you want to shift into is, like, a human). It's just that the Elementalist is uniquely discouraged from shifting because the whole "swift action to add (1+Int(Level/4))d6 to all of your attacks until your next turn" is kind of the strongest thing the archetype gets.


lemeres wrote:
This advisement against the major form seems to-tell me that I am correct in reading that shifters do not get the normal size bonuses of other-shape shifters.-

That only applies to elemental archetype, in addition shifters do get the size bonuses other shapeshifters get.


Fair enough, but my point still stands- usually, telling a druid to not wildshape is crazy, since that is their main attack booster. This began to clue me into the fact that the main class doesn't have much other than 'a bunch of natural attacks, and maybe a pounce'.

I guess the elemental one is the only one that seems really useful- kind of like a Full bab kineticist, but with a flavor tending towards 'adding element to weapon' rather than 'lightsaber'. The average damage is enough to be a challenge like mechanic, and while it faces resistances, it can get all four of the main elements to try to avoid those.

I can fully accept a multi-element warrior with a slight bit of utility abilities like flight.


Before I parts ways for the night.
For eventual builds I submit my Kitsooze.

Kitsooze:
Kitsune oozemorph

Starting Stats:
25 PB
Str 11 (13-2)
Dex 19 (17+2)
Con 14
Int 11
Wis 15
Cha 9 (7+2)

Level Up bonuses
Level 4: Dex
Level 8: Wis
Level 12: Dex
Level 16: Dex
Level 20: Dex (int if you really want to, just makes the +5 book not worth it for dex)

Eventually +6 belt to all physical, +6 headband to wis, +5 manual to dex, +4 tome to wis
Traits:
Reactionary
Indomitable Faith

Feats
Level 1: Exotic Weapon Prof (Falcata)
Level 3: Two-Weapon Fighting
Level 5: Weapon Finesse
(Effortless lace would be a nice buy about now with your 10500gp wbl (5k for two laces))

Level 7: Improved Two-Weapon Fighting
Level 9: Power attack
(belt of +2 str and dex min by now or at least +2 str) (If you're not allowed agile enchant take slashing grace now and two-weapon grace next level or as a training enchant on your weapon)

Level 11: Greater Two-Weapon Fighting
Level 13: Improved Natural Attack (Morphic Weaponry) (Agile AoMF please)
Level 15: Iron Will
Level 17: Improved Critical (Falcata)
Level 19: Weapon Focus (Falcata)

With no enhancement bonuses or power attack the attacks look like
Main: 30/25/20/15 1d8 +11
Off: 30/25/20 1d8 +5
Morphic: 26/26/26/26 1d8 +5

It's a meh build, someone could probably do a better job than I can with it, I'll look it over when I have time tomorrow and see if I can improve it but for now, sleep calls.

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For a dex based shifter (with weapon finesse, obviously), Piranha strike is a good alternative to power attack, doesn't require you to have 13 str.

Traits: There's a combat trait from Quests & Campaigns called Vengeful that gives you a +1 dmg bonus against the last creature to damage you, which isn't terrible if you have lots of natural attacks.


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Tomppa wrote:

For a dex based shifter (with weapon finesse, obviously), Piranha strike is a good alternative to power attack, doesn't require you to have 13 str.

Traits: There's a combat trait from Quests & Campaigns called Vengeful that gives you a +1 dmg bonus against the last creature to damage you, which isn't terrible if you have lots of natural attacks.

Piranha strike would be great if RAW it worked with primary natural attacks, but currently that's not how it works. Otherwise I'd have put it in as well.

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Archmage Variel wrote:
Tomppa wrote:

For a dex based shifter (with weapon finesse, obviously), Piranha strike is a good alternative to power attack, doesn't require you to have 13 str.

Traits: There's a combat trait from Quests & Campaigns called Vengeful that gives you a +1 dmg bonus against the last creature to damage you, which isn't terrible if you have lots of natural attacks.

Piranha strike would be great if RAW it worked with primary natural attacks, but currently that's not how it works. Otherwise I'd have put it in as well.

As per weapon finesse, Natural weapons count as light weapons, so it does actually work with primary natural weapons. (not to mention that since the bonus is halved for secondary natural attacks, it's kinda obviously ment to work with primaries as well)

Edit - unless there's some faq/errata that I'm not aware of


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Tomppa wrote:
Archmage Variel wrote:
Tomppa wrote:

For a dex based shifter (with weapon finesse, obviously), Piranha strike is a good alternative to power attack, doesn't require you to have 13 str.

Traits: There's a combat trait from Quests & Campaigns called Vengeful that gives you a +1 dmg bonus against the last creature to damage you, which isn't terrible if you have lots of natural attacks.

Piranha strike would be great if RAW it worked with primary natural attacks, but currently that's not how it works. Otherwise I'd have put it in as well.

As per weapon finesse, Natural weapons count as light weapons, so it does actually work with primary natural weapons. (not to mention that since the bonus is halved for secondary natural attacks, it's kinda obviously ment to work with primaries as well)

Edit - unless there's some faq/errata that I'm not aware of

I'll look into this and make sure to update the guide.


Archmage Variel wrote:
like the ability to turn into an amalgamation of animal forms.

I don't think the shifter can do this. They can only have 1 form on at a time.

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Chess Pwn wrote:
Archmage Variel wrote:
like the ability to turn into an amalgamation of animal forms.
I don't think the shifter can do this. They can only have 1 form on at a time.

They can have 1 minor form at level 1, and they get wild shape (major form) at level 4 - they can have both forms at the same time. I think the description is pretty accurate, and starting at level 9 they get the ability to have two (and later three) minor forms active.


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Tomppa wrote:


They can have 1 minor form at level 1, and they get wild shape (major form) at level 4 - they can have both forms at the same time. I think the description is pretty accurate, and starting at level 9 they get the ability to have two (and later three) minor forms active.

While you're describing their abilities correctly mechanically, I'm not sure it's entirely honest to call turning into a bear with a bonus to stealth checks "the ability to turn into an amalgamation of animal forms."

It's a serious stretch.


swoosh wrote:


While you're describing their abilities correctly mechanically, I'm not sure it's entirely honest to call turning into a bear with a bonus to stealth checks "the ability to turn into an amalgamation of animal forms."

It's a serious stretch.

Do we have to be this pedantic? It's flavouring. Maybe he's picturing taking on a physical aspect (Oh look, there's the word in the ability name)of the minor form as well. Sounds like an amalgamation to me.

Back to the topic at hand: Well written guide! I'm excited to see what you have to say about the Weretouched archetype.


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Kiesman wrote:
swoosh wrote:


While you're describing their abilities correctly mechanically, I'm not sure it's entirely honest to call turning into a bear with a bonus to stealth checks "the ability to turn into an amalgamation of animal forms."

It's a serious stretch.

Do we have to be this pedantic? It's flavouring. Maybe he's picturing taking on a physical aspect (Oh look, there's the word in the ability name)of the minor form as well. Sounds like an amalgamation to me.

Back to the topic at hand: Well written guide! I'm excited to see what you have to say about the Weretouched archetype.

I'm glad you like the guide! The weretouched was actually the archetype I've been most excited to write about with the Shifter. It's a really interesting and fun variant of the class.

Also. I'd be interesting to hear what ranks people would give to the various leafshifter aspects. I'm having trouble deciding on ranks for each individual one.
Anyone have any suggestions for my weretouched analysis? Anything in particular I should look at?

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