Changes to the Shifter


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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First, the attention to feedback, openness to criticism, and willingness to make changes are all greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Second, regarding concerns of power creep, have you compared the shifter to the Moon-cursed barbarian archetype. It grants a modified beast shape into a specific animal at level one, the d12 HD, a hybrid form at 5th level, and the benefit of rage powers. This archetype is also Society Legal.

Simply from an RP perspective, the archetype grants the amazing benefit of being a tiger from level one.

How do you feel the shifter class stacks up against the archetype?


I feel the core difference between the Shifter and the Moon-cursed barb is that the Barbarian is much more limited by "rounds of rage" than the Shifter (at least in theory) is limited by "access to wild-shape" (now measured in hours) and that probably matters.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Fourshadow wrote:

Well, they admitted what I had suspected: Starfinder was an issue. It occupied too much attention and this product suffered as a result. I would prefer that never happen again. Thank you for the frankness of your answer, Mr. Bulmahn.

I like the changes and the only other thing I would change is to give the Shifter TWO aspects upon creation at 1st level. To be stuck with one until 5th level was the only real issue I had with the class.

Sort of similar to that, would it be an issue for a Shifter to get access to all aspects starting at first level, and then only choose what aspect to use on a daily basis based on the current restrictions? It keeps new players from being locked into an aspect they picked at level 1 that they thought would be fun but turns out to just not work properly, and it doesn't force someone to pick new things every day if someone has a set of aspects that works.


Fourshadow wrote:

Well, they admitted what I had suspected: Starfinder was an issue. It occupied too much attention and this product suffered as a result. I would prefer that never happen again. Thank you for the frankness of your answer, Mr. Bulmahn.

I like the changes and the only other thing I would change is to give the Shifter TWO aspects upon creation at 1st level. To be stuck with one until 5th level was the only real issue I had with the class.

This and a bit more variety to the aspects, and pushing forwards when you gain some of the later choices could all help alleviate the lack of versatility while still keeping with the class's design. For example: 2 at 1st, and an additional at 5th and every 4 thereafter. A small tweak, but a helpful one. It would also help to mitigate the sting of some minor aspects being negated by some of the most common items in the game.


Thanks for addressing the Shifter Jason! I hope that we didn't bother you guys too much with our original reactions to the class. XD

I think that giving the Shifter more uses of wildshape per day goes a long way towards balancing it. Having it based on both level and ability score mod means that multiclass shifters should be more viable now as well!

I don't know what the other changes you are planning for the class are, but personally I would suggest filling in some of the Shifter's dead levels with 'flavor' abilities that are useful for both it and its current archetypes. For example: I would love to play the 'lycanthrope' shifter archetype, but it seems to gain very few abilities past level 5. :)


Well with the changes, levels 6th and 18th are dead levels. Even more if consider that the monk class's AC bonus is not list among it's many class abilities but is listed like BA and saves. So you could add 4th, 8th, 12th, and 16th as well. Also the claw increase could be listed the same way like a monk's unarmed strike and AC. So then you would have empty levels at 4th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 11th-13th, and 16th-19th.


Dragon78 wrote:
Well with the changes, levels 6th and 18th are dead levels. Even more if consider that the monk class's AC bonus is not list among it's many class abilities but is listed like BA and saves. So you could add 4th, 8th, 12th, and 16th as well. Also the claw increase could be listed the same way like a monk's unarmed strike and AC. So then you would have empty levels at 4th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 11th-13th, and 16th-19th.

I don't think that's completely right, the shifter gains wildshape at 4th level for example. Still, this dead levels thing has been my biggest issue with the shifter from the start. I know space is an issue, so it'll be interesting to see if Paizo can fix this somehow :)


Starfinder Superscriber

Still looks cool!


Dragon78 wrote:
Well with the changes, levels 6th and 18th are dead levels. Even more if consider that the monk class's AC bonus is not list among it's many class abilities but is listed like BA and saves. So you could add 4th, 8th, 12th, and 16th as well. Also the claw increase could be listed the same way like a monk's unarmed strike and AC. So then you would have empty levels at 4th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 11th-13th, and 16th-19th.

4 gives you wild shape and that's your main feature and 8 is your first wildshape upgrade. Definitely not dead.

Though if you want crazy dead levels, if you discount scaling bonuses to defenses and claws, the Weretouched shifter has 13 of them!


swoosh wrote:
8 is your first wildshape upgrade.

What upgrade would that be? The only class features I'm seeing for 8 on the table is Defensive Instinct's bonus to AC/CMD going from +1 to +2 and getting your 3rd use of Wild Shape. The former of which is just incrementing a bonus and the latter no longer applies with the new FAQ.


It's not on the table but your major form gets upgraded at 8 and 15.

They range in excitement from two rage powers at 8 (for wolverine) to +4 to acrobatics only while jumping (for stag), but I wouldn't call those dead spots either.


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swoosh wrote:
dead levels, if you discount scaling bonuses to defenses and claws (...)

The "Designing Classes" section in the ACG defines dead levels as "levels in which the character would only gain bonuses to their base mechanics." I'd say the minor bonuses to AC and some attacks most definitely count as that.

Regarding the "Designing Classes" section, the Shifter also breaks the "If the rules are too close, you might end up with a class that invalidates (or is invalidated by) an existing class’s mechanics in a way that makes it unappealing to play." guideline (by being overshadowed by Druid, not to mention Metamorph Alchemist and Beastkin Berserker Barbarian), and fails the "Does the class have a novel concept and rules niche?" question.

That's three design guidelines broken at first glance, any wonder, the class get's so much flak?

­
Sadly, it gets worse. Most of the Aspects are either non-stacking ability increases or basically Skill Focus. If you pick your first form to be a combat form (Deinonychus) and your second form to be a flyer, which I'd presume to be the default selection, your aspect is only one non-selectable bonus feat until you get your 3rd Aspect at 10th level. Chemeric Aspect is useless half the time because Deinonychus's minor form only does something when you know combat will start shortly.
That means even your not-technically-dead-levels often don't grant anything remotely interesting.

The problem is not power level - Shifter is already doing relatively well when it comes to raw damage - but it's versatility. In short, what the Shifter is lacking is what I call Character Shaping Choices™.

On Character Shaping Choices:
Almost every Pathfinder class requires you to make character shaping choices. These choices not only dictate how varied multiple characters of the same class can be, it also effects versatility and power level. Fixed class features are generally mediocre (or bad), while selectable class features (including spells) have both good and bad options. This is a mandatory design principle to avoid having everyone with that class be super powerful (and have every character of that class look the same). As a result, you can make a Wizard good or bad by making good or bad character shaping choices, but you can't make a class good if there are no character shaping choices.

Such character shaping choices come in three forms:
1) Daily: Mostly spell preparation and the Medium's spirit.
2) On levelup: Spells known, rage powers, etc., doesn't have to be every level up
3) One time: Domains, bloodline etc., mostly done at first level

I don't count feats, skills, and equipment because it should be obvious that options that literally every class can take have to be relatively weak (otherwise almost every character would take them, cf. Leadership for what happens when this rule is broken). I also don't count choices that don't affect playstyle and only grant minor numeric bonuses, such as a Fighter's weapon training.
Archetypes are technically one time choices as well, if these are included depends on what we want to compare.

Naturally, the more choices you can make, the more you can (in general) shape your character. Also, the more often you can make choices, the more flexibility the character can have. Daily choices don't add power over on levelup choices, but they add a lot of flexibility.

The following classes are generally accepted to be the weakest ones in Pathfinder: Fighter, Brawler, Rogue, Cavalier, Samurai, Gunslinger, Swashbuckler, Monk.
Apart from the Rogue *, you'll notice that none of these classes have a daily or on levelup choice **. Cavalier and Samurai have a one time choice at first level, while the others don't get to make any character shaping choices at all. It's also noteworthy that there are no classes lacking daily or on-levelup choices that are generally considered good.

Now, choices don't automatically contain strong options (few rogue talents are better than feats), some fixed class features are fairly powerful as well (like rage), and there are options that offer choices to make on the fly, like wildshape or a Summoner's SLA (not character shaping by definition, but can be very powerful). But if you look at both power level and flexibility, there's almost no getting around having class features that allow character shaping choices fairly often.

*) Whoever thought that a pure martial with medium BAB, no accuracy increasing abilities, d8 HD, and the worst possible saves a PC class can have was a good idea?
**) Fighter got on levelup choices with AAT and AWT, while Monk got on levelup choices with UnMonk's Ki Powers and Style Strikes.

The Shifter get's to make one such choice every five levels, and quite frankly, it's just not enough. Since many aspects are very similar, after the second (combat form + flying form), you basically only get the minor form bonuses, and those aren't even remotely character shaping.
I guess it's to late for a selectable class feature à la Rage Powers, but why can't the minor forms actually do something? The class description say the Shifter can "fuse [forms] together with devastating effect", so where is the class feature for that? A limited use Skill Focus is not helping me be devastating. Give me full-on blindsight for bat, a potent poison for cobra, pounce for tiger, and so on!

We already have "can turn into one type of creature all day long" with Druid and Metamorph, and "can turn into one of the few previously selected animals multiple times per day" with Beastkin Berserker. Minor forms that have notable effects, and getting more aspects in the first place, would give the Shifter it's own niche.


On the plus side, now that your average shifter will be able to shapeshift 5-6 times (for an hour each) per day at level 4, we can at least multiclass out of the shifter even if those dead levels don't get fixed. :)

A weretouched shifter 5/monk 15 could probably be pretty viable. Doesn't one of the monk archetypes give it flurry with claws?


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The lack of character shaping choices (good term) is one that's bugged me too. It's too systemic to really fix though.

I sort of wonder why Paizo went that route too, since having lists of powers/talents/abilities/spell to choose has pretty much been a staple of their class design. Ignoring core classes it's pretty much just the Cavalier, Gunslinger, Swashbuckler and now Shifter that don't... and all of those have issues.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Manager

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Removed a post, we're not here to start edition wars.


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Derklord wrote:
swoosh wrote:
dead levels, if you discount scaling bonuses to defenses and claws (...)

The "Designing Classes" section in the ACG defines dead levels as "levels in which the character would only gain bonuses to their base mechanics." I'd say the minor bonuses to AC and some attacks most definitely count as that.

Regarding the "Designing Classes" section, the Shifter also breaks the "If the rules are too close, you might end up with a class that invalidates (or is invalidated by) an existing class’s mechanics in a way that makes it unappealing to play." guideline (by being overshadowed by Druid, not to mention Metamorph Alchemist and Beastkin Berserker Barbarian), and fails the "Does the class have a novel concept and rules niche?" question.

That's three design guidelines broken at first glance, any wonder, the class get's so much flak?

­
Sadly, it gets worse. Most of the Aspects are either non-stacking ability increases or basically Skill Focus. If you pick your first form to be a combat form (Deinonychus) and your second form to be a flyer, which I'd presume to be the default selection, your aspect is only one non-selectable bonus feat until you get your 3rd Aspect at 10th level. Chemeric Aspect is useless half the time because Deinonychus's minor form only does something when you know combat will start shortly.
That means even your not-technically-dead-levels often don't grant anything remotely interesting.

The problem is not power level - Shifter is already doing relatively well when it comes to raw damage - but it's versatility. In short, what the Shifter is lacking is what I call Character Shaping Choices™.
** spoiler omitted **...

Which is why I am really warming up to the idea of thematic SLAs (preferably with the 'good' DC of 10+1/2 level+stat, so they remain relevant) added onto the minor forms.

There are tons of low level spells that could be appropriate a few times a day for specific animals.

While the shifter doesn't have a spider option, a very lazy ctrl+f search of the wizard list found 4 different 'web' spells that are level 1-4. I doubt that it would be hard to find something like this for other animals. You could easily give them a few spells in a manner similar to the deific obedience feats (heck- you could make it a level 5 feat tax- "you tap into the power of one of your aspects", and you would need to take the feat again for a different aspect).

This could keep within the main flavor of the class- they are less magical than druids, and focused more on just a few forms. This kind of magic would the same- limited, and focused on the powers of a specific form.

Such a move would allow for far more tactical choices than 'pouncer and flier'. And once you add spells onto a melee class... people become a whooooole lot more forgiving about the rest. Just look at how many people hoped for the eldritch scoundrel back when rogues were the bane of the community.


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Personally I would be fine with getting rid of the aspects and just let you change into any animal (and vermin) based on level and what version of beast shape(vermin shape) you have of course. That is one way.

Second one would be to give more aspects and have minor and major aspects be what form you can change into of that animal.

Wolf
Minor-(at will)- wolf
Major-(1 hour/level)- dire wolf

Tiger
Minor-(at will)- house cat
Major-(1 hour/level)- tiger or dire tiger


Squiggit wrote:

The lack of character shaping choices (good term) is one that's bugged me too. It's too systemic to really fix though.

I sort of wonder why Paizo went that route too, since having lists of powers/talents/abilities/spell to choose has pretty much been a staple of their class design. Ignoring core classes it's pretty much just the Cavalier, Gunslinger, Swashbuckler and now Shifter that don't... and all of those have issues.

I'm not entirely convinced by the theory. Particularly as it applies to the Shifter - removing the Major Aspect concept and letting the Shifter pick forms on the fly as the druid does would remove "character shaping choices", but also make the class both move effective and flexible. Probably add "dead levels" too.


I really wonder how much "this is an entry level class" affected the design process. Since, while all of my favorite PF classes get to make a lot of choices as they go, I can see how "Choice Paralysis" is a real thing for some people (it's kind of why I dislike playing prepared casters) and particularly newer players who may be drawn to the concept.

Though it's not as though the polymorph and natural attack rules are super newbie friendly, so I wonder if this was a case of "don't put too much on anybody's plate all at once" or if might have just been "an entry level shifting class without revised polymorph/NA rules might not be a great idea."

While if the Shifter got to make regular choices ala Rage Powers, Rogue Talents, Vigilante Talents, Focus Powers, Ki Powers, Magus Arcana, Wild Talents, Alchemist Discoveries, Hexes, Phrenic Amplifications, etc. it could be a fantastic class, but it's probably too late for that. I guess the goal should be now to make it an okay class.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

I really wonder how much "this is an entry level class" affected the design process. Since, while all of my favorite PF classes get to make a lot of choices as they go, I can see how "Choice Paralysis" is a real thing for some people (it's kind of why I dislike playing prepared casters) and particularly newer players who may be drawn to the concept.

English is my second language and it is hard to make classes like the druid for me because I need to read through bestiaries and find all the different animals just to play the class. I like the changes to shifter giving it more ability to use wildshape often, but I would not play it if it had druid wildshape.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

I really wonder how much "this is an entry level class" affected the design process. Since, while all of my favorite PF classes get to make a lot of choices as they go, I can see how "Choice Paralysis" is a real thing for some people (it's kind of why I dislike playing prepared casters) and particularly newer players who may be drawn to the concept.

Though it's not as though the polymorph and natural attack rules are super newbie friendly, so I wonder if this was a case of "don't put too much on anybody's plate all at once" or if might have just been "an entry level shifting class without revised polymorph/NA rules might not be a great idea."

While if the Shifter got to make regular choices ala Rage Powers, Rogue Talents, Vigilante Talents, Focus Powers, Ki Powers, Magus Arcana, Wild Talents, Alchemist Discoveries, Hexes, Phrenic Amplifications, etc. it could be a fantastic class, but it's probably too late for that. I guess the goal should be now to make it an okay class.

I am hoping....very little.

I guess in some way I can understand the "beginner" mentality....it can be attractive to create really simple classes for people to pursue. The reality is that 99.9 % of gamers have been doing this for years. You don't take a highly desirable concept.....and try to fit it into a beginners form. If your going to go that route.....go Fighter.....

This is a niche that gamer's have wanted to fill for many years....it's not the place to come up with simplified beginners rules.


I would say not even Fighter, for the newbie that wants to fight things I usually direct them to Barbarian. Rage powers are a cake-walk to navigate compared to the hundreds of feats out there, and for the most part (excepting maybe Totems, simply because Beast Totem is almost a must have) they're hard to get "wrong".

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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nighttree wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

I really wonder how much "this is an entry level class" affected the design process. Since, while all of my favorite PF classes get to make a lot of choices as they go, I can see how "Choice Paralysis" is a real thing for some people (it's kind of why I dislike playing prepared casters) and particularly newer players who may be drawn to the concept.

Though it's not as though the polymorph and natural attack rules are super newbie friendly, so I wonder if this was a case of "don't put too much on anybody's plate all at once" or if might have just been "an entry level shifting class without revised polymorph/NA rules might not be a great idea."

While if the Shifter got to make regular choices ala Rage Powers, Rogue Talents, Vigilante Talents, Focus Powers, Ki Powers, Magus Arcana, Wild Talents, Alchemist Discoveries, Hexes, Phrenic Amplifications, etc. it could be a fantastic class, but it's probably too late for that. I guess the goal should be now to make it an okay class.

I am hoping....very little.

I guess in some way I can understand the "beginner" mentality....it can be attractive to create really simple classes for people to pursue. The reality is that 99.9 % of gamers have been doing this for years. You don't take a highly desirable concept.....and try to fit it into a beginners form. If your going to go that route.....go Fighter.....

This is a niche that gamer's have wanted to fill for many years....it's not the place to come up with simplified beginners rules.

It actually makes a lot of sense. I don't think there's any statistical evidence to back up the "99.9% of gamers" claim, and based purely on anecdotal evidence I'm going to say that it's entirely wrong. I live near Seattle and there's game stores everywhere. When I first moved here a few years ago there were at least half a dozen game stores running Pathfinder Society games and exactly one running 5E. Now, every store is running 5E games and it's down to two running Pathfinder games, and one of them is a closed table that you can only join by submitting an application when a player drops out. Adding an easy entry class that doesn't require multiple books makes perfect sense at this point in time if that trend is reflective of what's happening on a national level. With new genereations of gamers coming of age every day, a new release with an attractive and exciting class concept would be the perfect time to start testing the waters with simpler class frameworks that can be quickly picked up and played.

The shifter also makes a lot of sense as the place to do that because most of the nature classes are relatively complicated. Rangers have a lot of variable class features that can be difficult to navigate, druids have a mass of class features to work through, and hunters combine spellcasting and teamwork feats which can be a very complicated web of abilities to navigate if you're not familiar with the game. There's all kinds of relatively easy classes to build for pretty much every other niche, but the nature-magic characters didn't have much of an easy point of entry prior to the shifter.


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Thanks for the update, Jason. I didn't have a problem with the Shifter, but I appreciate that Paizo takes time to listen to its customers. It always makes me feel like I'm getting the best quality product possible.


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Squiggit wrote:

The lack of character shaping choices (good term) is one that's bugged me too. It's too systemic to really fix though.

I sort of wonder why Paizo went that route too, since having lists of powers/talents/abilities/spell to choose has pretty much been a staple of their class design. Ignoring core classes it's pretty much just the Cavalier, Gunslinger, Swashbuckler and now Shifter that don't... and all of those have issues.

what? the majority of full bab classes added after core? looks like the shifter fits that trend ;)


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I feel like Derklord aptly summed up most of my feelings on Shifter.

Expanding on what Derklord stated, my feelings are also that:

1) The most powerful effects of the minor forms are easily replicated by a single magic item. So you get the choice of saving yourself 144k gold for stat boosting, or going for flavor and spending the money. This is not a meaningful choice.

2) The theme really isn't delivered on. When I think "Shifter", I think "master of shifting". What Shifter ultimately delivered was a watered-down druid, who even with these changes is still essentially worse at shape shifting than druid, and worse than shape-shifting even than several archetypes.

3) When I look at new classes, I look to see what niche they fill. How do they meaningfully improve the Pathfinder environment, what do they add that wasn't there before. For the most part, I have usually been satisfied by the classes that came before. Even if the class itself wasn't "optimized" compared to prior options, it was either thematically or mechanically niche enough to fill some kind of gap. Shifter does not fill any niche in any meaningful way, see 2. The shifting theme hasn't been a total focus of any class to date, but this class really just gave you worse hunter's animal focus and a worse druid wildshape. Neither of these are new, or fill any real niche.

4) This is mostly a selfish feeling, and I admit that, but ultimately shifter doesn't deliver on the power fantasy that I sort of expected from shifter. As someone who played a lot of shifter-types back in previous editions, I found niches to exploit being a shifter in the most shifter-y way possible (A la Warshaper). This class (essentially) gives you per day uses of minor stat boosts and a few hours of casting Beast Shape II as a Supernatural Ability. Neither of those is particularly engaging, interesting, or ultimately... good.

4a) Oh, and you get claws. Claws are cool, but they're essentially just thematic monk unarmed strike.


Sweet. Now we need a good magical belt that is shifter focused to replace the belts of str, dex, and/or con. Fill in 2 dead levels and work on the arche-types and I will be Happy! I'm glad Paizo addressed the issue so pro-actively! You guys rock!


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FlySkyHigh wrote:
4a) Oh, and you get claws. Claws are cool, but they're essentially just thematic monk unarmed strike.

They're pretty much worse than that though, because natural attacks don't get iteratives. So like a level 13 shifter making a full attack with their claws out can attack at +13/+13 for 1d10 damage. A level 13 core monk can full attack for +11/+11/+6/+6/+1 for 2d6 damage. Sure, the Shifter gets to bypass DR in a way the monk does not, but the Menhir Guardian monk at level 13 would flurry for +11/+11/+6/+6/+1 for 1d10 damage with all the same DR penetration that the shifter gets.

Without additional natural attacks, other classes use the shifter's claws better than the shifter does. This is the most puzzling thing about the shifter for me: why you do a full BAB class with claws that does not have a built-in way to make "just the claws" an effective combat strategy throughout their career. At least give me something like clawblades that let me treat my claws as manufactured weapons if I want. Claws are great on things like sorcerers, whose BAB will *never* match that of a primary natural attack and who won't get a third iterative anyway. On a full BAB class though?


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I have what may sound like a silly question, and may be completely off-course...

Why doesn't the Shifter get Wild Shape (pure unadulterated Druid-tier Wild Shape) at Level 2?

Why Level 2?

At Level 1 there are claws.

At level 2 instead of the Shifter Instinct, Wild Shape, as per Beast Shape I, one hour per caster level plus attribute modifier. Every two levels past 2nd, multiply the class levels by 2, 3, 4, etc...

At level 3 Shifter Instinct, MegaClaws (act as silver/Cold Iron/magic)

Level 4 would then get 2xlevel+att modifier in hours Wild Shape per day

and then on up from there into the 'normal' progression?

I'm just tossing this out there, trying to provide other ideas and insight.


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Chess Pwn wrote:
what? the majority of full bab classes added after core? looks like the shifter fits that trend ;)

Well, half. Bloodrager, Slayer, UMonk and Avenger all do pretty well from that angle. Brawler too, though you could make an argument there since Flexibilty is kind of radically different and much less permanent.

You do have a point though. By contrast even across the whole system the only 3/4th BAB class that doesn't have anything along that line is the core monk and even they can all grab Qiggong right outside of core. Plus Core Monk is kind of a pretend full bab class anyways.

Sort of feels like 3/4 BAB is Paizo's sweet spot and where they feel the most comfortable and adventurous when it comes to class design.


While I agree that the 3/4 BA classes seems to be their sweet spot, I still like most of the full BA classes but the Shifter was a huge disappointment. I am glad that they are making changes to it and time will only tell if I am happy with the finished product. Maybe one day we will get a 3/4 BA non-spellcasting shapeshifter class that they will go hog wild on...only time will tell.


Chess Pwn wrote:
Squiggit wrote:

The lack of character shaping choices (good term) is one that's bugged me too. It's too systemic to really fix though.

I sort of wonder why Paizo went that route too, since having lists of powers/talents/abilities/spell to choose has pretty much been a staple of their class design. Ignoring core classes it's pretty much just the Cavalier, Gunslinger, Swashbuckler and now Shifter that don't... and all of those have issues.

what? the majority of full bab classes added after core? looks like the shifter fits that trend ;)

Even in Core, Paladin and Ranger are a bit short on levels where you can choose something upon level-up, whereas Fighter and Barbarian aren't.


Dragon78 wrote:
While I agree that the 3/4 BA classes seems to be their sweet spot, I still like most of the full BA classes but the Shifter was a huge disappointment. I am glad that they are making changes to it and time will only tell if I am happy with the finished product. Maybe one day we will get a 3/4 BA non-spellcasting shapeshifter class that they will go hog wild on...only time will tell.

I don't know if an in between would be necessary at least wouldn't need its own class maybe a possible archetype for the shifter. something like a rogueish mystique shape changer possibly.


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A "Keen Senses" type ability would be nice ether granting a bonus on perception checks equal to 1/2 your shifter level(minimum +1) or at least giving you low-light vision and scent(in every form including base).

Would anyone be against the class getting 6+int skill points? I mean it isn't like the ranger and hunter doesn't have that many... along with animal companion, spells, bonus feats, and even more class features.

Vidmaster7, what is fun and interesting is far, far better then what is "necessary";)

Liberty's Edge

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It seems to me that this class could also benefit from the line "You qualify as having Improved Unarmed Strike for the purposes of feats ... blah blah" and a few bonus combat or style feats

I think it makes sense that a Shifter should qualify for Deflect Arrows and it really makes sense that a person who can turn their hands into panther claws can qualify for Panther Style.


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Dragon78 wrote:

A "Keen Senses" type ability would be nice ether granting a bonus on perception checks equal to 1/2 your shifter level(minimum +1) or at least giving you low-light vision and scent(in every form including base).

Would anyone be against the class getting 6+int skill points? I mean it isn't like the ranger and hunter doesn't have that many... along with animal companion, spells, bonus feats, and even more class features.

Vidmaster7, what is fun and interesting is far, far better then what is "necessary";)

I'm sure this issue would be solved with minor aspects (it probably already is). But as I've stated prior, Aspects as a whole needs a complete overhaul with how they function, as well as their shifting, since as it stands it only serves to confuse how to apply Wild Shape in relation to its original function, so I'd rather wait and see what Paizo does about it before making any suggestions, since I'm certain their choices would be far more radical than what I'd come up with.

Although, if they do keep the base skeleton, I'd consider adding Wisdom modifier to the number of minutes they can use Minor Aspects as well, making Wisdom even more valuable (and also in-line with the current changes they've made).

Also, I don't think having 6 skill ranks will make a difference if they are more than compensated with better/more features. Not saying Shifters can't be skill-oriented, but 4 ranks is more than manageable.


Shifter qualifying for style feats(at least ones that fit their animal choices) would be interesting and yes to deflect arrows as well.


Chess Pwn wrote:

Something I'm a little curious about, the OP says that the shifter reaches your expected damage output. Is that only with 1 or 2 forms or are all the forms reaching expected damage output benchmarks?

I ask because most builds I've seen for it have it's DPR quite low, really only the pouncing once seem to at all reach the levels of other full-bab classes. All other full bab have a base effectiveness that seems quite a bit higher than the effectiveness of non-pouncing shifters.

Also what do you mean with full might of the druid? I feel like most people were pointing out just using obvious druid buffs like strongjaw, magic fang greater, barkskin and the likes, same thing for the shifting hunter. There doesn't seem like any TOP TIER OMG LOOK AT THAT RULES MASTERY builds needed to surpass the shifter, just the same stat array and using the obvious basic buff spells seems to outfight a shifter.

Thinking about it, maybe other forms could be brought up to par a bit if they were allowed to get iteratives?

This is something that we already see with animal companions- the multi attack ability both grants the feat of the same name and gives a since BAB-5 iterative to creatures with 1 or 2 natural attacks. Since at least one NPC entry indicates this works with the 'single natural attack creates get 1.5x str/power attack' rule, this allows creatures like wolves to somewhat catch up in terms of damage (and allows a niche for AoO builds).

This kind of approach could be used for things like the bull or wolf aspect- allowing them to take full advantage of the iteratives granted to a full BAB class. That would help their damage out a bit. They would be 2 hander builds basically. And it could work with a shifter's flavor- they are warriors devoted to mastery over a few animal forms, so why wouldn't they learn how to wield their fangs as others wield their blades?

Pouncing would still be preferred, but you could at least do some cool stuff like a butterfly sting combo since you can get x3 damage through shifter's claws and a heavy single hit

Admittedly... I would still like something to boost attack so those iteratives are actually good. (a non stacking enhancement bonus is more a goldmancy thing than an actual attack boost; nice for a hunter's companion since they outfit for two, but not for a solo warrior).

I'd prefer just a simple scaling str bonus while shifted (str helps out with maneuver stuff that you could do with various animals). It could be a simple "you get an extra +2 str size bonus while wildshape for every aspect you possess". It would be close to the standard of things like barbarian rage, but you balance the 'hours/lvl' thing vs. the countless versatile rage powers that they bring out for rounds/lvl.


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It's nice to see the class getting some buffs to get it up to par, but I must agree with others showing concern over damage output and too limited a list of forms. Had a player try out the Shifter in one of my games and found that:

The claws bypassing lots of DR types fails to impress, since other martial classes tend to be picking up weapons to beat DR anyway, leaving the Shifter as 'the class without iteratives' and while it can pick up maybe a bite attack in wildshape/major aspect... it really doesn't keep up.

Aspects, Wildshape and Chimeric Form also fell rather flat compared to other classes with similar abilities. Perhaps a more flexible option would be better, with full Wildshape and blending Aspects and Chimeric Form into something more akin to eidolon evolutions or being able to apply extra traits from the Beast Shape line?


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I had a thought about Oozemorph, but it might require way too much to redesign:

What if certain oozes (Gelatinous Cube, Grey Ooze, Gunpowder Ooze, etc) could be picked just like Aspects, and then at certain levels more ooze types could be picked, with the HD of a given ooze being the restriction for level availability?


It is kinda funny that the Ooozemorph actually specializes in turning into humanoids and not... oozes.


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Squiggit wrote:
It is kinda funny that the Ooozemorph actually specializes in turning into humanoids and not... oozes.

You say funny, I say counterintuitive.


Squiggit wrote:
It is kinda funny that the Ooozemorph actually specializes in turning into humanoids and not... oozes.

I like that gimmick I just think it could of been implemented better.


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I do think the best way to improve/clarify/diversify Aspects is to decouple them from Beast Shape II. Just have each aspect wrotten like a template, telling you exactly what size you become, how your ability scores change, and what special abilities you get. Not only would it consolidate what you need to reference to transform, it also allows for larger/smaller forms, forms that aren’t always animals, and forms that no spell could otherwise allow.


Vidmaster7 wrote:
Squiggit wrote:
It is kinda funny that the Ooozemorph actually specializes in turning into humanoids and not... oozes.
I like that gimmick I just think it could of been implemented better.

Perhaps the original concept was that you're a person who gets progressively better at being oozy (like any of your stretchy superheroes, say) and someone had the idea "but what if it's the other way around" and honestly that is pretty interesting. It's not precisely what I would have wanted, but it is conceptually interesting.

I don't know of any other archetype that weakens you greatly as soon as you take it, so that much is novel at least.


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Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:
Squiggit wrote:
It is kinda funny that the Ooozemorph actually specializes in turning into humanoids and not... oozes.
You say funny, I say counterintuitive.

it's less so once you understand the intent: You are meant to be actively punished for wanting to be an ooze. So much so that the whole thrust of the archetype is to avoid it as actively as possible. It wasn't meant for someone that actually wanted to play as an ooze and be useful/viable.

PS: the intent was from the author who popped into the oozemorph thread: ooze form is meant to be a negative...

Shadow Lodge

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Which is a god awful way to design something. Not even Oracle curses are that bad,


I get the idea. Its like the ooze is trying to learn to keep its shape and do non-oozy things and it slowly learns to be better at it. Its an archetype so its a little niche but the concept could make for an interesting character. Its just a bit to restricting starting off.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
Squiggit wrote:
It is kinda funny that the Ooozemorph actually specializes in turning into humanoids and not... oozes.
I like that gimmick I just think it could of been implemented better.

Perhaps the original concept was that you're a person who gets progressively better at being oozy (like any of your stretchy superheroes, say) and someone had the idea "but what if it's the other way around" and honestly that is pretty interesting. It's not precisely what I would have wanted, but it is conceptually interesting.

I don't know of any other archetype that weakens you greatly as soon as you take it, so that much is novel at least.

Brute Vigilante says hi ME SMASH!!!!

badly . . . .

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