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


Advice

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PossibleCabbage wrote:


Realistically, if they were to "fix" the shifter, it would be through archetypes, feats, and class options printed in later books, like how the Qinggong, Sohei, Tetori, and Zen Archer improved the core monk.

If they were willing to introduce a "feat tax" they could pretty much fix the shifter with one feat:

Master Shapeshifter
Prerequisite: Shifter base class
Benefit: When using your shifter's Wild Shape class feature, you can use it six times more often per day, but your duration per use becomes 10 minutes per level, rather 1 hour per level.
For example, a 6th level shifter can use wildshape once per day for 6 hrs duration. With this feat, they could use wildshape 6 times per day with a duration of 60 minutes.

Special: If you have an archetype that trades away the Wild Shape class feature for another class feature, you can use these changes in duration and uses per day if the replacement class feature has an hours per level duration.
For example, the Oozemorph archetype trades "chimeric form, greater chimeric form, wild shape, shifter aspect and all improvements of shifter aspect" for fluidic form. A 6th level Oozemorph can use fluidic body 3 times per day with a duration of 6 hrs. With this feat, they can use fluidic body 18 times per day, with a duration of 60 minutes per use. By comparison, the Fiendflesn Shifter archetype trades "wild shape, shifter aspect and all improvements of shifter aspect" for fiendish aspect, which has a duration of" a number of minutes per day equal to 3 = her shifter level"; Master Shapeshifter has no effect on the fiendish aspect power.


pad300 wrote:
Bodhizen, 1) a) How are you using these rage powers without raging? When I look them up on Archives of Nethys, they all have wording like "While raging, up to three times a day as a swift action," or "This power can only be used once per rage." which implies you need to be raging to use them. (exception : Linnorm Death Curse). Not to mention there is this quote "A barbarian gains the benefits of rage powers only while raging, and some of these powers require the barbarian to take an action first."

The very first part of the line states (no rage), and then once you get about halfway through, it states, "(with rage; powers: ...)". None of the listed rage powers require an action first.

pad300 wrote:
1) b) Can you even select multiple blood powers (elemental blood, lesser infernal blood) ? I don't think you're allowed to...

You're right about that. I miscalculated. The proper calculations would be 3.5 points lower for 6th level (38.5 to the oozemorph's 35.5), 11th level (76 to the oozemorph's 45), and 16th level (roughly 92 to the oozemorph's 72). As you can see, it will still beat out the oozemorph; at least for the first 3 rounds of combat (which should account for most combat scenarios).

pad300 wrote:
2) Why wouldn't you include fluid form for this comparison? As of 8th level it has 32 hrs of use in a 24 hr day - which is a lot more than a barbarian can use rage. Fluid form is clearly intended as your "adventuring form", with the Ooze state being your rest/sleeping form.

I didn't "include" it, since you already did your calculations with it. I didn't feel it was necessary to copy and paste your numbers. If you want a fair comparison, you can compare the oozemorph without the "shape" benefits of fluid form to a barbarian with rage, but without the benefits of rage powers. You may then compare your oozemorph using fluid form (and the forms that come with it to a barbarian using rage with the rage powers that come with it.

Of course, none of this accounts for how high a barbarian could go with certain barbarian archetypes.

Best wishes!


pad300 wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:


Realistically, if they were to "fix" the shifter, it would be through archetypes, feats, and class options printed in later books, like how the Qinggong, Sohei, Tetori, and Zen Archer improved the core monk.

If they were willing to introduce a "feat tax" they could pretty much fix the shifter with one feat:

Master Shapeshifter
Prerequisite: Shifter base class
Benefit: When using your shifter's Wild Shape class feature, you can use it six times more often per day, but your duration per use becomes 10 minutes per level, rather 1 hour per level.
For example, a 6th level shifter can use wildshape once per day for 6 hrs duration. With this feat, they could use wildshape 6 times per day with a duration of 60 minutes.

That's not quite right. A 6th level shifter can shift 2 times per day for 6 hours at a time. Therefore, they can shift for a total of 12 hours. Your feat would give them 12 shifts at 60 minutes per shift, for a total of 12 hours. It was the way I was thinking would best fix the shifter issue.

Best wishes!


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

Recalling the book would be absurd, since there's tons of great stuff in it, it's just that the dozen or so pages devoted to the Shifter aren't the best stuff in the book.

We can get on just fine playing Green Knight Cavaliers, Venomfist Brawlers, Terrakineticists, Stormwalker Rangers, etc. without those dozen pages. Just like how the Medium not living up to the potential of the concept doesn't discourage anybody from playing Occultists, Mesmerists, Kineticists, Spiritualists, and Psychics.

Realistically, if they were to "fix" the shifter, it would be through archetypes, feats, and class options printed in later books, like how the Qinggong, Sohei, Tetori, and Zen Archer improved the core monk.

Point of order, medium is an amazing class. I'll take my downtime wizard/condition remover/skill-of-the-day Fighterman/Commander any day of the week over most martial classes.

In a vacuum, each spirit (sans champion and late level Marshal) looks like just a worse version of other classes. There is just one problem with that outlook, your actual party is static from day to day, you campaign isn't. What's needed most can change and the medium can change with it. Also all the silly ribbon abilities are actually very powerful for gathering any sort of information that has to deal with people and gives enemies a chance to explain themselves or hurl a last insult.

It's a great class, even if you get location screwed, the GM HAS to always give you at least one spirit.

IDK what other people wanted, but this 3.5 chameleon revisited works well for me.


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If you're gonna compare the Shifter to the Barbarian, how about you compare them to the Beastkin Beserker Archetype?

The archetype gives Barbarian a choice-locked Wild Shape similar to what the Shifter gets, however the bonuses given scale up to Beast Shape III, which means the Barbarian eventually gets access to Huge sized animals and the size bonuses that come with them, on top of still having access to Rage for an extra boost.

The duration is restricted to it's Rage Rounds, however this arguably makes the Barbarian more versatile, since he isn't as limited by uses/day. Also, said shifting happens when the Barbarian enters rage, so it's effectively a free action buff. All of this, for the low, low cost of fast movement and 3 rage powers.

Is there any way for the Shifter to compete?


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Rhedyn wrote:
There is just one problem with that outlook, your actual party is static from day to day, you campaign isn't. What's needed most can change and the medium can change with it.

Thing is you can just as easily flip that around as a criticism. While you can change from day to day, on any given day you're stuck with what you picked at the start. That means at any given moment you aren't actually really all that flexible, but your class features are still penalized for that flexibility you can't leverage.

And while the needs of the campaign might change from day to day, your party is generally static. Being able to be the party face one day and a fighter the next loses value when someone else is likely going to be the party face all the time.

And frankly, adventuring days aren't always predictable, so you always run the risk of being 'stuck' in the wrong spirit if the day takes a turn, which compounds pretty nastily with the general weakness of some spirits.

The end result often ends up being that you're best off just playing a magical fighter who has a few other tricks on off days.


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I am not great at building characters. That said, here are my opinions on using the shifter.

The weretouched archetype is my jam. Hear me out. This is an archetype that lets you do all of your animal business, for hours at a time, and then also be useful for other classes while you are doing that. Spitefully multiclass into a arcane caster, specifically an alchemist. If you're smart, you'll have enough bombs on hand to leave most of the heavy lifting to the shifter levels. You lose nothing from one level of Alchemist, nothing. Hell you could probably eat even more levels than that since you'll be getting one singular aspect the whole way through. Now, if you are, say, a "Werewolverine" you can stack a mutagen (alchemical bonus) on an enhancement bonus (The hybrid form) on top of a rage (Morale bonus). And you can bring out your mutagen whenever you want, just reach into your pocket with your animal hand and get it. No melding! No mess! Be a Gray Paladin, Aspect Bull, be a gosh darn HOLY COW. Multiclass Gunslinger. Shoot a poacher in the face as a deer-man, and watch his buddies run away in utter panic. Bambi's revenge. Take Levels in Cavalier, oath of the beast or a beastrider archetype or both. Be a dinosaur, RIDING A DINOSAUR.

The Oozemorph. Er, technically, so broken that breaking it fixes it. Paizo, please help. Now, if the oozemorph was functioning properly, it would be a very fancy class. Beef the heck out of your fort saves and you can have a lot of fun just being things. Like troggles I guess. Or a dog. or a lizardfolk.

Rageshaper. Didn't work when it was attached to the Alchemist. Didn't work when it was attached to the Vigilante. It didn't work on a barbarian. The concept of Hulking out then freaking out is super awful for the rest of the party, and frankly doesn't have a lick of anything to do with the shifter's lore. Stop it, please, Paizo.

The Other two I can take or leave.

Plain old shifter. A lot of the animal abilities are fun, the wolverine and monkey major forms are probably my favorites. Picking five is a nightmare at times because I might like the minor aspect but not the major and vice versa. I wanna be a giant monkey holding a scythe. But a bonus to climb, not even a literal climb speed? Eating up one of the only five buffs I get? Bull Aspect is neat, yay, strength bonus! Very good first choice. Now you can turn into a bull. Bull is very much stronk. Not particularly cool though, and little utility. Deinonychus is cool, BE A DINOSAUR! The bonus to initiative is a trap. You won't know you'll need it until your GM says "Roll initiative" and then it's too late. On a hunter, this would be the bees knees. But nope, no soup for you, Feral Hunter/Hunter's beloved pet who could have this on them at all times. Even though the shifter copied all of your Animal Foci, you don't get any of their additional aspects. Same thing with a bonus to perception half the time, and remember, minutes per day, so if you obsessively use falcon aspect "Just in case", you'll run out fast. My first instinct for this and the salvageable weretouched is "Take a level of Feral Hunter".

In short, this is why we playtest.


This might sound radical, but honestly, I think the Shifter as it is right now is unacceptable and that people should boycott Paizo products until they hotfix it.

A lot of the problems Paizo is having with the playerbase right now stem from Paizo's inability to realize that demographics are changing. A class with dead levels may have been acceptable back in the time of 3.5, but not now. Similarly, a martial character being barely useful in combat and completely useless outside of it is also unacceptable.

We live in a world touched by Path of War and Spheres of Might, where martial characters have been given a taste of the narrative power previously reserved only to their casting brethren. The sweet ambrosia of player choice and effective non-trap options is too glorious to ever forget. We will not willingly go back to the sour days of mild-mannered mediocrity.

Paizo may close their eyes and ears to it, but a major faction of their playerbase has begun to actively tackle the issue of Caster Martial Disparity that Paizo attempts so desperately to ignore. If you value martial characters that can be competent both in and outside of combat, characters who aren't needlessly hamstrung by physics in a world where casters can stop time and create demiplanes, then you should let Paizo know in the only way a corporation understands - with your wallet.

To do otherwise is to endorse this behavior of ignoring it's player base and shipping a faulty product without playtest.


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Kaouse wrote:
This might sound radical, but honestly, I think the Shifter as it is right now is unacceptable and that people should boycott Paizo products until they hotfix it.

Frankly, that's ridiculous. Pathfinder can have bad classes (there were 6 years between the core rulebook and the rogue getting replaced by something non-terrible). Pathfinder can have classes any one of us absolutely hates (I loathe the summoner, personally) or would never play (I have very little interest in playing a Wizard or a Gunslinger.)

You're talking about 12 pages out of a 250 page book. If the only thing you'd be getting out of Ultimate Wilderness, anyway, was the new class, then don't buy the book. But "the new class is bad" shouldn't have any effect on how much you get out of, say, Starfinder or Return of the Runelords.

I am not entitled to a new class from Paizo that is everything I hoped for. I am not entitled to a new class from Paizo at all.


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We aren't entitled to anything, but an apology might be appropriate if no decently solid changes are forthcoming for those that followed the 'oversell'?

*shrugs*

...waiting to see what the next title is in the hardcover line, and running the cost/benefit when it does come down.


Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


We aren't entitled to anything, but an apology might be appropriate if no decently solid changes are forthcoming for those that followed the 'oversell'?

I feel like 99/100 times people mad about being "oversold" on something via marketing are really just mad at themselves for believing marketing.

As for "solid changes", I don't think Paizo offering new feats, archetypes, and Aspects in future books was ever in question.

As an aside, we might view the "Guardian of nature class isn't very good" as a metacommentary on how civilization's encroaching on wild spaces appears to continue largely unabated. If the Shifter were really good, there might have been less of that.


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Y'know, I can't argue with that.

The Shifter sucks not because it was poorly designed, but because it can't get enough power to be AWESOME because bad people who despoil the environment touch themselves at night?

Sold.

May have to push my rating up to 3 for that, Possible.

Will have to sleep on it.


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Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
The Shifter sucks not because it was poorly designed, but because it can't get enough power to be AWESOME because bad people who despoil the environment touch themselves at night?

Druid has the same power source though and is generally considered one of the strongest classes in the game. So not sure that holds.


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There was very little power left over for another awesome class after the druid ate too much?


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Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


There was very little power left over for another awesome class after the druid ate too much?

BUUuuuUUUUuUUUUUURrrRRRRRrrrRRRRps


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Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


There was very little power left over for another awesome class after the druid ate too much?

So much power that if he gave up spellcasting he's still better then the shifter.


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I figure the Druids are too busy hunting down all the ex-Oozemorphs teaching "Learn Druidic" courses at the local community college to do much protecting of nature.


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It doesn't help that the Shifter's mechanics are also just plain boring. Not the concept, the execution. Rarely have I been so disappointed with a Paizo offering. Even Advanced Class Guide had a few gems.


Azazyll wrote:
It doesn't help that the Shifter's mechanics are also just plain boring. Not the concept, the execution. Rarely have I been so disappointed with a Paizo offering. Even Advanced Class Guide had a few gems.

I feel like Wild Empathy, Track, Trackless Step, and Woodland Stride are not very useful abilities in most campaigns, I agree. But Ultimate Wilderness is about running precisely those sorts of campaigns in which those abilities are most useful. I imagine separated from those constraints (i.e. this book is about games taking place largely in the Wilderness) we'll get some Shifter archetypes that make some favorable trades for more urban or dungeon oriented campaigns.


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Kaouse wrote:
Paizo may close their eyes and ears to it, but a major faction of their playerbase has begun to actively tackle the issue of Caster Martial Disparity that Paizo attempts so desperately to ignore. If you value martial characters that can be competent both in and outside of combat, characters who aren't needlessly hamstrung by physics in a world where casters can stop time and create demiplanes, then you should let Paizo know in the only way a corporation understands - with your wallet.

I think the beauty of the OGL is that Paizo don't need to fill the niche that the playerbase and more pertinently 3PPs are catering too. To me, the fact there are fixes out there is a reason Paizo shouldn't start to produce martial characters of a different base power level - thus rendering all the old ones strictly inferior.

I like the fact PF is customisable, it's one of the strengths of the system. I also like the fact that new books are compatible with the CRB even though they're coming out years later - power inflation was a problem with 3.5, imo.

Kaouse wrote:
To do otherwise is to endorse this behavior of ignoring it's player base and shipping a faulty product without playtest.

I'd put money on the fact that there was a playtest. Whether an open playtest would have changed anything is an unanswerable question, but it's not right to declare that this wasn't playtested until someone at Paizo makes that statement.

FWIW, they're not "ignoring the player base", it's just that this product caters to a different segment of it than you (and the large number of people unhappy with the shifter's implementation).

I can see a number of valid criticisms of the shifter people have put forth quite eloquently, given the way those posters adjudicate classes. This thread and the product discussion thread have a number of well thought out critiques mixed in with the purely critical.

However, there are those of us who judge a class by a different metric (for example, I have no interest in whether a class is out-performed by another class - evaluating a new class in my case has nothing to do with relative power level/utility of the class compared with the others). That's not an argument against the issues people have raised, but it's incorrect to think that there is some universal, objective standard by which "quality" of an RPG product can be measured - outside of pure production values, I guess.

I really liked the book and am ambivalent about the shifter (although didn't expect to care about it anyway). I'll probably post a review once I've read it properly, but would definitely buy a couple of copies of a similar book.


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Azazyll wrote:
It doesn't help that the Shifter's mechanics are also just plain boring. Not the concept, the execution. Rarely have I been so disappointed with a Paizo offering.

I've said it before but I wanna say it again: The shifter really feels like a 3.5 class.

One of the biggest paradigm shifts from 3.5 to PF was a de-emphasis on frontloading classes and an increased emphasis on build options. Stuff like Rogue Talents and Rage Powers and in later books qiggong monk abilities and advanced weapon training options really helped flesh out classes that had otherwise been pretty bland in older d20 games.

The shifter meanwhile has much narrower options and noticeably seems to slow on feature acquisition relatively quickly (the weretouched archetype even stops acquiring new class features at level 5).

There are no outright dead levels, but some of them come pretty close (though the weretouched actually does at 9 and 15).


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Steve Geddes wrote:
I'd put money on the fact that there was a playtest. Whether an open playtest would have changed anything is an unanswerable question, but it's not right to declare that this wasn't playtested until someone at Paizo makes that statement.

If the shifter WAS the result of playtesting, they should REALLY rethink the pool of people involved in it...


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graystone wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
I'd put money on the fact that there was a playtest. Whether an open playtest would have changed anything is an unanswerable question, but it's not right to declare that this wasn't playtested until someone at Paizo makes that statement.
If the shifter WAS the result of playtesting, they should REALLY rethink the pool of people involved in it...

I suspect they’re aiming for something different from what you’re looking for when it comes to class design.

It’s hard to know without being able to sit down with the designer/developer though. Maybe they think the shifter was a miss or maybe they’re happy with it. If they agree the shifter missed the mark, I suspect the playtesting will be reviewed along with everything else.

My main point was just that I don’t think it’s right to leap to “there was no playtest” based on personally disliking the class. There are people who like it, so maybe the playtesters were just of a different mindset.

Again, not saying that’s definitely how it happened - just that it’s a black box to us and we should be clear what’s speculation and what’s analysis.


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Steve Geddes wrote:
I suspect they’re aiming for something different from what you’re looking for when it comes to class design.

Oh, I understand: My point stays the same as I don't think the shifter hit ANY class design goals IMO. It doesn't do anything new, instead retreading on other classes abilities, just less powerful. It doesn't make it easier, as it requires you to look up the spell, the bestiary and the UW to figure out what the animal gets, what the spell gets and then what you class allows. They managed to make it HARDER to figure out the exact opposite of the stated goal.

So simple shapechanger is a fail: this is what I understand was the 'goal'. It's not simple enough to pass off to a newbie and not complicated enough to appeal to those interested in shapechanging. They managed to make a passable martial, but I haven't heard that as anyone's goal.

Steve Geddes wrote:
My main point was just that I don’t think it’s right to leap to “there was no playtest” based on personally disliking the class. There are people who like it, so maybe the playtesters were just of a different mindset.

I think Mark did say there was a closed and/or in house playtest. And I agree "maybe the playtesters were just of a different mindset": This goes back to my point that they might want to rethink the playtest pool [or it's size].

Steve Geddes wrote:
There are people who like it

I have seen little of this. I've seen 'it's not so bad', 'it's adequate', 'I might play the werewolf archetype', 'it's not horrible'... Statistically, I'm sure there are some people that'll LOVE the class: It seems odd that the entire playtest would and that none mirror the issues we've seen. For instance, did NONE of the playtest question what speed the ooze archetype has or that the base SU power makes no sense? That the fiend one still follows druid restrictions? That various shifter forms don't list basic stats?

To me, there seems like a lot a playtest would have caught, so it makes me wonder if the playtest wasn't a bit of a 'hivemind' with everyone on the same page: without people having diametrically opposed views on an issue looking at something, it's easy to overlook something 'fresh eyes' will see right away. Someone focused on fluff should have picked up on the fiend archetype's issue quickly while someone that likes to optimize and is rules focused should have noticed that the ooze archetype gets BETTER by teaching others druidic to lose your SU power. If everyone looks at something the same way, there is no counterpoints or inspection of assumptions.

Silver Crusade

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Pretty sure things that alter the Shifter came after the playtest was done, since ya kinda need a blueprint of what you're changing in order to make the changes.


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The real question is if this was the after play test product then what was the first draft like?!


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For the record, I like the Shifter.

It looks like a fun class.

Liberty's Edge

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I'm sure it's been said before, but you could change one line and I'd be satisfied with the class. Get rid of x/day wildshaping. I'm fine with the duration, I'd like more forms but can love with it, but the whole "change shape once and you're either stuck there for hours or waste your main ability" is terrible, especially when your other ability is "I have bad grooming standards, fear my 1d4 fingernails". I want to play a freaking animorph, dangit!


Rysky wrote:
Pretty sure things that alter the Shifter came after the playtest was done, since ya kinda need a blueprint of what you're changing in order to make the changes.

That's make sense from what we got but... That's kind of backwards.

Dragon78 wrote:
The real question is if this was the after play test product then what was the first draft like?!

From what I heard, it was MUCH closer to what a lot of us wanted before the directive came down that it was to be a 'simple man's' shapeshifter.

captain yesterday wrote:

For the record, I like the Shifter.

It looks like a fun class.

As I said, statistically SOMEONE had to. I can finally mark someone down in the 'like' category. ;)

May I ask what it is you liked that the shifter does better than the dozens of other shapeshifting options already in the game? I'm curious as I'm in the 'meh' column, wondering why I'd play one instead of x, y or z. Pounce at 4th is about all I can see: then I look at being forced to pick utility OR combat for my precious few shifts and pounce looks 'meh' again.


On the topic of power sources: Druids being a power sink is definitely possible. I'd be more inclined to believe the nature balance hypothesis if I actually believed that nature as a whole powers druids and shifters. But nature is more than temperate forests. Nature is weird. It tries everything it can, and if it works, nature uses it, preconceptions of what makes sense be darned. We have carnivorous sponges, zombification fungi, and uranium-eating bacteria in a world without magic. Expand that to a world where there is massive amounts of power for anything that can tap into it. Chordates and plants are nothing compared to the breadth of nature, why would any guardian of nature ignore so much of their domain?

Silver Crusade

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Rysky wrote:
Pretty sure things that alter the Shifter came after the playtest was done, since ya kinda need a blueprint of what you're changing in order to make the changes.

I get the feeling they maybe withheld half of the good stuff they came up with for future books. I *have* to tell myself that, because the alternative is that with this book, there's been a design or QAQC shift at Paizo that will result in more classes like this in the future.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
As an aside, we might view the "Guardian of nature class isn't very good" as a metacommentary on how civilization's encroaching on wild spaces appears to continue largely unabated. If the Shifter were really good, there might have been less of that.

When did I step into a Captain Planet episode?


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Should we make a list of minimalist houserules to patch the class? I believe that was one person's intention when they asked what minimum changes would make the class palatable. I am loathe to make houserules and homebrews, but when I must I like to make them as simple and brief as possible.

So far, I plan to allow Shifters to wildshape between their selected aspects without consuming wildshape uses.

I'm also considering allowing them to choose to wildshape into any major aspect form at some cost (to keep major aspect selection having some meaning). I don't know what that cost should be yet but a GP reagent or faster wildshape time usage (1 extra hour per hour?) could be appropriate.

Liberty's Edge

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WatersLethe wrote:

Should we make a list of minimalist houserules to patch the class? I believe that was one person's intention when they asked what minimum changes would make the class palatable. I am loathe to make houserules and homebrews, but when I must I like to make them as simple and brief as possible.

So far, I plan to allow Shifters to wildshape between their selected aspects without consuming wildshape uses.

I'm also considering allowing them to choose to wildshape into any major aspect form at some cost (to keep major aspect selection having some meaning). I don't know what that cost should be yet but a GP reagent or faster wildshape time usage (1 extra hour per hour?) could be appropriate.

Doubling the usage would be good (mostly because I hate the idea of class abilities spending gold and what it does to WBL balancing), but you'd probably want to make it more granular than an hour if you're allowing shifting during a wildshape.


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Dustin Heaton wrote:

Doubling the usage would be good (mostly because I hate the idea of class abilities spending gold and what it does to WBL balancing), but you'd probably want to make it more granular than an hour if you're allowing shifting during a wildshape.

Ugh, you're right on both counts. Maybe I'm thinking of it wrong and should instead give them a +1 skills/attack/dmg when in their selected aspects or something to reward instead of punish.


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The best minimal house rules fix is to just play a melee focused druid.


swoosh wrote:
Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
The Shifter sucks not because it was poorly designed, but because it can't get enough power to be AWESOME because bad people who despoil the environment touch themselves at night?

Druid has the same power source though and is generally considered one of the strongest classes in the game. So not sure that holds.

Don't really give much shrift to hardcore optimization, but from what I remember the Druid, despite its power was usually considered a VERY poorly designed class on par with the Monk (and for similar reasons). Took a brief look at the Shifter in a friend's PDF and it certainly seemed pretty good if you're into the whole 'claw' thing - narrow niche perhaps, but I still think it'll fit into more campaigns than the Vigilante or most of the Occult classes


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...I've seen Vigilante and all of the Occult classes played, and they all fit in very well.

I'm not seeing how a restricted-shape unable-to-communicate melee combatant will fit in very well, unless everyone in the party can Speak with Animals/Elementals/Oozes/whatnot


I might have found a solution to the whole "you can't talk while wild shaped" (which is my fundamental problem since, well, we talk a lot).

Friend told me that in the newest Player Companion (People of the Wastes I think) that there's an option to play Mutant characters, where you pick one bad thing and one good thing from a curated subset of the Bestiary 5 Mutant template. One of the "good" things you can pick is "Telepathy with 100 feet of range" which would be *really* handy if you're stuck as an ooze for a while.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Crayon wrote:
swoosh wrote:
Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
The Shifter sucks not because it was poorly designed, but because it can't get enough power to be AWESOME because bad people who despoil the environment touch themselves at night?

Druid has the same power source though and is generally considered one of the strongest classes in the game. So not sure that holds.

Don't really give much shrift to hardcore optimization, but from what I remember the Druid, despite its power was usually considered a VERY poorly designed class on par with the Monk (and for similar reasons). Took a brief look at the Shifter in a friend's PDF and it certainly seemed pretty good if you're into the whole 'claw' thing - narrow niche perhaps, but I still think it'll fit into more campaigns than the Vigilante or most of the Occult classes

See I dunno. Vigilante could still function in multiple types of campaigns even with just the material from Ultimate Intrigue, and the only thing preventing a Psychic caster from joining a game is any particular GM-based hangups related to people using their mind powers to do things while the Wizard is in the background twiddling his thumbs and summoning literal demons and altering reality to do his bidding.

Somewhat related, but the Vigilante really came into its own after the playtests. I distinctly recall calling it terrible during that period because the class could not function outside of very, VERY specific campaigns designed for the Vigilante to function. Then when the actual release happened I was pleasantly surprised by how it functioned in all situations, and only gained extra efficiency in the situations that were originally required for it to function.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

I might have found a solution to the whole "you can't talk while wild shaped" (which is my fundamental problem since, well, we talk a lot).

Friend told me that in the newest Player Companion (People of the Wastes I think) that there's an option to play Mutant characters, where you pick one bad thing and one good thing from a curated subset of the Bestiary 5 Mutant template. One of the "good" things you can pick is "Telepathy with 100 feet of range" which would be *really* handy if you're stuck as an ooze for a while.

Or play a Lashunta:

Limited Telepathy (Su): A lashunta is able to mentally communicate with any creature within 30 feet with whom she shares a language. This is otherwise identical to telepathy (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 305). AND you get Lashunta Magic that includes At will mage hand. ;)

I'm more worried about running into a situation where I need humanoid form and being forced to throw away hours of shifting to do so.

Alchemaic wrote:
Vigilante could still function in multiple types of campaigns

My lone issue with them is Dual Identity and the reliance social talents have on it. I wish there was an option to replace the ability with a single identity ability for those that have no use for ID swapping.


graystone wrote:
Alchemaic wrote:
Vigilante could still function in multiple types of campaigns
My lone issue with them is Dual Identity and the reliance social talents have on it. I wish there was an option to replace the ability with a single identity ability for those that have no use for ID swapping.

The key there is realizing that, as written, there's actually no penalty for having your vigilante identity revealed. And the only penalty for using non-social abilities in your social identity is... revealing the vigilante identity.

I've mentally renamed the class "Fighter-with-social-skills," and just ignore anything that assumes a second identity.


graystone wrote:
Alchemaic wrote:
Vigilante could still function in multiple types of campaigns
My lone issue with them is Dual Identity and the reliance social talents have on it. I wish there was an option to replace the ability with a single identity ability for those that have no use for ID swapping.

Just have them always be in their social form aka waste the dual identity ability. Like yeah it's a slightly wasted minor class feature, but it's similar to going STR based Urogue, you miss out on finesse stuff, but str based still works great.

(though I agree, a very light archetype that traded out dual identity that stacks with every other archetype would be cool, I just don't think it's likely.)


shaventalz: Oh, I understand I can ignore it and take social talents from a super small pool; it's just annoying that I have to.

Chess Pwn: Yep, that exactly what I'd like to see but I agree we'll most likely never see it.

So I can play a Vigilante and I like them overall, I just find it irksome to see an ability on my sheet I'm never going to use.


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graystone wrote:

shaventalz: Oh, I understand I can ignore it and take social talents from a super small pool; it's just annoying that I have to.

Chess Pwn: Yep, that exactly what I'd like to see but I agree we'll most likely never see it.

So I can play a Vigilante and I like them overall, I just find it irksome to see an ability on my sheet I'm never going to use.

Yeah, I'd love to have a few small archetypes that just replace one thing for classes. Right now the smallest ones still touch at least 2 things and sometimes the archetype I want touches just enough to stop me from getting rid of something I really want to get rid of since nothing stacks.

For me it's spells for the paladin, Everything that gets rid of spells touches something else, and the archetypes that I'd really want to play without spells touch the abilities tied to removing spells.


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Crayon wrote:


Don't really give much shrift to hardcore optimization, but from what I remember the Druid, despite its power was usually considered a VERY poorly designed class on par with the Monk (and for similar reasons).

The monk was considered poorly designed because of its low power level and inability to use all its powers, while the druid only loses to the batman wizard at high level play and is perfectly capable of summoning eagles while in eagle form and sending their eagle to attack you (for more eagle than the thundercougarfalconbird)

.. i have no idea how you mean that it's poorly designed the same way the monk is.

Dark Archive

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Chess Pwn wrote:
Yeah, I'd love to have a few small archetypes that just replace one thing for classes. Right now the smallest ones still touch at least 2 things and sometimes the archetype I want touches just enough to stop me from getting rid of something I really want to get rid of since nothing stacks.

3.5's substitution levels or the option of swapping out class features was kind of brilliant, in that regard. Unearthed Arcana, for instance, had three different swaps for each of the eight wizard specialties, and you could take one, two or all three of them. (One swapped out your bonus spells, one your bonus feats and one your familiar, IIRC.)

I like that sort of modular design, where you can get exactly the one thing you want (at a cost), without giving up a bunch of other stuff that may swap out for things you don't want.


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I've read through this thread and a few others, and my disappointment with Shifter has peaked. I love Druids, my current PFS character is one, but I've been waiting for something to fill the gap of the consummate shapeshifter. If there was a full BAB spell-less, animal companion-less Druid I would play it in an instant. So, yeah, I was excited for Shifter.

My initial thoughts were, wait... That's it? I must be missing a page or two from my book. But no, that's everything. It just feels like it's missing so much flexibility that one would expect from a class that can "shape herself to overcome hardships and support those she befriends or serves".

How powerful does Paizo think a full BAB and d10 hit die really are? Really, how strong do we think they are? I looked at the number crunch threads and it seems like they're powerful enough compared to other martials in the lower levels (though 6-7), but they fall off at the higher levels. Unlike Barbarian, Paladin, or Fighter they don't receive any extra bonuses to hit or damage (well, you can get Enhancement bonuses to Strength if you pick Bull, I guess).

But the worst offender to me is that hey have so little to do outside of a fight. Why not allow for more flexible shifting? Why would that be so bad? Why can't the big class feature just be Wildshape? It's already pretty neat, great flavor, the community has been using it for YEARS. It would give the class something to do with their particular shtick during the rest of the adventuring day.

But hey, maybe this is just the base class. Some of the other base classes only really shine once you apply archetypes, and some of them become so changed as to hardly even resemble the original look/feel of the class (Alchemist and your many insane archetypes, I'm looking at you)! So I read through the Archetypes.

Why doesn't Elementalist Shifter ever get Elemental Body II or higher? Why can't you apply your Elemental Strike to your shapeshifted forms?

Why does Fiendflesh Shifter have to be evil (and still revere Nature)? It's easily the most complete feeling Archetype to me, and I won't ever get to play it unless my GM is kind enough to houserule the alignment away.

Leafshifter misses one incredibly important point: How does their Wild Shape work if they don't have the appropriate animal aspect?

Oozemorph!! I saw so much conversation about this one that I couldn't wait to make one! Wait, what's that? No new abilities after level 5?! I mean, yeah, your Damage Reduction and Fluid Body improve, and I guess you get some more natural attacks, but... Seriously? Still, the flavor is still so great I want to make one (plus the novelty of mixing strong manufactured weapon attacks with Morphic Weapons sounds pretty cool, even if it does eat all my GP for a magic weapon and AoMF). Also, why no Ooze Form spells as a part of Fluid Body?

Oh boy... Rageshaper... Didn't we learn anything from Brute Vigilante?

Verdant Shifter! Now we're talking! Looks a little niche, but great flavor! Speak with Plants, Verdant Body is pretty nice, Wild Armor looks like a nice swap with Defensive Instinct making the class less MAD, and then BAM! Plant Shape has a duration of... ROUNDS. We were so close to having something nice. Also, what happens between 4 and 6? Do you just not get Wildshape until 6, or does it function like normal Shifter Wildshape until then, but you don't have an aspect... *head explodes*

Weretouched looks functional, more functional than most of the other archetypes, but... If I'm going to be forced into a single form, I think I'd rather play a Mooncursed Barbarian.

So what happened? I was really excited for this book, and a lot of it is really fantastic. Sylvan Trickster Rogue looks freaking amazing and Green Knight Cavalier looks positively Arthurian. I still love the flavor of Oozemorph and I'd love to try one (maybe as long as we start over 5th level so I can hold regular conversations with the rest of my group).

I guess I'm just disappointed. I was really hoping this would fill a niche we've never had in the game before, but instead we got... This. Just this.

(Also, no Undead Anatomy Shifter or Form of the Dragon Shifter? I mean, c'mon!)


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Crayon wrote:


Don't really give much shrift to hardcore optimization, but from what I remember the Druid, despite its power was usually considered a VERY poorly designed class on par with the Monk (and for similar reasons).

The monk was considered poorly designed because of its low power level and inability to use all its powers, while the druid only loses to the batman wizard at high level play and is perfectly capable of summoning eagles while in eagle form and sending their eagle to attack you (for more eagle than the thundercougarfalconbird)

.. i have no idea how you mean that it's poorly designed the same way the monk is.

Monk and Druid are both very loosely connected sets of abilities with lots of weird artifacts of older D&D that 3E. All three of their main abilities could easily have been separate classes (Indeed, Wildshape Ranger and Cleric are basically that and both are more than playable) stuck to one class.

Sorta like how Druid and Truenamer can both be "broken". Speaking of which, Fiendflesh, Oozemorph, and Rageshifter are all broken the same way the Truenamer is: Unplayable as written due to at least the code of conduct issue.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Convict #24601 wrote:

I've read through this thread and a few others, and my disappointment with Shifter has peaked. I love Druids, my current PFS character is one, but I've been waiting for something to fill the gap of the consummate shapeshifter. If there was a full BAB spell-less, animal companion-less Druid I would play it in an instant. So, yeah, I was excited for Shifter.

My initial thoughts were, wait... That's it? I must be missing a page or two from my book. But no, that's everything. It just feels like it's missing so much flexibility that one would expect from a class that can "shape herself to overcome hardships and support those she befriends or serves".

How powerful does Paizo think a full BAB and d10 hit die really are? Really, how strong do we think they are? I looked at the number crunch threads and it seems like they're powerful enough compared to other martials in the lower levels (though 6-7), but they fall off at the higher levels. Unlike Barbarian, Paladin, or Fighter they don't receive any extra bonuses to hit or damage (well, you can get Enhancement bonuses to Strength if you pick Bull, I guess).

But the worst offender to me is that hey have so little to do outside of a fight. Why not allow for more flexible shifting? Why would that be so bad? Why can't the big class feature just be Wildshape? It's already pretty neat, great flavor, the community has been using it for YEARS. It would give the class something to do with their particular shtick during the rest of the adventuring day.

But hey, maybe this is just the base class. Some of the other base classes only really shine once you apply archetypes, and some of them become so changed as to hardly even resemble the original look/feel of the class (Alchemist and your many insane archetypes, I'm looking at you)! So I read through the Archetypes.

Why doesn't Elementalist Shifter ever get Elemental Body II or higher? Why can't you apply your Elemental Strike to your shapeshifted forms?

Why does Fiendflesh Shifter have to be...

I’m more sympathetic to the shifter than most (judged on its own, I don’t think it’s *terrible*), but this is actually a pretty on-the-nose and comprehensive description of the ways in which I found the class and its archetypes to be underwhelming. Nice summary.

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