Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Wilderness

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Wilderness

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Wild, untamed lands hold a wealth of mystery and danger, providing the perfect backdrop for heroic adventure. Whether adventurers are climbing mountains in search of a dragon's lair, carving their way through the jungle, or seeking a long-lost holy city covered by desert sands, Pathfinder RPG Ultimate Wilderness gives them the tools to survive the wilds. A new 20-level base class, the shifter, puts animalistic powers into the hands—or claws—of player characters and villains alike, with new class features derived from animalistic attributes. Overviews of druidic sects and rituals, as well as new archetypes, character options, spells, and more, round out the latest contribution to the Pathfinder RPG rules!

Pathfinder RPG Ultimate Wilderness is an invaluable hardcover companion to the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook. This imaginative tabletop game builds upon more than 10 years of system development and an open playtest featuring more than 50,000 gamers to create a cutting-edge RPG experience that brings the all-time best-selling set of fantasy rules into a new era.

Pathfinder RPG Ultimate Wilderness includes:

  • The shifter, a new character class that harnesses untamed forces to change shape and bring a heightened level of savagery to the battlefield!
  • Archetypes for alchemists, barbarians, bards, druids, hunters, investigators, kineticists, paladins, rangers, rogues, slayers, witches, and more!
  • Feats and magic items for characters of all sorts granting mastery over the perils of nature and enabling them to harvest natural power by cultivating magical plants.
  • Dozens of spells to channel, protect, or thwart the powers of natural environs.
  • New and expanded rules to push your animal companions, familiars, and mounts to wild new heights.
  • A section on the First World with advice, spells, and other features to integrate the fey realm into your campaign.
  • Systems for exploring new lands and challenging characters with natural hazards and strange terrain both mundane and feytouched.
  • ... and much, much more!

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-986-8

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Rulebook Subscription.

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Another Great Hardback Update Collection!

5/5

Ultimate Wilderness is a much better book than some reviewers might lead you to believe. You get the new shifter class - which has had some basic errata since release - along with great archetypes for most of the other classes to help them fit into a wilderness-based campaign.

It's a great book to help players prepping to play something like Kingmaker or Ironfang Invasion. You get new spells, feats and a new exploration mode.

The book itself maintains the high quality of work that most Paizo products exhibit. The art in this book is some of my favorite in any of the hardback collections. There are a few updated spells that needed errata, such as snowball.

As a fan, I really like that several of the archetypes convert the flavor of many Game of Thrones characters into Pathfinder mechanics. What more could you ask for?


Lots of ptential, but none of it really sticks

2/5

I was extremely excited for this publication, so it's rather depressing how disappointing the books contents turned out to be.

The shifter class was an interesting idea, but when put down on paper is just druidic wild shape with hunter focus, in the form of aspects. It, unfortunately, never surpasses the druid in the wild shape department, and is, in fact, rather limited, and the temporary nature of all the aspects means that the shifter isn't terribly impressive in that regard either. The archetypes, both for the shifter and other classes, are interesting, but several suffer from massive drawbacks, for little to no gain. Like taking on druidic weapon/armor proficiencies and restrictions, including losing abilities for wearing metal, but don't gain any significant power to mkae up for it.

The new rules expansions are, for the most part, only thrown off by some conflicting skill applications (survival to harvest poison, but heal to take internal organ trophies?) but these are easy to ignore, or fix by homebrew. So these chapters are the most stable and useful of the lot.

One of the most exciting discoveries was the Cultivate Magic Plants feat, allowing you to grow plants that copy spell effects, but the price tag attached to them, especially when attached to something with the considerable disadvantages of being an immobile magical item, makes it entirely useless next to the crafting cost of regular magical items, especially if you have a GM that's willing to allow players to use the rules on creating new magical items. Just for an example, a goodberry bush can fully feed 2 people per day forever... for 4000 GP to craft. While you could make an item to infinitely cast goodberry for 2000 gp if you have to wear it, or better yet create food and water (for about 30000).

In conclusion, the book has a lot of cool stuff in it, but only for GMs. Players won't be able to make good use of many of the archetypes and feats as they revolve too much around staying in a single environment or working with nonsensical restrictions. While many of the feats are just too focused (or expensive) to be useful except to an NPC. GMs, grab it, it's got good stuff, but players will (and should) probably stick to what they've already got.


Everything I wanted from Ultimate Wilderness

4/5

Great race write ups, a fun new class (that doesn't require a ton of source books to play) and tons of information and systems to run a wilderness adventure or spice up the wilderness sections of any game. Definitely happy to add this one to my bookshelf.


Reprinted material, lack of clarity

1/5

First off, I'm a huge fan of Pathfinder. But I'm not a fan of "Ultimate Wilderness." There are a number of issues with the content in the book, mostly the clarity of language. A lot of the rules seem unclear and not straightforward. The shifter is the biggest example of this.
To be honest I was looking forward to the shifter, being far more robust than it actually is. And I understand that this is my issue with what I expected from them, but what built up my anticipation of the shifter was the quality of past classes released by Paizo: summoner, alchemist, witch, bloodrager, investigator, brawler, spiritualist, medium (even if it isn't harrowed), magus, ninja, hunter and so on and so forth.
Past that, I'm not a big fan of the reprinted material because I buy the smaller books. If I'm buying the smaller books why would I want to buy them again with a hardcover?
That being said, I'm still a big Pathfinder fan, but I'd like for future releases to take a different developmental cycle than what "Ultimate Wilderness" received. This book seems like it lacked editing and playtesting.


4/5


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Flutter wrote:
Dαedαlus wrote:
Rated lower, yes. However, it feels like there's almost a war going on between the 5 star reviews and the 1 star ones.

I believe it's the difference between people appreciating the forest or people that wanted that one tree.

Why would I want trees? Nature is so much more than trees!


Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


We're not allowed to talk about the other ones in this thread, because it adds several dozen pages of back-and-forth that the moderators have to clean up.

There have been a few significant issues in the past with releases, to say the least.

Ah, I should have thought that a question like that might re-ignite past arguments. Apologies.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
Back on track, I'm curious to see what spells actually make it into PFS, since the *REDACTED* which was my *REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED* has currently given my subscription and my book the effective value of a lead paperweight and I'm hoping something can be salvaged from my investment in the Paizo line.

I'm curious as to what makes it in, too. Hopefully your favorite spells make it in.

Personally, I'm holding off on buying it until it actually hits Additional Resources. Update speed and... some recent releases... have made it so I just can't justify buying it immediately.


Isabelle Lee wrote:
J4RH34D wrote:
Caleb Garofalo wrote:
A nature themed book and not even one illustration of a Catfolk. Much disappoint, such sad.

Yes... But there is a feat that lets you turn ANYONE into a catgirl if you want.

Orc catgirls? Sure.
Tangu catgirls? Sure (but what does that even look like?)
I think thats what the feat does at least.
I think it may also have mechanical benefits, just as a little icing on the cake. ^_^

What is the feat? :)


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm hoping the 'catgirl' one makes it into PFS. It'd give someone I've been trying to recruit for years a reason to play.


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Riccardo Olivieri wrote:
Isabelle Lee wrote:
J4RH34D wrote:
Caleb Garofalo wrote:
A nature themed book and not even one illustration of a Catfolk. Much disappoint, such sad.

Yes... But there is a feat that lets you turn ANYONE into a catgirl if you want.

Orc catgirls? Sure.
Tangu catgirls? Sure (but what does that even look like?)
I think thats what the feat does at least.
I think it may also have mechanical benefits, just as a little icing on the cake. ^_^
What is the feat? :)

Wilding.


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
I'm hoping the 'catgirl' one makes it into PFS. It'd give someone I've been trying to recruit for years a reason to play.

I certainly hope so, too. ^_^


4 people marked this as a favorite.

I just need to show off Green Knight and get someone to do it in Kingmaker. ;)

Paizo Employee Customer Service Manager

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If you have feedback regarding this book, please feel free to spend this weekend honing your words, putting the material through its paces, and reviewing the community guidelines, but right now this topic is generating too much angst to keep this thread on track.

If you want to try to redesign the class, you can put that in the homebrew forum, if you have rolled up a Shifter and want feedback, you can bring that to the advice forum.

I'll reopen the thread on Monday morning. When it's reopened, remember to be respectful to other community members. Community members include other forum posters, players and GMs of all types, contract writers, and Paizo staff. By all means, critique products, give feedback on what works for you and what does not, but it is not appropriate on paizo.com to lob insults at other community members or creative works. The paizo.com forums provides a place for our gaming community to gather and discuss topics that are important to them, engage with each other, support one another and hang out. Please help us keep the forums a welcoming place for all our community.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Manager

7 people marked this as a favorite.

Welcome back. I'm reopening the thread, but I need y'all to keep a couple things in mind when posting.

  • Be respectful of the community: other posters and readers on the forums, of the authors and developers and of the designers, and of players or GMs who may or may not agree with you.
  • What doesn't work for you, may work for someone else and vice versa.
  • Play styles are not universal, be respectful of people who play or enjoy the game differently than you might.
  • Be mindful of your tone and word choice. Sarcasm and hyperbole can end up needlessly escalating a discussion.
  • If you find a post that is breaking our community guidelines, flag it and move on.
  • This is a Product Discussion Thread for Ultimate Wilderness.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Thank you very much for the opportunity, Sara.

Thank you to the developers for putting together the product in question.

As has been started in other threads, there are a... significant... number of questions surrounding this book.

At one point during this thread, developers and contributors were chiming in and offering insight.

Would it be possible to get the insight and development process for Shifter from the team, so that we might have a better feel and understanding for what design concessions were made on the class and on the archetypes?

Thank you very much for your time in advance.


I could use a clarification on weather rules, actually. Concerning climate, it says to reduce intensity and frequency for cold climates and increase them for tropical climates.

Aside from this, there is a table that lists the baseline frequency with the Cold and Temperate climates. However, if I follow this, there is so little chance for precipitation in cold climate. Was this intentional?

Liberty's Edge

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Mark Seifter wrote:
And the good news for polymorph options-junkies like you and me is that this thread is full of other options that provide us our fix, both from Paizo and some really cool 3pps! :)

Hey - here's one now! :)

Skin-Changer


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Marc Radle wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
And the good news for polymorph options-junkies like you and me is that this thread is full of other options that provide us our fix, both from Paizo and some really cool 3pps! :)

Hey - here's one now! :)

Skin-Changer

Here's mine. ;^}

PainfulBugger's Shifter revision


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook Subscriber

So, I know that for hard cover books PFS legality is usually pretty darn quick, but there seems to be a lot of editing/uncertainty issues with a lot of class options. Have we heard anything on when the resources will drop?


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John Ryan 783 wrote:
So, I know that for hard cover books PFS legality is usually pretty darn quick, but there seems to be a lot of editing/uncertainty issues with a lot of class options. Have we heard anything on when the resources will drop?

They are prolly currently debating whether or not to ban the Shifter's Tiger aspect. All that low level pouncing will make campaign leadership very unhappy.


Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook Subscriber
Alex Mack wrote:
John Ryan 783 wrote:
So, I know that for hard cover books PFS legality is usually pretty darn quick, but there seems to be a lot of editing/uncertainty issues with a lot of class options. Have we heard anything on when the resources will drop?
They are prolly currently debating whether or not to ban the Shifter's Tiger aspect. All that low level pouncing will make campaign leadership very unhappy.

Didn't even think of that. I am mostly interested in the archetypes, I mostly want to play an oozemorph, but the elemental archetype for shifter looks like it would be fun too.

Shadow Lodge

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I must say, I'm very unhappy with how Paizo has handled this discussion.

Banning all discussion until during the initial launch day rush reeks of attempting to stifle criticism, and sell as many copies of the book as possible before the truth about it comes out.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

The truth was already out. No one who was going to read the discussion has been prevented from hearing the complaints.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

They didn’t ban discussion at all, as evidenced by all the other threads about this book and it’s contents on these forums and people were still able to, and did, leave reviews that anyone can read. They locked this specific thread over the weekend (when the mods wouldn’t be here to asses) since it had already been locked with posts deleted twice in an uncomfortably short period time due to everyone going at each other’s throats.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Manager

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If you want to discuss the moderation of a thread, the best place for that is email at community@paizo.com or in the website feedback forum. Please do not derail the product discussion thread with commentary on moderation.


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So I got my copy of the book and handed it off to my sons to look over and comment on. My own review will come a bit later after they get their grubby hands off it.

Now, they aren't multi-decade experts at this or any other game. They are pretty new to Pathfinder and RPGs and they seem to really enjoy the Shifter as a class. One of them plays a druid currently and is looking forward to playing a shifter so as not to deal with spells.

Additionally they were excited for rules for trophies, natural poisons and herbalism as they have been wanting to delve into those sorts of things with their characters.

They also think the races are "neat" and have been discussing the likelihood of an all Groot party.

In any case, that's the first blush from some 13 year old new players. Not the best book ever, but more than enough stuff that made them say "oh, neat!"

That makes it worth the price.


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I guess my first question would be are the Dev's open to discussion and looking at possible fixes to the Shifter (and associated archetypes) ?

I'll hold off on more specific questions till I know if it's moot or not.


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I hope the developers step in to address the widespread complaints about this new class. It's not just here in the Paizo threads, it's pretty much everywhere.

I spend a fair bit of money on Paizo products every year and I'm genuinely curious to see how they handle this. The Shifter comes out at a moment where Paizo is expanding into another RPG. The quality of this new class is not what I've seen with the Vigilante or the Occult Classes (the most recent classes).

For me, this is a crucial moment to see how Paizo handles criticism and concern over playtesting. I will feel much better if I see that they're listening to what is being said and offer some formal acknowledgement and reply.

My greatest fear is that this won't turn into a conversation with Paizo, and that the class will be improved in splatbooks that I have to pay $30 each for.

Whether there is a problem with the Shifter or not, it's obvious that there is widespread public perception that it was not as well developed as other classes, and I am waiting to see how Paizo deals with that.

I want to keep playing PF for a long time in the future, and I hope the level of quality remains top-notch. I think a big part of that quality is for a company to hold themselves accountable to the desires of their playing audience. If this class is not popular, what went wrong? How could that change for next time? I would like to know that Paizo is listening and willing to change.

If this should go into a different thread, please let me know and I'll put it there.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Coffee Demon wrote:

The quality of this new class is not what I've seen with the Vigilante or the Occult Classes (the most recent classes).

You know, and this applies to a whole bunch of people in this thread, if at any point you'd let Paizo know that the Vigilante or Occult classes are held by you in high regard, say, by reviewing the books or even mentioning the fact at any point of your forum activity, they'd get the message that you want more of such stuff.

Telling people only what you *don't* like does not bring them closer to giving you what you like.


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Looking over this book, while I cannot say it is all my cup of tea or perfectly balanced to everything else, there was care put into this product.

My first thoughts looking over the shifter class were not of "This is a good class" or... "this is a bad class." Strangely enough, I first thought: "If we put it through the core conversion rules and change their claws to scale with solarian damage, shifters could be really fun in Starfinder."

Paizo Employee Customer Service Manager

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Removed some posts.

Sara Marie wrote:
  • If you find a post that is breaking our community guidelines, flag it and move on.
  • This is a Product Discussion Thread for Ultimate Wilderness.


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knightnday wrote:
In any case, that's the first blush from some 13 year old new players. Not the best book ever, but more than enough stuff that made them say "oh, neat!"

To be fair, when I was in a similar situation a few years back (relatively new to PF and RPGs in general, but still with a decent understanding of the rules), I had similar thoughts about the Core Monk.

Paizo Employee Designer

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EDIT: This was in response to a post that mentioned that people are more likely to respond with negative feedback than positive, which I think is a pretty important topic for us all to think about (whatever you feel about UW or any particular product) because it's crucial for us not to think of fellow community members as being monolithic and divided.

It's the way things are because it feels more actionable to say something in those cases, since you want something. I'm also guilty of that, even though I try not to be.

I mean, we can take the vigilante, mentioned on this thread several times in a positive way, and turn back the clock to the Ultimate Intrigue First Impressions thread. There, the negative reactions to the vigilante far outweighed the positive, with the main positive highlights being one person who listed it in their top favorites for the book and one other saying it "wasn't as bad as they were worried it would be" until a concerted effort by Ssalarn and DeadManWalking, pretty much on their own, at the end of the thread.

It does make it tough to do an early gauge now that we've started to get negative spikes for nearly all classes on release that normalize anywhere from strongly positive to still being negative but generally less negative after you give them a year, but it's not at all accurate to claim that a group of the same people are just coming in and saying negative stuff every time and are impossible to please. A casual glance back through such threads shows that it's different people each time. Pathfinder is popular enough that there's going to be different negative opinions every time and those who hold them are more likely to express them than those who don't. This isn't to say that you can't get data from this feedback, certainly, but it's mostly to point out to everyone that the reasons you'll see the negative feedback on every release, from the popular releases to the unpopular releases, is not because there's a cabal of impossible to please community members, but instead because the nature of discourse and the mental push to post negative feedback means that in a community of reasonable, smart, opinionated people who are usually happy with things, we will still see more negative feedback. Same reason that if the doctor tells you that you got a positive test for a rare disease and the test only has a 1% false positive rate, you still almost certainly don't have the disease.

Math Example:

I am pulling probabilities and percentages out of nowhere to illustrate this example...but math!

Suppose you had a community where all members were generally happy and equally likely to post, but their general rate of posting about a book was 10x higher if they didn't like it. Now suppose you had Book 1, which 90% of the community liked, Book 2, which 80% of the community liked, and Book 3, which 70% of the community liked. How would we expect the community messageboards to look for these books?

For Book 1, we'd generally see a little over 1/2 of posts (10/19) as negative, for Book 2, we'd see 5/7 of posts as negative, and for Book 3, we'd see a little under 5/6 (30/37) of posts as negative.

Now there is another factor at work as well: Community members watching the discourse might be more moved to chime in with positive feelings if they feel the pendulum has swung too far for the same reason negativity is more common overall; it feels more actionable at that point. Just like how the negative feelings are typically from a variety of individual community members who were honestly disappointed and not some of secret black hat faction intent on being ever-negative, so too are the later-arising positive posts typically from a variety of community members with honest positive feelings that they chose to express when they saw a lot of negativity, not some kind of secret white hat faction intent on being ever-positive. All community members share so much in common, but it's easy to draw a line in the sand and label people as "complainers" and write them off when they have a legitimate concern and were just trying to express it or "defense squad" and write them off when they legitimately enjoyed the product and were just trying to express it. Incidentally, here's some math on a possible interaction including this effect.

More Math:
Bearing in mind that this is even more of an oversimplification than before, suppose that every time a discussion became 2/3 negative due to our model from before, this activates positive responses as feeling more relevant and doubles the posting rate of positive comments (through a combination of a few activated x10 posters and a slightly higher rate of chiming in overall). That would mean that book 1 stays at 50/50, but Book 2 barely activates this threshold and becomes 5/9 negative instead of 5/7, and Book 3 also activates the threshold and becomes a little over 2/3 (15/22) negative instead of 5/6.

Of course, in reality it would be more of a continuous function, and all these numbers were made up, but this factor could make it even harder to tell what's going on from a pure "thumbs-up vs thumbs-down" approach. Of course, the Inconvenient Sequel style polarized reviews is one way to spot an outlier that you couldn't catch from messageboard discourse analysis alone.

Shadow Lodge

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Dαedαlus wrote:
knightnday wrote:
In any case, that's the first blush from some 13 year old new players. Not the best book ever, but more than enough stuff that made them say "oh, neat!"
To be fair, when I was in a similar situation a few years back (relatively new to PF and RPGs in general, but still with a decent understanding of the rules), I had similar thoughts about the Core Monk.

Ah, we were so young then.


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I reviewed myself not long ago, while trying very hard not to overreact in either direction. I didn't feel that the shifter was terrible, but neither was it especially good. It's... solid for a martial class, not exceptional. Looking back, I realize that I was interpreting what was said at the various panels about it through the lenses of my own expectations, and that set me up for this. Mind, in all honesty I didn't want the shapeshifter everyone else wanted to begin with.

Still, to the devs: I loved the book on the whole. There were a few spots of disappointment, but I have absolutely no regrets about buying the hardcopy and PDF.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

So Mark, what about positive reviews of the book that are still critical of the Shifter?

Paizo Employee Designer

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Painful Bugger wrote:
So Mark, what about positive reviews of the book that are still critical of the Shifter?

Oh, absolutely! That's another great example of what I'm talking about: people and their opinions aren't monoliths, and we don't gain anything as a community from trying to put a label on them and treat them that way.


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At the risk of sounding like I'm speaking for others (not my intention)....I didn't think the Shifter was "terrible"....just far short of what I have come to expect.

Don't get me wrong, I don't like every class that has been developed (yes I'm looking at you Gunslinger)...but it's always because the idea doesn't interest me for whatever reason.....just like I'm sure all the new Starfinder stuff is great....but I'm not interested in that setting....so I have not looked at it.

I think a large part of how this has gone, is the very fact that Paizo has historically produced high quality material....but more importantly...they have always kept an open dialog with their customer base, asked our opinions and input....and worked with the fans to make the best possible product.

In this current situation, it feels (IMO) like disappointment was voiced....by a sizable chunk of the customer base, and it's been more or less followed by silence (except for some trying to dismiss the disappointment, and even fewer contributors with no "real say" trying to do their best at some damage control).

If all of the disappointment is met with silence...I suspect the conversation will keep escalating as people (consciously or not) attempt to get a response.

BTW....kudos to Mark Seifter....he never shy's away from at least trying to address people concerns/questions....he almost always rolls a natural 20 on diplomacy ;)


So a couple questions on the Water Dancer, but does Nereid's Grace apply Charisma to the Kineticist abilities gained, or is it solely for monk abilities? Because if the latter applies, why is the archetype designed to make the Monk even more MAD?

Aside from that, I have seen mentions about Shifter's Edge being changed, and I think it's a reasonable thing to do. Level-to-damage far outstrips simple Dexterity-to-damage after about level 6 or 7. However, if they change it to half-level-to-damage, it's less efficient than a simple Dexterity-to-damage. I hope whatever happens, an intelligent choice is made.

Is there a reason that the Rageshaper gives up every Shifter-Specific ability in exchange for some poorly scaling or non-scaling abilities (Invulnerable Defenses makes me shudder)? It would be interesting to at least hear why it was made so poorly. It looks more like a barbarian archetype than a Shifter archetype.

Also, I think this is unintentional, but the Fighter doesn't have a link in the pdf in Chapter 2. Every other class with an archetype subsection has a link except for the fighter. As a side note, the Tribal Fighter looks like it'll be really fun.

Also, this is a really weird thing to note, and it's really kinda sad simultaneously, but why is it the Feral Striker Brawler archetype adds the Constitution modifier to the number of minutes they can use Feral Aspect simply by leveling up, but the Shifter needs to spend a feat to add their Wisdom for the same effect?

Liberty's Edge

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Personally, I like the book for the most part (though I was disappointed we didn't get revised temperature rules...the ones in the core are pretty bad, and those are important in wilderness survival situations). The wilderness stuff the book is actually aiming for seems pretty cool for the most part (I'm not the hugest fan of the Feats thus far, but other stuff pretty much all looks good).

As for Shifter, frankly it just seems kinda boring. I mean, it seems like a pretty decent middle of the road martial, on par with, say, an Unchained Monk...only less interesting and with fewer real choices. Now, given the 'new player friendly shapeshifter' goal, that may be intentional, but it still seems super bland.

I admit that I really don't quite understand people being so upset that it's worse than a Druid...everything except Wizard and maybe Cleric is worse than a Druid. And it seems on par with, say, a Fighter in many ways. Yeah, it lacks a huge accuracy enhancer (+4 Str is pretty much it)...but those are way less necessary with natural attacks and Unchained Monk lacks them as well. And it has some pretty hefty AC buffs pretty much built in.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Please post rules questions in the Rules Questions forum.


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They're barely rules questions, they're questions about bad design, for the designers, which I can only assume falls under "Product Discussion" and not "Rules Questions". Not that I necessarily expect direct answers.


Vic Wertz wrote:
Please post rules questions in the Rules Questions forum.

Is there any concern about splitting questions into so many different threads it's a nightmare to keep track off (both for you guy's and us) ?

Specifically what kind of questions should be posted to the rules forum as opposed to here ? I could easily see this thread as being more for "general impressions" of the book.....should specific questions as to design etc....be posted to the rules forum ?

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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nighttree wrote:

At the risk of sounding like I'm speaking for others (not my intention)....I didn't think the Shifter was "terrible"....just far short of what I have come to expect.

I think more talk about the shifter from the development team leading up to the release would have helped manage expectations a lot. It seems to draw inspirations from things like Beorn from The Hobbit or Norse hamrammr, but it seems like a lot of people expected a full BAB master of many forms.

For my part, it's pretty much exactly what I expected. It's very accessible, easier to build than a fighter IMO, and it's actually very competitive with fighters, barbarians, slayers, etc. across the life of the class.

I think the other "issue" is that the class is super tight within its performance parameters. It reminds me a lot of the kineticist, with a high floor and a lower ceiling, though much more accessible. For example, I assume that hard-locking the shifter's claws ability into claws was done as a balancing factor; two claws will pace two-weapon fighting (probably even outpace it) until wild shape comes online, and going to a scimitar plus a claw is going to actually probably lag a bit behind TWF, but a gore or bite plus a two-handed weapon is going to be pretty significant and powerful. While the claws make sense from the perspective of keeping the class as consistent as possible, it's also super weird to be playing a stag or frog shifter who can pop wolverine claws for some reason. Given that e.g. half-orcs can get a bite with a trait, that might have been an area where allowing the class to choose between two claws, a bite, or a gore might have been worth the performance differential; some builds would be able to do a bit more damage than others, but players would have had the option for a thematically consistent natural attack (simultaneously getting another meaningful choice during character building) which would have a lot of impact in how the class was received, I think. While the shifter is really awesome for new players, more experienced players are going to feel like the class is kind of on rails (it's really hard not to pick tiger followed by owl if you're following the natural optimization paths of the class, for example), which can lead to some really visceral reactions.


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Wildstag wrote:
They're barely rules questions, they're questions about bad design, for the designers, which I can only assume falls under "Product Discussion" and not "Rules Questions". Not that I necessarily expect direct answers.

From experience....I do expect direct answers.

Paizo has always been willing to talk "with" it's customers......that's the biggest part of my respect for them.

It's a big part of what made me move in this direction after the whole 4E/Wizards fiasco.


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Ssalarn wrote:
nighttree wrote:

At the risk of sounding like I'm speaking for others (not my intention)....I didn't think the Shifter was "terrible"....just far short of what I have come to expect.

Ssalarn wrote:
I think more talk about the shifter from the development team leading up to the release would have helped manage expectations a lot.

I agree one hundred percent.....there was an obviouse disconnect between what people were expecting.....and what they got.

Ssalarn wrote:
It seems to draw inspirations from things like Beorn from The Hobbit or Norse hamrammr, but it seems like a lot of people expected a full BAB master of many forms.

Correct....I'm actually OK with the Weretouched direction....the class + archetype is OK for that concept in my opinion. However a base class needs to be flexible enough to cover a wide range of options...otherwise it falls flat.

Ssalarn wrote:
I think the other "issue" is that the class is super tight within its performance parameters. It reminds me a lot of the kineticist, with a high floor and a lower ceiling, though much more accessible. For example, I assume that hard-locking the shifter's claws ability into claws was done as a balancing factor; two claws will pace two-weapon fighting (probably even outpace it) until wild shape comes online,

I really start questioning at that point....but then again I'm not an optimizer. Kineticist has a boat load of options and different concepts it can represent....Shifter seems very limited across the board, and especially at lower levels. I still can't imagine why the claws do not scale with Monk/Warpriest for damage (yes, I know, higher BA....but hey...SPELLS).

Ssalarn wrote:
and going to a scimitar plus a claw is going to actually probably lag a bit behind TWF, but a gore or bite plus a two-handed weapon is going to be pretty significant and powerful. While the claws make sense from the perspective of keeping the class as consistent as possible, it's also super weird to be playing a stag or frog shifter who can pop wolverine claws for some reason. Given that e.g. half-orcs can get a bite with a trait, that might have been an area where allowing the class to choose between two claws, a bite, or a gore might have been worth the performance differential; some builds would be able to do a bit more damage than others, but players would have had the option for a thematically consistent natural attack (simultaneously getting another meaningful choice during character building) which would have a lot of impact in how the class was received, I think. While the shifter is really...

Greater variability of natural attack (Gore, Tail slap, Hoof, would go a long way to helping the class).

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