Archmage Variel’s Guide to the Shifter

Last revision: August 21, 2019

Archmage Variel’s Guide to the Shifter: Becoming the Chimera

The Shifter is a martial class with a focus in shapeshifting into animals and using natural attacks like claws and biting in order to deal out damage. While other classes certainly excel in this field, some doing better at this than the Shifter, you want something different. You want the ability to become an unholy amalgamation of the world’s greatest natural predators, instilling fear in your enemies. This is where the Chimeric Aspect of the Shifter comes in.

If you’re looking to be as optimized as possible while using Wild Shape, the druid might be a better option. However, in this guide I will attempt to outline how you can get the most out of playing a Shifter. 

I’ve been playing tabletop roleplaying games since I could first open a book, and have frequently found guides similar to this to be useful when learning to play a new class. When I noticed that there wasn’t a really comprehensive guide to the Shifter, I did what any gamer would do. I spent several days complaining about why there wasn’t a Shifter guide available. When that didn’t work, I went to work. This is my first attempt at making a class guide, and I hope you find it useful.

Notes: I will likely edit this guide from time to time, so it’s never complete in my eyes. That said, please feel free to add me as a friend and message me on Discord (Variel#3770) if you have any suggestions for how this guide can be improved. When building a Shifter be sure to make note of any changes from the FAQ.

Updates: It’s been a while due to needing to take some time off, but I’ve finally got around to beginning to implement updates for the guide. The recent additions to the guide are:

  • Aspects (Peafowl, Elephant, Horse, Lion, Giant Wasp, Snapping Turtle)

  • Holy Beast Archetype

  • Weretouched Aspects (Peafowl, Elephant, Horse, Lion, Giant Wasp, Snapping Turtle)

  • Vermin Mask

Look forward to seeing an update on my next class guide, to be announced in a future update.


Contents

Contents2

Color Coding3

What is a Shifter?4

The Shifter Class Abilities5

Ability Scores7

Races8

Feats10

Skills15

Traits16

Equipment17

Magic Armor:17

Rings:17

Belts:17

Body:17

Chest:18

Eyes:18

Feet:18

Hands:18

Head:18

Headband:19

Neck:19

Shoulders:19

Wrists:19

Slotless:19

Aspects21

Archetypes26

Adaptive Shifter (****)26

Dragonblood Shifter (**)28

Elementalist Shifter (***)28

Feyform Shifter (***)29

Fiendflesh Shifter (**)30

Holy Beast (****)31

Leafshifter (**)32

Oozemorph (*)32

Rageshaper (*)33

Style Shifter (**)34

Swarm Shifter (**)35

Verdant Shifter (**)35

Weretouched (***)36

Wild Effigy (****)43

Alternate Natural Attacks45

Builds46

Strength Tiger Grappling Shifter46

Dexterity Deinonychus Natural Attack Build47

Fiendflesh Build48

Rageshaper Build49

Weretouched Bull (Minotaur) Build50

Weretouched Deinonychus Build51

Elementalist Shifter Build52

Corgi Shifter Build53

Color Coding

In this guide I will be color coding the options and abilities available to you, using the rating system coined by Treantmonk. I will also have a number of stars corresponding to the option’s usefulness, as I am colorblind and it is just as much for maintaining my own sanity and ability to read my own guide as it is for your own use.

Red (*): This is a poor option.

Orange (**): This is an ok option.

Green (***): I recommend this option.

Blue (****): The best option possible.

Black: This option is unranked or contains a very wide range of ranks depending on a variety of factors.

What is a Shifter?

(And Why Would I Want to Play A Shifter?)

The Shifter is a full base attack bonus martial class which is focused primarily on one thing. Dealing a ton of damage using natural weapons while shapeshifted into the form of a great predator. While the Druid has the ability to become dozens of different animals, and cast powerful nature spells, the Shifter focuses on a few key animal aspects which they can use to boost their skill in combat. Whether you’re a powerful two-headed sabertooth tiger with the eyes of a falcon, or an agile fanged deinonychus with razor sharp claws and a barbed stinger on their tail, two things are for certain. Your enemies have never seen any animal that looks quite like you before, and they will never live to see one again.

Like many martial classes, your primary focus is damage. After the first few levels, you go about this by wild shaping into your primary major form. For most builds this will be the first aspect which you pick at level 1. The two most common options for this form are Tiger (****) and Deinonychus (****). Deinonychus form provides a ton of natural attack options, as well as pounce which enables you to make a full attack with all of your natural weapons after making a charge. Tiger form provides similar benefits to the Deinonychus, with the additional benefits of the grab ability.

Another important feature of the Shifter are the Minor Aspects. While the Shifter can only assume the benefits of a single Major form at a time, you can use minor aspect while wild shaped to become even more powerful than you would be just in your Major Form. It is because of this that is is a good idea to prioritize forms with good minor aspect benefits after taking your primary major form. The best choices are usually the ones which give you enhancement bonuses to your ability scores, followed by more utility focused forms.

The Shifter Class Abilities

As of now, the abilities of the shifter have went through some changes, which you can see on the FAQ.

Hit Points (***): d10 hit points is standard for martial classes.

Base Attack Bonus (****): A full base attack bonus is the best possible.

Saves (***): Good Fortitude and Reflex saves, and with Wisdom as a critical ability score for the class, your Will saves shouldn’t be too bad either.

Proficiencies (**): Medium armor, shields, and a very small set up weapons, and you can't use metal armor or shields.

Skills (**): 4+ skill ranks and very few useful skills.

Shifter Aspect (Su) (****): You can choose one aspect at 1st level. For pretty much all builds, this is going to be your main combat form, the form in which you enter Wild Shape to fight with in later levels. You gain a second aspect at 5th level, a third aspect as 10th level, a fourth aspect as 15th level, and a 5th and final aspect at 20th level. A later section will talk more about these aspects. Your minor aspect can be used while wild shaped.

Shifter Claws (Su) (****): There has been an FAQ for Shifter Claws, and this will be the FAQ’d ability will be the one which I am talking about. The shifter is a martial focused class with scaling claws as a main weapon. Natural attacks use different rules than normal weapons. You get a claw on each hand, which are primary natural attacks which can deal 1d4 (1d3 of playing a small character) slashing and bludgeoning damage at 1st level. As you level, your claws gain other features including: treat them as magic weapons, ignore DR/cold iron and DR/silver, various damage increases and critical modifier increases, ignore DR/adamantine and DR/–. While wildshaped, if your form has claws you can replace the base damage of those claws with your shifter claws. If the form does not have claw attacks, you can choose up to two natural attacks that would deal less damage than your shifter claw damage and have those attacks instead deal the same damage as your shifter claws.

Wild Empathy (Ex) (*): Very situational, and it's the only thing that Shifters have which needs Charisma. 

Defensive Instinct (Ex) (***): This grants you a bonus to Armor Class equal to your Wisdom modifier, or half as much if you're wearing (non prohibited) armor. It also has an extra bonus that scales over time even if you're wearing armor. Early on you’re going to want to be wearing some form of armor, however, a shifter Wild Shape doesn’t gain any of the beneficial effects while wearing armor, unless you have a suit of armor with the Wild enchantment. Otherwise, make the most out of Defensive Instinct by going naked after getting Wild Shape. I suggest planning for defensive instinct because, since many very good damage increasing feats require you to have a high wisdom, your wisdom score is likely going to be high enough to warrant taking this route. As such I wouldn’t recommend considering using Dragonhide Heavy Armor Barding unless you think that the campaign won’t last very long or you will likely be short on money for magic items like the Headband of Inspired Wisdom and Bracers of Armor.

Track (Ex) (*): Very situational.

Woodland Stride (Ex) (*): Very situational.

Wild Shape (Su) (****): There has been an FAQ for Wild Shape, and if it is up to you the FAQ’d version is the one you want to be using.This is one of your main abilities to increase damage, and also features some of the few utility options that this class has.

Trackless Step (Ex) (*): Very situational.

Shifter’s Fury (Ex) (****): An ability added via the FAQ, you can attack with a single natural attack (probably a claw), as an iterative attack, and treat your other natural attacks as secondary natural attacks. This will likely be an integral part of dealing damage for many builds core builds.

Chimeric Aspect (Su) (***): Use up to two minor aspects at once. You’re probably going to want to focus on getting aspects which increase the ability scores which affect your damage and accuracy first. This can be used while wild shaped.

Greater Chimeric Aspect (Su) (***): Use up to three minor aspects at once. This can be used while wild shaped.

A Thousands Faces (Su) (**): You can change your appearance at will, but only while in your normal form. This is very late to get such an ability, but it is a nice thing to have when you finally have it.

Timeless Body (Ex) (*): You no longer age, and cease to take additional penalties for aging. Won’t likely come up in most campaigns, but might have its uses.

Final Aspect (Su) (****): Use up to all five minor aspects at once. This can be used while wild shaped. Also, you can now use your major and minor forms at will.

Ability Scores

How you prioritize your ability scores depends on whether or not you plan to use Weapon Finesse. Because of this, the stats will have two ratings (Strength build/Dexterity build). The ranking of these ability scores is based on the needs of a standard Shifter, without any applied archetypes. Differences in ability scores useful to Shifters utilizing various archetypes will be noted within their respective archetypes in the Archetypes section of this guide.

Strength (****/***): For a Strength build, this is a must have. For a Dexterity build, it is slightly less so. Your Strength modifier affects your accuracy when using a Strength build, and impacts your damage output regardless of build.

Dexterity (***/****): For a Dexterity build, this is a must have as it impacts your accuracy. For a Strength build, it is slightly less important. Your Dexterity modifier also affects your Armor Class and Reflex saves.

Constitution (**/**): Additional hit points are nice for any build, but it isn’t the most critical of your stats. Constitution also influences your Fortitude saves.

Intelligence (*/*): Gives you additional skill points, which aren’t very high on your list of priorities for this class.

Wisdom (***/***): This gives you access to some really good feats, as well as defines the effectiveness of your Defensive Instinct. It also influences your Will saves.

Charisma (*/*): There isn’t much benefit from this skill besides Wild Empathy and intimidation feats. If you’re going to have a dump stat, this

Races

The most important things when considering your race is ability scores and access to desirable abilities which are usable in your Wild Shape forms. Out of the core races, human fulfils these requirements the best. An important thing to note when choosing a race is the rules for polymorphing:

“While under the effects of a polymorph spell, you lose all extraordinary and supernatural abilities that depend on your original form (such as keen senses, scent, and darkvision), as well as any natural attacks and movement types possessed by your original form. You also lose any class features that depend upon form, but those that allow you to add features (such as sorcerers that can grow claws) still function. While most of these should be obvious, the GM is the final arbiter of what abilities depend on form and are lost when a new form is assumed. Your new form might restore a number of these abilities if they are possessed by the new form.”

It is important to ask your GM what abilities are kept when you use Wild Shape, but I will make a note of the default racial traits, which I can say are definitely not gained by the new form, in the race descriptions below. If you can consider taking alternate racial traits which will work in your Wild Shape form, and replace traits which don’t function while you are wild shaped.

Dwarf (***): Constitution and Wisdom are both nice ability scores to increase for the base Shifter. Wild Shape makes the 20 foot speed a non-issue. There are some other nice situational racial bonuses as well. Darkvision doesn’t while while you’re in Wild Shape. Not the best race out there for Shifters, but by no means a bad pick. Alternate racial traits to consider include: Unstoppable and Surface Survivalist.

Elf (**): A bonus to Intelligence score isn’t incredibly useful to you, and the bonus you get to your Dexterity score is really countered by the penalty you receive to your Constitution score. Weapon Familiarity and Keen Senses (which doesn’t work while in Wild Shape) are all but useless to the base Shifter, as is Low-Light Vision (which, again, doesn’t work while in Wild Shape) and Elven Magic, and if you’re making any caster checks, you may want to consider instead playing a Druid. Elven Immunities are ok, but for the most part this race is a bit lackluster for Shifters. Alternate racial traits to consider include: Fey-Sighted and Fleet-Footed.

Gnome (*): You get a bonus to your Charisma score, which you will almost never use. You also get a nice bonus to your Constitution score, which is offset by the penalty to your Strength score. The size penalties are, for the most part, nullified by the fact that the base Shifter will be assuming Wild Shape so often. This is the same for your low base speed. Weapon Familiarity does almost nothing for you, as does Low-Light Vision and Keen Senses (both of which doesn’t work while in Wild Shape). For the most part, the abilities are situational for you at best, and completely useless at worst. Alternate racial traits to consider include: Dimdweller, Fey Thoughts, and Vivacious.

Half-Elf (***): A flexible ability score bonus is nice for you, as is Skill Focus, but otherwise there’s nothing that makes this race stand out in particular. As per usual, Keen Senses and Low-Light Vision don’t function while wild shaped.Alternate racial traits to consider include: Eye for Opportunity.

Half-Orc (***): A flexible ability score bonus is nice for the class, as is Orc Ferocity (which can debatably still be used while in Wild Shape). Weapon Familiarity is kind of useless for you, and Darkvision can not be used while in Wild Shape. Still, this is a relatively good option if your GM agrees that Orc Ferocity works while Wild Shaped. Alternate racial traits to consider include: Dimdweller, Sacred Tattoo, Shaman’s Apprentice, and Skilled.

Halfling (*): You get a bonus to your Charisma score, which you will almost never use. You also get a nice bonus to your Dexterity score, which is offset by the penalty to your Strength score. Weapon Familiarity is kind of useless for you, and Keen Senses can not be used while in Wild Shape. Halfling Luck is a nice bonus to have, and you also get some other relatively situational bonuses. Alternate racial traits to consider include: Dimdweller, Fey-Quickened, and Low Blow.

Human (****): Your best choice for a Shifter. The flexible ability score bonus and bonus feat are amazing, and an extra skill point every level is great too. Your lack of a special sensory ability has less of an impact on you with your Wild Shape, since special sensory abilities don’t actually work with Wild Shape. Alternate racial traits to consider include: Giant Ancestry.

Feats

As a Shifter, you gain access to far less feats than many other martial classes. However you also don’t have as many feats which are necessary to the success of your class. Below are some of the most notable feats available to Shifters. The ranking of these feats is based on the needs of a standard Shifter, without any applied archetypes. Feats useful to Shifters utilizing various archetypes will be noted within their respective archetypes in the Archetypes section of this guide.

Athletic (*): This is a relatively useless feat on its own, however, it is needed to gain access to Totemic Master (****).

Chimeric Adept (***): Requires the Chimeric Aspect class feature, as well as the Wild Shape class feature. Allows you to gain the abilities of a single minor form for the duration of your wild shape. Many of the aspects have wonderful boosts that would be great to have active at all times without having to expend uses of shifter aspect. This feat becomes useless at level 20 for a base shifter, but is very useful up to that point.

Chimeric Master (**): Requires Chimeric Adept, the Greater Chimeric Aspect class feature, as well as the Wild Shape class feature. Allows you to gain the abilities of a second major form for the duration of your wild shape, except for additional natural attacks, new movement types, or movement speeds. Can not be used while using the benefits of Chimeric Adept. This form becomes blue (****) for many builds using major forms that lack pounce.

Combat Reflexes (**): You may make a number of additional attacks of opportunity per round equal to your Dexterity mod. With a Dexterity build, this feat could be considered much better (***).

Cornugon Smash (***): Requires power attack, as well as 6 ranks in Intimidate. Allows you to make an Intimidate check to demoralize an opponent when you damage that opponent with a power attack. If you’re looking to make an Intimidation build, this is a nice feat to have. I would only go this route if you take the Intimidating Prowess trait.

Dazzling Display (**): Requires Weapon Focus with your chosen weapon and proficiency with said weapon. You can make an Intimidate check to demoralize all foes within 30 feet. Not a bad feat to have on an Intimidation build. I would only go this route if you take the Intimidating Prowess trait.

Dodge (**): You gain a +1 dodge bonus to your AC. Not the best feat, but it provides additional Armor Class if you’re feeling low on options for feats.

Elemental Claws (**): Requires 13 Constitution, 13 Wisdom, and a BaB of +8, and the Wild Shape class feature. Allows you to make a number of natural weapon attacks per day that deal additional energy damage in addition to your natural weapon damage. This is a slight increase in damage.

Energized Wild Shape (***): A great and flexible form of energy resistance. This is a good feat, however it has an insanely high Wisdom requirement. You can probably access this after getting a Headband of Inspired Wisdom.

Frightful Shape (**): The ability to shaken targets with less hit dice than you whenever you attack is a nice ability to have, even with your likely low Charisma score.

Greater Grapple (****): Also a great feat to have with grappling/tiger form builds. Requires Improved Grapple, Improved Unarmed Strike, a BaB of +6, and a Dexterity score of 13.

Greater Weapon Shift (*): Requires Improved Weapon Shift, Weapon Shift, a BaB of +8, as well as the Wild Shape class feature. When using a weapon with the Weapon Shift feat, you can also apply that weapons enhancement bonus to your natural weapon attack rolls and damage rolls. You are better off getting your enhancement bonuses through an Amulet of Mighty Fists than through taking this feat, and should focus on getting a weapon with the kinds of special weapon abilities you want.

Improved Initiative (***): Being able to move first is very important in a game like Pathfinder, but less important to martials then it is for casters.

Improved Grapple (****): A great feat to have got grappling builds, especially with tiger form builds. Requires a Dexterity score of 13 and the Improved Unarmed Strike feat.

Improved Natural Weapons (****): There’s some debate that this doesn’t function while wild shaped. If your GM rules that it doesn’t work, this feat is terrible (*). If your GM agrees this works, this is an amazing feat to take.

Improved Unarmed Strike (*): This feat is useless for you on its own, as natural attacks don’t count as unarmed attacks. However, it is necessary to have in order to take some other very nice feats.

Improved Weapon Shift (**): Requires Weapon Shift, a BaB of +6, as well as the Wild Shape class feature. When using a weapon with the Weapon Shift feat, you can also apply that weapons special weapon abilities to your natural weapon attacks. This will not apply dancing, or any ranged or thrown special weapon abilities. If your GM hands out gold and magic items frequently enough, you’re better off just focusing on getting a better Amulet of Mighty Fists then taking this effect, otherwise it is green (***).

Intimidating Prowess (Combat) (***): This is necessary to have for any Intimidation build.

Iron Will (***): You’re going to have a higher Wisdom than many. That said, your classes will save is still low, so this is a good feat to take.

Mutated Shape (****): This feat allows you to grow another natural attack whenever you Wild Shape. This is a great feat, however it has an insanely high Wisdom requirement. You can probably access this after getting a Headband of Inspired Wisdom.

Piranha Strike (****): When using light weapons you can take a penalty on your attack role to gain a bonus on damage of twice that amount. When using Weapon Finesse primary natural weapons qualify as light weapons for the purposes of this feat. This is a must feat to for Dexterity weapon finesse builds that don’t qualify for the strength requirement for Power Attack. However, this feat is more limiting in what weapons it will function with than is Power Attack. For Strength builds, this is a bad (*) feat to take. You need to have taken Weapon Finesse. You also need a BaB of +1, which you already have by 1st level.

Planar Wild Shape (***): Use two uses of Wild Shape in order to apply the celestial or fiendish template to your Wild Shape, as well as gain a bonus to confirm critical hits against enemies of the alignment opposed to your chosen template. Because this uses up two uses of Wild Shape, you should only take this at later levels when you have access to more uses of Wild Shape. You must have 5 ranks in Knowledge (planes) in order to take this feat.

Power Attack (****): You can take a penalty on your attack role to gain a bonus on damage of twice that amount. For Strength builds, this is a must have. For Dexterity builds, this is still a pretty good (***) feat to have. Requires 13 Strength and a BaB of +1, which you should already have by 1st level.

Powerful Shape (****): When in Wild Shape, treat your size as one category larger for the purpose of calculating CMB, CMD, carrying capacity, and any size-based special attacks you use or that are used against you (such as grab, swallow whole, and trample). This feat allows your Tiger form shifter to grapple huge sized enemies. This is a must have feat for grapple builds. Requires Wild Shape and Druid level 8th. It is important to remember that the Shifter’s Wild Shape class feature enables you to treat your effective Druid level as your Shifter level for the purposes of qualifying for feats which require Wild Shape.

Raking Claws (***): Requires a BaB of +8, the Shifter class, as well as the Wild Shape class feature. Your piercing and slashing natural weapon attacks also deal bleed damage. This is a straight up boost to your damage.

Rapid Grappler (**): Whenever you use Greater Grapple to successfully maintain a grapple as a move action, you can then spend a swift action to make a grapple combat maneuver check at a -5 penalty. Not a bad feat to have on a grappling/tiger build. Requires a Dexterity score of 13, Greater Grapple, Improved Grapple, Improved Unarmed Strike, and a BaB of +9.

Rending Claws (***): Nice for any forms which have claws. Horrible (*) to take when specializing in a form without claws though. 

Shatter Defenses (****): Requires Weapon Focus with your chosen weapon, as well as Dazzling Display, a BaB of +6, and proficiency with your weapon. Causes any shaken, frightened, or panicked opponent hit by you this round to be treated as flat-footed to your attacks until the end of your next turn. A very good feat to have on Intimidation build.

Shifter’s Edge (***): Add half your shifter level to damage when using Weapon Finesse with your claws or attacks augmented by your claws. This is a necessary feat for Dexterity builds. Completely unnecessary (*) for Strength builds. Here is where you can find the FAQ’d version of the feat. 

Shifter’s Rush (****): When you charge make a move action to charge or when you move more than 10 feet, you can use Wild Shape as a free action. This is an important feat, as you don’t have any ways to talk while in Wild Shape, so you may not always be wild shaped when you enter combat. 

Throat Slicer (***): A pretty good feat. When using natural weapons (which you should be using), you can deliver a coup de grace as a standard action to an unconscious, bound, or pinned target (though not other kinds of helpless targets). Requires a BaB of +1, which you already have by 1st level.

Totemic Initiate (Beast Totem, Lesser) (*): This is a relatively useless feat on its own if your GM rules it doesn’t work while polymorphed, however, it is needed to gain access to Totemic Master (Beast Totem, Greater) (****). Your GM might rule that the claws from this feat work while polymorphed into a form that doesn’t naturally get claws, in which case this feat might become green (***).

Totemic Disciple (Beast Totem) (**): This gives a slight boost to your AC for a small period of time each day.

Totemic Master (Beast Totem, Greater) (****): This is the entire reason you would take the Totemic line of feats. If you are using a form with only one natural attack, or that already possesses pounce, this feat is red (*). Otherwise, this feat enables your other forms to trail behind Tiger and Deinonychus. This should only be recommended for Strength base builds due to the feat requirements.

Toughness (***): You use the same hit die as a fighter, however, there’s no reason not to get more hit points. Extra hit points are always welcome.

Weapon Finesse (****): This feat is a must have for Dexterity builds. However, for Strength builds this is a terrible (*) feat.

Weapon Focus (claws) (***): You gain a +1 bonus to attack rolls with claws. If you feel you need to improve your accuracy, this is a good feat to take.

Weapon Shift (****): Requires the Wild Shape class feature. Changes the damage type of the natural weapons when you Wild Shape to that of a weapon you were holding before you changed shape. Your natural weapons also gain all of the weapon’s properties, except for double weapon and fragile. You also get additional bonuses when applying the trip property. Notable among many other options, this feat could grant you reach.

Wild Speech (***): You are able to talk while in wild shape, and gain speak with animals as a spell-like ability for a number of minutes per day equal to your Shifter level. Requires Wild Shape and Druid level 6th. It is important to remember that the Shifter’s Wild Shape class feature enables you to treat your effective Druid level as your Shifter level for the purposes of qualifying for feats which require Wild Shape.

Wild Vigor (***): A number of times per day equal to your Wisdom bonus, when you Wild Shape, you gain a number of temporary hit points equal to your base attack bonus. This is a good feat to have to increase your durability.

Skills

Your 4 + Int modifier skill points might sound fairly good, but there are really only a few critical class skills that this class possesses. You may want to consider investing ranks in non-class skills, however I will only list the class skills for this guide.

Acrobatics (Dex) (***): Helps you move through combat. Not a bad skill to invest in. 

Climb (Str) (**): Situational. Occasionally used depending on the location of the campaign.

Craft (Int) (*): I can’t think of many reasons you would want to take this.

Fly (Dex) (*): Taking one rank is probably fine.

Handle Animal (Cha) (*): Unless you’re planning on getting an animal companion, this is very situational.

Knowledge (nature) (Int) (****): This is a very useful skill in general, despite your likely very low Intelligence score.

Perception (Wis) (****): This is the most used skill in the game, and you should have a pretty good Wisdom score on top of that. Put ranks in it when you can.

Profession (Wis) (*): Very situational. If you’re looking to spend the game running a business, you’re probably playing the wrong game. 

Ride (Dex) (*): You’re not really built for mounted combat, and you can turn into an animal to reach speeds equal to that of a mount. Very little reason to put any ranks in this.

Stealth (Dex) (***): You likely have a decent Dexterity score. You’re no rogue, but you could definitely serve as a scout if you need to.

Survival (Wis) (***): It’s very situational, but your high wisdom score can make this a nice skill to have if your GM ever has you running wilderness encounters.

Swim (Str) (**): Situational. Occasionally used depending on the location of the campaign.

Traits

Here are some of the most useful traits for Shifters.

Adopted (Social) (****): Pick a trait from another race. A good option to consider from the large list of traits that adopted makes available to you is Tusked (***). Another option you may want to consider if planning on running a Dexterity-based Tiger Grappling Build is Intrepid Volunteer (***).

Bred for War (Race, Human) (****): Gain a +1 trait bonus on Intimidate checks and a +1 trait bonus on your CMB because of your great size. This is really only relevant for grapple builds, and is red (*) for anyone else.

Bully (Social) (***): Gain a +1 to Intimidate checks, and Intimidate is always a class skill for you. Good for Intimidate builds.

Dirty Fighter (Combat) (****): Deal +1 damage on every attack you make against an enemy you are flanking. Great with multiple natural attacks.

Elven Reflexes (Race, Half-Elf) (****): +2 trait bonus to Initiative checks. A higher initiative bonus is good for any build. Remember that trait bonuses don’t stack.

Heavy Hitter (Regional) (****): Gain a +1 trait bonus to attacks with “unarmed attacks”. Because it doesn’t specify unarmed strikes, this could be interpreted as meaning any unarmed attack, including natural attacks. If your GM decides however that it only affects unarmed strikes, this option is red (*).

Indomitable Faith (Faith) (***): Gain a +1 bonus on Will saves.

Reactionary (Combat) (****): Another +2 trait bonus to Initiative checks. A higher initiative bonus is good for any build. Remember that trait bonuses don’t stack.

Warrior of Old (Race, Elf) (****): Still another way to get +2 trait bonus to Initiative checks. A higher initiative bonus is good for any build. Remember that trait bonuses don’t stack.

Equipment

Magic item choices are a critical part of any build. Below are a list of useful magic items for the base Shifter class. It is important to remember that items which require activation can not be activated while in Wild Shape.

Magic Armor:

Wild (*): Very expensive, but if you find it as loot you might consider equipping it.. The ability to use the enhancements and enchantment on your armor while in Wild Shape is worth the trade-off off weakening the effects of Defensive Instinct. However, Bracers of Armor can give you a similar effect while not halving your Defensive Instinct.

Rhino Hide / Mammoth Hide (***): For builds utilizing charge, this is a very useful damage boost to have in conjunction with the Wild special armor ability. For other builds, this is red (*).

Rings:

Ring of Freedom of Movement (****): Helps you avoid a lot of harmful effects.

Ring of Invisibility (**): A great ability to have in your arsenal. However it can not be activated while in Wild Shape.

Ring of Protection (****): A nice option to increase your Armor Class.

Belts:

Belt of Giant Strength (**): Nice constant bonus to an ability score, but doesn’t stack with the ability score bonuses of your minor forms.

Belt of Incredible Dexterity (**): Nice constant bonus to an ability score, but doesn’t stack with the ability score bonuses of your minor forms.

Belt of Physical Might (**): Nice constant bonus to ability scores, but doesn’t stack with the ability score bonuses of your minor forms.

Belt of Physical Perfection (**): Nice constant bonus to ability scores, but doesn’t stack with the ability score bonuses of your minor forms.

Belt of Thunderous Charging (****): When you charge, treat your natural weapons as one size category larger than they actually are. Nice constant bonus to ability scores, but doesn’t stack with the ability score bonuses of your minor forms.

Body:

Bestial Rags (****): Enables you to shift into another major and major form, or if you have that form, shift into said form at a higher level. Also lets you stay in your minor form for 5 additional minutes per day.

Druid's Vestment (***): Cheap option which lets you assume Wild Shape for slightly longer.

Chest:

Shirt of Immolation (****): For grapple builds, this is a great item. There is an extremely strict rules interpretation which would would make the claim that this ability does not function in Wild Shape, in which case this is a red (*) item. For other builds, this is also a red (*) item as their is really very little to no benefit to taking it.

Snakeskin Tunic (**): A medium cost ability with a few nice bonuses, some of which won’t stack with other bonuses you’ll get later on.

Eyes:

Eyes Of The Eagle (***): A perception bonus is always nice.

Fogcutting Lenses (**): Relatively cheap ability to see through magical and normal fogs, mists, and similar obscurement. However they confer a -4 penalty on Perception checks, and can’t be taken off to remove that penalty while you’re still in Wild Shape.

Truesight Goggles (***): Pretty expensive. Gives you constant true seeing, and the ability to use analyze dweomer once per day. The analyze dweomer function can not be used while wild shaped.

Goggles of Night (***): Grant the user 60-foot darkvision.

Feet:

Boots of Elvenkind (**): Relatively cheap +5 competence bonus on Acrobatics checks.

Boots of Speed (**): As a free action you can act as though under the effects of haste for up to 10 rounds each day. Can not be used while wild shaped.

Sandals of Quick Reaction (**): Relatively cheap. Grants the ability to make both a move and standard action on surprise rounds.

Hands:

Apprentice’s Cheating Gloves (**): Very cheap utility option. Can not be used while in Wild Shape.

Deliquescent Gloves (***): Relatively cheap option. Adds the corrosive special weapon propery to the hands wearing the gloves. There’s some uncertainty about whether or not you get the corrosive special weapon property while wild shaped. If your GM rules that you can’t, this becomes a red (*) option.

Gauntlets of Rending (***): Relatively cheap option. Gain a +2 bonus on damage rolls with claw attacks. Take a -4 penalty on Dexterity-based checks involving your hands.

Gauntlets of the Skilled Maneuver (**): Gain a +2 bonus on one type of combat maneuver check. An ok (***) option for grapple builds.

Head:

Helm of the Mammoth Lord (****): Gives you a gore attack, and gives you cold resistance. You also get a few odd elephant based abilities. There’s some uncertainty about whether or not you can use the gore attack while wild shaped. If you can’t, this becomes a red (*) option.

Mask of Giants (****): Very pricy, but a powerful option. Enables you to use your Wild Shape to transform into various giant humanoids. The forms allowed by a lesser mask of giants are ogre, troll, fire giant, frost giant, or stone giant.

Vermin Mask (****): Bestows several benefits when you use Wild Shape to turn into a creature with the vermin type. You can speak normally while in your vermin form, and your Wild Shape lasts for an additional 3 hours. If you are not regularly shapeshifting into a creature with the vermin type (such as a dragonfly, giant wasp, mantis, scorpion, or spider), this becomes a red (*) option.

Headband:

Headband of Inspired Wisdom (****): Get this as soon as you can. You need this for almost every build using the base Shifter and will likely not have enough Wisdom to access some great feats without it.

Neck:

Amulet of Mighty Fists (****): Enables you to gain enhancement bonuses to your natural weapon attack and damage rolls, and/or add melee weapon special abilities to your natural weapon attacks.

Amulet of Natural Armor (***): Get this if you feel you need an additional natural armor bonus. However, Amulet of Mighty Fists is likely a better option for this slot.

Shoulders:

Cloak of Displacement, Minor (****): Grants a continuous 20% miss chance on attacks against the wearer.

Cloak of Resistance (****): A very cheap, common choice for any build. It’ll work just as well for you as for anyone else.

Wrists:

Armbands of the Brawler (***): Extremely cheap (only 500 gp). Grants a +1 competency bonus on grapple checks and checks to break a grapple. Great for grapple builds.

Bracers of Armor (***): Extremely expensive, but a good boost to your Armor Class if you can afford it. Doesn’t half Defensive Instinct, so this is a good option if you can afford it. The bracers do meld into your form however, so you need someone to put them on you after wild shaping.

Slotless:

Agile Alpenstock (***): Getting an enhancement bonus to speed and enhancement bonus to CMD against trip attacks are both nice effects for such a relatively inexpensive magic item.

Book, Tome of Understanding (****): A very nice, but very expensive item.

Book, Manual of Gainful Exercise (****): A very nice, but very expensive item.

Ioun Stones (Varies): Ioun stones are great. They don’t take up any slots and the bonuses they give tend to be very beneficial. If you’re struggling to think of something to buy, a good choice might be an ioun stone.

Ioun Torch (****): An extremely cheap, but useful item. It’s a torch that you can use without having to hold onto it yourself. This is very useful since you’re not likely to always have a hand available.

Polymorphic Pouch (***): This is a good item to have if you can afford it as it gives you a bag to put items with which your allies can take things out of while you’re still using Wild Shape.

Sashimono of Comfort (***): A constant endure elements effect is nice for such a relatively low cost magic item.

Stone of Good Luck (Luckstone) (***): This is an expensive item, but if you can afford it, the bonuses are great.

Traveler’s Any Tool (****): Another extremely cheap yet very useful item. All your favorite tools and simple gadgets in the form of a single item. A very nice piece of gear to have.

Traveler’s Translator (***): Relatively cheap item, which enables you to understand one new spoken language, which can be changed every 24 hours.

Wayfinder (***): The wayfinder and its various subtypes is a nice little item with a few nice uses. You can also place a ioun stone within the wayfinder in order to get additional bonuses. If your GM allows the pre-errata version, placing a clear spindle ioun stone within the wayfinder for permanent Protection From Evil is definitely a blue (****) option.

Aspects

There will be two ratings (minor form/major form). When choosing your aspects, you should first consider which aspect you plan to use in combat (the two best options being Deinonychus (****) And Tiger (****)). Then you can consider options who’s minor aspects best buff your major form, such as enhancement bonuses to ability scores, and utility forms such as falcon for flight and scouting. It should be noted that the ranking of these forms is based on their usefulness to a standard Shifter than isn’t using any archetypes. I will delve later into how archetypes impact these rankings. When looking at the major forms, make sure to take into account the FAQ

Bat (**/***): The minor form gives you a scaling darkvision, and later, blindsense. The major form gives you a flight speed and serves as a great scouting form. This major form only possesses a single natural bite attack. Your large size, possibly combined with Lunge (***), will allow you to make good use of the Flyby Attack (****) feat this form gets later on. Enter combat in this form by focusing on using Vital Strike (****) power attacks (when moving at an enemy), combined with the Flyby Attack (****) this form gets later on.

Bear (****/**): The minor form gives you a scaling enhancement bonus to your Constitution score. The major form turns you into a large dire bear. The bear possesses a bite attack and two claw attacks, all of which are primary natural attacks. The claw attacks also possess the grab ability. While this form has abilities which help towards your overall damage, and might also be ok for a grapple build, the inability for this type of build to close the distance while attacking an enemy detracts from its usefulness as a combat form. I would not recommend focusing on this as a combat form, at least not early on.

Boar (*/***): The minor form gives you a Diehard as a bonus feat. Later, you also require a larger number of negative hit point damage to die. The major form turns you into a large-sized dire boar with a gore attack. Later, the form gets other traits which strengthen the single natural attack possessed by this form. When building around this form, focus on either charging (when moving at an enemy) or Shifter’s Fury power attacks (when remaining stationary).

Bull (****/***): The minor form gives you a scaling enhancement bonus to your Strength score. The major form turns you into a large bull with a gore attack and powerful charge. This major form only possesses a single natural attack, which is augmented by your large size. When building around this form, focus on either charging (when moving at an enemy) or Shifter’s Fury power attacks (when remaining stationary).

Crocodile (**/*): The minor form gives you a scaling competence bonus on Swim checks and grapple combat maneuver checks. The major form turns you into a large-sized crocodile with two natural attacks, one of which has grab. You only get two natural attacks, only one of which is a primary natural attack. While your large size helps with damage, it is very much counteracted by the attacks you have access to. I would not recommend focusing on this as a combat form, though it may have some use in a grapple-focused build.

Deinonychus (**/****): The minor form gives you a scaling bonus on your Initiative checks. The major form is a great choice as your primary combat form. Focusing on deinonychus as your primary major form for combat is a good idea do to the high amounts of damage such a build can output. A deinonychus build results in a high number of natural attacks. A build focusing on this form can be found below in the Builds section.

Dolphin (**/*): The minor form gives you a scaling competence bonus on Knowledge checks to identify abilities and weaknesses of creatures. The major form turns you into a large-sized dolphin with a single bite attack. This form is of very limited use in campaigns where water does not play a large role. However, in campaigns with large amounts of water, this form is orange (**). When building around this form, focus on using either Vital Strike (****) power attacks (when moving at an enemy) or Shifter’s Fury power attacks (when remaining stationary).

Dragonfly (**/**): The minor form gives you a scaling enhancement bonus to your movement speed while charging. The major form turns you into a medium-sized dragonfly with a single bite attack. This puts you on par with the aspect of the owl in terms of combat ability. At early levels this results in a form with low damage and practically no combat utility. However, later on, this form may be useful for a flyby attack build.

Electric Eel (***/*): The minor form makes your attacks do a scaling amount of electricity damage in addition to any other damage you deal. When used in conjunction with 3 or more attacks in a round, this minor form is blue (****). The major form turns you into a small-sized electric eel with a primary bite attack and a secondary tail attack. I would not recommend focusing on this as a combat form.

Elephant (**/***): The minor form gives you a scaling enhancement bonus on bull rush and overrun combat maneuver checks. The major form turns you into a large adolescent elephant with low-light vision, scent, a gore attack, and a slam attack with reach. In addition, you get an additional +2 bonus to strength and natural armor, however, the natural armor will not stack with any other bonuses to natural armor. A decent trample build could be made with this form at later levels, but there are better options available to the class. 

Falcon (**/**): The minor form gives you a scaling competence bonus on Perception checks. The major form gives you a flight speed and serves as a great scouting form. It is, however, relatively limited in its uses as a combat form. It possesses 3 primary attacks. However, the damage die for its attacks aren’t exceptional by any means, and the form lacks a method for closing the gap between you and your enemy without losing out on damage. I would not recommend focusing on this as a combat form.

Frog (**/**): The minor form gives you a scaling competence bonus on Acrobatics checks. The major form allows you to turn into a giant frog that has some grapple utility at later levels. While your large size helps with damage, it is very much counteracted by the attacks you have access to. Although this is not a great form for dealing damage, a Shifter who already excels at grappling (such as a tiger Shifter), and is likely to encounter aquatic terrain in the future, could benefit from utilizing this major form.

Giant Wasp (***/*): The minor form gives you a scaling bonus on Will saves against mind-affecting effects. The major form turns you into a giant wasp with no natural attack until 8th level. This makes for a decent combat form once you reach 8th level. This attack is only usable a limited number of times per day. I would not recommend taking this aspect to regularly use in combat. You may get some use out of the form in campaigns that regularly feature creatures with the swarm subtype as enemies.

Horse (**/*): The minor form gives you the endurance feat, as well as an enhancement bonus to your speed. You later gain the run feat, and your enhancement bonus to your speed increases. The major form turns you into a horse with absolutely no attacks. All of the things they get are combat based. I would not recommend you take this aspect without your DM allowing you to change substantial parts of the aspect.

Lion (**/*): The minor form gives you a scaling competence bonus on Intimidate checks. The major form turns you into a dire lion with no natural attacks. This makes for a decent combat form. However, there are better options available to the class. I would not recommend you take this aspect without your DM allowing you to change substantial parts of the aspect.

Lizard (**/*): The minor form gives you a scaling competence bonus on Acrobatics checks. The major form allows you to turn into a large-sized giant lizard that has very little of note. You only get two natural attacks, only one of which is a primary natural attack. While your large size helps with damage, it is very much counteracted by the attacks you have access to. I would not recommend focusing on this as a combat form.

Mantis (****/**): The minor form gives you a Lunge as a bonus feat. Later, it also increases your reach. The major form turns you into a large-sized giant mantis with two primary claw attacks with grab. I would not recommend focusing on this as a combat form, though it may have some use in a grapple-focused build.

Monkey (*/***): The minor form gives you a scaling competence bonus on Climb checks. The major form enables you to turn into a large monkey, enabling you to use your hands to wield weapons within this form. The ability to wield weapons, as well as its large size, gives this form a lot of options. If you plan on using this form for combat, you may want to consider Weapon Proficiency (Butchering Axe) (****). When building around this form, focus on using either Vital Strike (****) power attacks (when moving at an enemy) or iterative power attacks (when remaining stationary).

Mouse (***/**): The minor form gives you evasion, and later improved evasion as the rogue class features. The major form is a tiny mouse, with relatively limited applications other than scouting. This major form only possesses a single natural attack. It may be viable to enter combat in this form by focusing on using either Vital Strike (****) power attacks (when moving at an enemy) or Shifter’s fury power attacks (when remaining stationary), while using both Weapon Finesse (****) and Shifter’s Edge (****).

Octopus (*/*): The minor form gives you a scaling competence bonus on Escape Artist checks. The major form turns you into a small-sized octopus with a bite attack and a “tentacles” attack (which is not a standard type of natural attack) which does no damage (though Shifter Claws changes this) and has grab. This form also gets multiattack as a bonus feat, however, this form does not possess enough attacks to make use of multiattack. At a later level, you gain the ability to apply your Shifter Claws damage to your tentacles, which is already a thing which could be done at 1st level. My guess is that, originally during editing, the octopus possessed multiple tentacle attacks. This was likely later removed, resulting in the current version.

Owl (**/**): The minor form gives you a scaling competence bonus on Stealth checks. The major form turns you into a medium, and at later levels large, owl. This form works well for scouting, though it is limited in its early combat utility. You get two talon attacks (for which you will want to use your Shifter Claws damage dice relatively early on). At early levels this results in a form with low damage and practically no combat utility. However, later on, this form may be useful for grappling enemies and dropping them from high altitudes. This facet of the major form makes it worth considering later on as a secondary combat form for a grappling build like a tiger Shifter, in which case it may be upgraded to green (***) as a major form.

Peafowl (**/**): The minor form gives you a scaling enhancement bonus to your Charisma score. The major form turns you into a small-sized peafowl with two primary talon attacks, a fly speed that can not be used to hover, and a bonus on Stealth checks. This form also gets the ability to stun enemies within a 15-foot cone. I would not recommend focusing on this as a combat form, but it may be a useful form to get on a set of bestial rags.

Scorpion (***/***): The minor form gives you a scaling competence bonus on Stealth checks and grapple combat maneuver checks. The major form turns you into a large-sized giant scorpion with two primary claw attacks with grab and a secondary sting attack. This makes for a decent combat form. However, there are better options available to the class.

Snake (**/**): The minor form gives you scaling bonuses to attack rolls on attacks of opportunity and to dodge attacks of opportunity made against you. The major form turns you into a large snake that can poison enemies with an attack of opportunity at much later levels. This major form only possesses a single natural attack. When building around this form, focus on using either Vital Strike (****) power attacks (when moving at an enemy) or Shifter’s Fury power attacks (when remaining stationary).

Snapping Turtle (****/****): The minor form gives you a scaling enhancement bonus to your Wisdom score. The major form turns you into a large snapping turtle with one natural bite attack. As written, the bonus damage from your strength modifier for your bite attack should stack with your normal modifier for strength damage. This makes for a great combat form. When building around this form, focus on using either Vital Strike (****) power attacks (when moving at an enemy) or Shifter’s Fury power attacks (when remaining stationary). Although this is not the best form for dealing damage, it may be good for a trip build.

Spider (**/**): The minor form gives you a scaling competence bonus on Climb checks, Stealth checks, and saves against web effects and to break free of webs. The major form turns you into a medium-sized giant scorpion with the web special attack and a bite attack. When building around this form, focus on using either Vital Strike (****) power attacks (when moving at an enemy) or Shifter’s Fury power attacks (when remaining stationary).

Stag (**/*): The minor form gives you a scaling enhancement bonus to your speed. The major form really doesn’t have much a lot makes it stand out. Two out of three of the form’s attacks are secondary attacks, severely limiting your ability to deal damage. You also don’t possess a good way to both deal damage and close the distance between you and your enemy until level 15, which is a long way to wait.

Tiger (****/****): The minor form gives you a scaling enhancement bonus to your Dexterity score. The major form is a great choice as your primary combat form. Focusing on tiger as your primary major form for combat is a good idea do to the high amounts of damage such a build can output. Attaining the kind of damage you want from this form requires little in the way of feats, enabling you to also specialize such a build for grappling (which this form is extremely good at). A build focusing on this form can be found below in the Builds section. If planning to go the route of grappling, you may want to consider multiclassing and taking one level in the Monk class with the tetori archetype. With it, among less important things, you get Improved Unarmed Strike and Improved Grapple.

Wolf (**/***): The minor form gives you the scent ability, which your primary major form will likely already possess. This major form only possesses a single natural attack. When building around this form, focus on using either Vital Strike (****) power attacks (when moving at an enemy) or Shifter’s Fury power attacks (when remaining stationary). Although this is not the best form for dealing damage, it may be good for a trip build.

Wolverine (***/**): The minor form give you 1 additional hit point per hit die, and increases the amount of negative hit points needed to kill you. Your minor form also gives you the diehard feat later on. This is an interesting major form. The major form is large sized and possesses three primary natural attacks, as well as the ability to use the Barbarian’s Rage class feature. However, the wolverine can only enter rage after taking damage. As such, it is a good idea to talk to your GM as to whether it is possible for you to dead a point of damage to yourself as a swift action. Such an action is possible in the Brutal Obedience feat, and may be allowed without taking that feat depending on the GM. If your GM does not allow this, or you find that you have some feats to spare, Brutal Obedience (***) might be a good feat to consider. Dislocate (***) may be a better option, so long as you don’t plan to reach 14th level. If your GM rules that you are capable of taking the Extra Rage (****) and Extra Rage Power (****) feats, this major aspect becomes blue (****). If your GM allows you to take Extra Rage Power (****), one of the best powers to take would be Greater Beast Totem (****), although there are many other great rage powers to choose from as well. The usefulness of this aspect depends headivy on the rulings of your GM.

Faerie Mount (*/**): I know what you’re thinking. There’s no way Paizo made an aspect of the corgi. Well, you’d be wrong. The minor form gives you a scaling competence bonus on saves against fear. The major form is not very strong. This isn’t likely to be legalized for society play anytime in the near future (or probably ever), but it might be fun for your home games. When building around this form, focus on using either Vital Strike (****) power attacks (when moving at an enemy) or Shifter’s Fury power attacks (when remaining stationary). An example of such a build can be found below in the Builds section.

Archetypes

Other than this section, this guide assumes that you are building your Shifter without any archetypes. This section will take a look at the archetypes available to you. The rankings of these archetypes based on a comparison against the base Shifter class. The rankings of feats and other non-archetype based options within the analyses of the archetypes (such as feats and races), are based on the usefulness of those options with respect to the overall options available to you after it is assumed that you have chosen to take that archetype.

Adaptive Shifter (****)

While the base Shifter exists as an intuitive class for new players to live out their wildshaping dreams without feeling more overwhelmed than necessary, the Adaptive Shifter exists to enable more experienced players to push the Shifter to its limits. Becoming tiger who can temporarily call upon the strength of a bull or the durability of a bear can be fun for a while, but what if you want something more versatile? Have you ever dreamed of becoming a flying allosaurus covered in spikes who also can shoot those spikes at their enemies? No. But doesn’t that sound awesome? Calling it merely a Shifter with Wild Shape really only scratches the surface of how versatile and interesting this archetype can be. If you are an experienced player who wants to get the most out of their Shifter while sticking with the original intentions of the class, this is definitely the archetype for you. One current issue with the Adaptive Shifter is that it’s ability Unfettered Wild Shape does not RAW count as possessing the Wild Shape class feature, meaning that (unless a future FAQ fixes this) the Adaptive Shifter is incapable of taking feats and utilizing magic items which require you to possess the Wild Shape class feature. Your GM may also rule that you still count as having the Wild Shape class feature (possibly through offerings of soda and pizza) in which case this archetype is all the better. It is also important to note that RAW you can not use your Shifter Claws while Wild Shaped with this archetype, though this does not seem to be intended and I would rule otherwise as a GM.

Adaptive Claws (Su) (**): You can switch your Shifter Claws ability from two claw attacks to a single bite, gore, or tail slap attack. As written, this ability only impacts your natural form, and so is irrelevant while wildshaping. When not wild shaped, this ability is slightly situational unless your natural form has its own claw attacks which would normally be overridden, an uncommon and disadvantageous thing to possess for a class and archetype so focused on wildshaping. Alters Shifter Claws.

Reactive Aspect (Su) (****): In exchange for the traditional aspects available to the Shifter, this archetype instead grants you a slew of adaptations which you can momentarily gain a number of times per day as an immediate or swift action. In the beginning, only one form can be held at a time, however, the number of forms one can have active at once increases (up to three). Replaces Shifter Aspect, Chimeric Aspect, Greater Chimeric Aspect, and Final Aspect.

Reactive Form (Su) (****): These are the forms which the Adaptive Shifter activates using Reactive Aspect. The Adaptive Shifter can pick two aspects at first level, one aspect at second level, and one aspect every two levels thereafter, although your capstone at level 20 teaches you all of these forms. I will review each aspect below. Some forms are “lasting forms” meaning that one can spend two uses of Reactive Aspect in order to extend the duration to one minute. Such “lasting forms” will be noted in their descriptions, and are different than the Lasting Adaptation ability, which will be detailed later. Some forms can be taken an additional time, adding additional or better effects to the form.

Adaptive Defense (***): Choose a saving throw (Fortitude/Reflex/Will). While this form is active, gain a competence bonus equal to your Wisdom modifier to that save.

Aligned Adaptation (***): Change the alignment that spells, effects, and magic items perceive you as by one step from your own alignment while this form is active. At later levels, you also gain the ability to treat your natural attacks as if they were weapons of the assumed alignment. This is a lasting form.

Aquatic Form (**): Gain a swim speed equal to your base speed, as well as the ability to breath underwater, while this form is active. This is a lasting form.

Climbing Form (*): Gain a climb speed equal to your base speed while this form is active. You’ll likely find that Sky Hunter Form (detailed later) fills this niche and more quite well. This is a lasting form.

Durable Form (**): You gain a scaling DR/adamantine. This can be a useful bonus early when you can get it, but loses its effectiveness at later levels. You must be 8th level to take this form.

Evasive Form (**): Gain compression, a dodge bonus against grapple combat maneuvers, and a competence bonus on Escape Artist checks while this form is active. This might be useful depend on your individual GM, but for the most part this form is too situational for my liking. This is a lasting form.

Giant Form (**): If your GM goes with the RAW interpretation of polymorph effects such as this form and Wild Shape, this ability will be of little to no use to you as it will not affect your Wild Shaped form. However, if by some miracle you can get your GM to rule that this ability does and is meant to mesh with Wild Shape, this becomes a must have blue (****) form. If you can get your GM to rule that way, take it immediately. This is a lasting form. This form can only be activated as a swift action.

Resistant Form (***): When assuming this form, the Shifter gains a scaling bonus to their choice of either acid, cold, electricity, fire, or sonic damage (chosen when the form is assumed) while this form is active. You can learn this form a second time to increase the amount of resistance that you get from this form. This is a lasting form.

Restoring Form (***): Gives you a scaling self heal as a form. This form can only be activated as a swift action.

Scouting form (***): Grants a competence bonus on Stealth checks, as well as the trackless step ability of the base Shifter, while this form is active. At later levels, this form also enables you to use Stealth even when lacking cover or concealment. This makes for a great scouting form. This is a lasting form.

Sensory Form (***): Gain low-light vision and scent while this form is active. You can learn this form a second time to also gain darkvision and a competence bonus on Perception checks. This is a lasting form.

Sky Hunter Form (****): Gain a fly speed equal to your base speed with average maneuverability while this form is active. You can learn this form a second time to increase your fly speed and maneuverability. You must be 6th level to take this form. This is a lasting form.

Spiked Form (**): You grow spines all over your body, heavily damaging any enemies that attack you with unarmed strikes or melee natural weapons. You can learn this form a second time to also gain the ability to shoot your spines as if they were thrown natural weapons. This increases your versatility, and enables you to act in both a melee and ranged capacity even while wildshaped, making taking this twice a blue (****) option. This is a lasting form.

Sprinting Form (***): Increases your base speed, which is helpful for the usual reasons. This is a lasting form.

Stretching Form (****): Increasing your reach with natural weapons. This affects all natural weapons, which can be incredibly beneficial.

Lasting Adaptation (Su) (****): This ability isn’t unlocked until 5th level, but it enables you to spend 1 minute, and two uses of their reactive aspect, to assume a lasting aspect for an entire day. This aspect doesn’t count against the maximum number of aspects that the shifter can have active at one time. Some lasting aspects will have level requirements to use which you will not meet by the time you get this ability. At a much later level, you will be able to maintain two lasting adaptations simultaneously. Replaces Wild Empathy, Track, Woodland Stride, and Trackless Step.

Unfettered Wild Shape (Su) (****): This ability isn’t unlocked until 6th level (two levels later than the base Shifter’s Wild Shape), but it enables you to turn into other creatures, functioning mostly like a Druid’s Wild Shape ability, with a few notable exceptions. The Shifter can remain wild shaped for a number of hours equal to half of their level, which need not be consecutive but must be used in 1 hour increments. Abilities which function based on “uses of wild shape” treat 1 hour as a use for the purposes of this archetype. The Adaptive Shifter gains all wild shape abilities of the druid at their respective levels, except for the ability to turn into an elemental. At 6th level, you can become a Tiny, Small, Medium, or Large animal (as beast shape I and II). At 8th level, you can also become a Huge or Diminutive animal (as beast shape III), or a Small or Medium plant creature (as plant shape I). At 10th level, you can also become a Large plant creature (as plant shape II). At 12th level, you can also become a Huge plant creature (as plant shape III). Replaces Wild Shape.

Dragonblood Shifter (**)

The Dragonblood Shifter archetype loses the little versatility it already had with wild shaping in order to gain the ability to shapeshift into a dragon. This ability to shapeshift comes very late in the game, especially for a class based on shapeshifting. Form of the Dragon can only be used for a limited number of minutes per day, which is far further limits the amount of time you can spent in Wild Shape.

Draconic Aspect (Su) (**): You gain the ability to change into a draconic aspect as a swift action, gaining a scaling energy resistance depending on the dragon, and later, gaining a scaling breath weapon. Replaces Shifter Aspect and all improvements of Shifter Aspect.

Wyrmshifter (Su) (**): You gain constant bonuses against sleep and paralysis, and the ability to use wild shape to cast form of the dragon I for a number of minutes each day. This prevents you from using wild shape for any other uses, and is gained relatively late in your career. Alters Wild Shape and replaces Chimeric Aspect.

Improved Wyrmshifter (Su) (**): Your bonuses against sleep and paralysis increase, and your wild shape now functions as form of the dragon II, with the number of minutes each day doubling. Replaces Greater Chimeric Aspect.

Plant Shape (Su) (**): You become immune to sleep and paralysis, and your wild shape now lasts for hours per day. Replaces Final Aspect.

Elementalist Shifter (***)

The Elementalist Shifter excels at dealing damage with weapons, augmented by Elemental Strike. Players looking to build an Elementalist Shifter should consider a Dexterity build focused on using scimitars to deal out damage. You will almost never use Elemental Form for this type of a build, as it doesn’t function in conjunction with Elemental Strike. For such a build, Weapon Finesse (****), Dervish Dance (****), and Power Attack (****) are crucial. Weapon Focus (Scimitar) (***), Improved Critical (Scimitar) (***), Two-Weapon Fighting (***), and Combat Reflexes (***) are also good feats to consider when making a Elementalist Shifter.

Elemental Aspect (Su) (****): Allows you to pick an elemental aspect instead of a shifter aspect. You gain an aspect at 1st, 5th, 10th, and 15th levels. Alters Shifter’s Aspect.

Air (****): You take on the power of an air elemental, gaining the ability to fly and to control powerful gusts of wind.

Earth (****): You take on the power of an earth elemental, gaining the ability to burrow through the earth and deliver powerful blows.

Fire (**): You take on the power of a fire elemental, becoming a being of living flame that can burn enemies and move with great speed.

Water (*): You take on the power of a water elemental, gaining the ability to move swiftly in water, rain down crashing blows on your enemies, and transform into a swirling vortex.

Elemental Speech (Su) (*): A slight downgrade from Wild Empathy. Replaces Wild Empathy.

Elemental Strike (Su) (****): This is a step up from your shifter’s claws in term of pure damage. Replaces Shifter Claws. There is currently a mistake with this in that the archetype does not mention the type of energy damage done by the various aspects. With that said, it’s probably safe to assume that the damage types are: air = electricity, earth = acid, fire = fire, and water = cold.

Elemental Form (Su) (**): When you use Wild Shape, you are instead effected as by elemental body I, but only gain the benefits listed by your elemental aspect. While in an elemental form, you can speak only the elemental language associated with that form, and you can do so only if you know it. Elemental Strike can not be used while taking an Elemental Form. Alters Wild Shape.

Omnielementalist (Su) (***): When you take on one minor form each from two of your elemental aspects, you gain an additional ability as long as you maintain the form. Replaces Chimeric Aspect and Greater Chimeric Aspect.

Ash Storm (Su) (Air/Fire) (***): Grants a 20% miss chance against ranged attacks.

Downpour (Su) (Air/Water) (*): Extinguish adjacent non magical fires, and have a chance to extinguish ongoing magical fire.

Mudslide (Su) (Earth/Water) (***): Squares adjacent to you count as difficult terrain.

Sandstorm (Su) (Air/Earth) (**): All light levels within 20 feet of you diminish by one step, and creatures caught in the effect take 1d6 points of nonlethal damage each round they remain within the sandstorm.

Steam Cloud (Su) (Fire/Water) (***): Creates an obscuring mist effect within 20 feet of you which stays in the spot it is placed.

Volcanic Stride (Su) (Earth/Fire) (**): As a standard action, you can turn your square into difficult terrain, and cause creatures that pass through the square to take fire damage.

Feyform Shifter (***)

The Feyform Shifter archetype loses surprisingly little to get the ability to shapeshift into a fey being. Fey Form can only be used for a limited number of minutes per day, which is limits the amount of time you can spent in Wild Shaped into that form, so a build utilizing this archetype is better off focusing on shifting into one of the its major aspects.

Fey Aspect (Su) (***): You gain the ability to change into a fey aspect as a swift action, gaining low-light vision, darkvision if you already have low-light vision, and scaling DR/cold iron. You are also treated as having concealment, though this does not apply to stealth checks. Later on, you get access to flying, saves against enchantment spells and effects, resistance to movement-impairing effects, and spell resistance. Alters Shifter Aspect and replaces all improvements of Shifter Aspect.

Fey Shape (Su) (***): You gain the ability to use wild shape to cast fey form I for a number of minutes each day. You can still use wild shape to shift into any other aspects you possess. This ability later improves to fey form II, III, and IV. Alters Wild Shape.

Fey Shifter (Su) (***): You get an animal aspect, and you can now use one of your minor shifter aspects and your fey aspect at the same time. Modifies Chimeric Aspect.

Greater Fey Shifter (Su) (***): You get a second animal aspect, and you can now use two of your minor shifter aspects and your fey aspect at the same time. Modifies Greater Chimeric Aspect.

Final Aspect (Su) (***): You get a third animal aspect, and you can now use all of your minor shifter aspects and your fey aspect at the same time. You can also use both your major and minor forms at will. Alters Final Aspect.

Fiendflesh Shifter (**)

You lose a lot by taking this archetype, and the things you get in return aren’t really good enough to justify taking it for many people. It would be very difficult to make a successful build using this archetype at some gaming tables. That said, this archetype does have its upsides. This archetype is made for people who are not expecting a lot of encounters per day. At first level you get access to up to 4 minutes of shaping into fiendish aspect, which can be broken up into 1-minute increments (10 in game rounds). If you believe that you will have no issues with such a duration, it’s worth examining what the Fiendflesh Shifter is good at. The Fiend Flesh shifter is not an archetype that excels in dealing damage. Instead, the majority of its abilities are devoted to increasing your durability and immunity to various dangers. That said, the best form of defense in a game like Pathfinder is traditionally a good offense, and it is in this that the Fiendflesh archetype tends to fall short. If you’re looking for a build that excels at taking hits, and believe your GM is likely not to make encounters which drain your uses of Fiendish Aspect, an argument could be made that this archetype is green (***) for some. When making a Fiendflesh Shifter build, a Strength (****) build focus on the Demon aspect is probably better for overall damage, followed closely by a Dexterity (***) build that still utilizes that same Demon aspect. A few odd quirks of this archetype should be noted which diverge from how the shifter normally functions. First off, the shifter does not possess a true Wild Shape ability, so taking any feat like Mutated Shape which requires you to have the Wild Shape class ability is off of the table. Also, because of the way Fiendish Aspect is worded, it is not technically a polymorph effect, and so you don’t lose the types of abilities such as some racial traits that you would normally lose when using Wild Shape. This means that certain races become more desirable when playing this archetype. For example, a player playing a wereraptor-kin (which is probably a blue (****) option for this archetype) does not lose the 2 talon attacks that they get when using their Change Shape racial trait. Using methods like this to gain access to a greater number of natural attacks is critical to the viability of this archetype. Other good option for races include the half-orc (***) with the the toothy alternate racial trait (which gives you a bite attack), and the human (****) for the usual reasons that any class would pick a human. To a large degree, feat choices for increasing the damage of this archetype are fairly consistent with feat choices for the standard shifter, however there are some options that are not available to this archetype due to the changes that it makes to the class. Another quirk of this archetype is that, because it replaces Defensive Instinct, a few of your priorities change. For one thing, Wisdom becomes a red (*) ability score for you. This is because you no longer have any class abilities which use Wisdom. Also, because of the way Fiendish Resilience and Fiendish Aspect function, there is no reason for you to not be wearing medium armor and no reason for you to be purchasing magical items that raise your natural armor class like an Amulet of Natural Armor (which becomes red (*) for this archetype). On the other hand, ability score enhancing magic belts such as the Belt of Physical Perfection become far more necessary (becoming blue (****) items) for this archetype due to the absence of minor forms.

Alignment: You must be of an evil alignment. Alters the Shifter’s alignment.

Infernal Claws (Ex) (***): Your claws are treated as evil weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. Alters Shifter Claws. 

Fiendish Aspect (Su) (**): You can temporarily transform your body into an amalgam of otherworldly evil creatures as a swift action. You gain darkvision or a gore natural attack, and DR 1/good (which increases as you level). Later on you also gain resistance (and even later, immunity) to electricity and fire damage. Replaces Wild Shape, Shifter Aspect, and all improvements to Shifter Aspect.

Fiendish Resilience (Su) (***): You gain a +1 natural armor bonus to your AC and resistance 5 to electricity and fire, but only while unencumbered and either wearing no armor or wearing light or medium nonmetal armor. The natural armor bonus and resistance increase as you level. Replaces Defensive Instinct.

Chimeric Fiend (Su) (**): You gain an additional ability when you use your fiendish aspect ability. Replaces Chimeric Aspect.

Daemon: Acid resistance 10 and a +4 profane bonus on saves against disease.

Demon: The shifter’s electricity resistance doubles.

Devil: The shifter’s fire resistance doubles.

Greater Chimeric Fiend (Su) (**): Chimeric fiend grants you additional bonuses. Replaces Greater Chimeric Aspect.

Daemon: The shifter gains a +4 enhancement bonus to her Constitution score and immunity to disease.

Demon: The shifter gains a +4 enhancement bonus to her Strength score and increases the damage die of all natural attacks by one step.

Devil: The shifter gains a +4 enhancement bonus to her Dexterity score and see in darkness as per the universal monster rule.

Holy Beast (****)

The Holy Beast archetype equips your shifter with the divine tools needed to kill outsiders. The archetype exchanges some of the class’s more situational abilities (such as Wild Empathy, Track, Woodland Stride, and Trackless Step) to treat their natural attacks as aligned weapons of a given alignment. In addition, the Holy Beast gains the gains the range’s Favored Enemy class feature, with the restriction that the enemy chosen must be a type of outsider. Additional outsider types can be chosen later as favored enemies by forgoing choosing an additional aspect. One thing I would consider when looking at this archetype to make full use of Favored Enemy is the Enmity Fetish (***), which enables you to bypass the Holy Beast’s restriction on Favored Enemy options. This archetype is highly useful in games that feature a large amount of outsiders of one alignment or subtype as enemies.

Blessed Claws (Su) (****): The default damage type of your claws is piercing. This may change if using the rules for alternate natural attacks. In addition, at 3rd level your claws are treated as aligned weapons of a chosen alignment (either chaotic, evil, good, or lawful). Alters Shifter Claws

Stoneclaw Strike (Su) (***): You gain the Favored Enemy class feature, picking one specific subtype of outsider. Additionally, 5th level and every level after that you would gain an aspect, you can instead pick an additional outsider subtype as a Favored Enemy. Replaces Wild Empathy, Track, Woodland Stride, and Trackless Step.

Leafshifter (**)

Shifter’s slam is a very slight downgrade from Shifter Claws, and many of the minor aspects which you lose access to by taking this Archetype are far better than the ones you gain access to. That said, this Archetype changes very little and if you want the feel of a more plant based shifter, this archetype won’t penalize you too much. It should also be noted that the Leafshifter is a Ghoran Racial Archetype, and as such, ask your GM if you want to take this with another race other than Ghoran, as the decision of whether or not to make such an archetype exclusive to the race it’s associated with is often a ruling that changes depending upon who the Game Master is.

Shifter’s Slam (Ex) (**): Changes your two claw attacks into slam attacks which deal bludgeoning and piercing damage. Alters Shifter Claws.

Leafshifter’s Aspect (Su) (**): Instead of gaining minor aspects, you get to pick a plant focus from the plant master hunter archetype to associate with her new aspect. 

Assassin Vine (***): The creature gains a +2 bonus on combat maneuver checks to grapple. This bonus increases to +3 at 8th level and +4 at 15th level.

Brambles (**): When the creature is hit by an unarmed strike or natural attack, the attacker takes 1 point of piercing damage. This increases to 2 points at 8th level and 3 points at 15th level.

Creeping Vine (**): The creature gains a +4 competence bonus on Climb checks. This bonus increases to +6 at 8th level and +8 at 15th level.

Giant Flytrap (**): The creature gains a +4 competence bonus on Stealth checks. This bonus increases to +6 at 8th level and +8 at 15th level.

Mushroom (**): The creature gains a +4 enhancement bonus on saves against poison. This bonus increases to +6 at 8th level and +8 at 15th level.

Oak (*): The creature gains a +2 enhancement bonus to CMD. This bonus increases to +4 at 8th level and +6 at 15th level.

Shrieker (**): The creature gains darkvision with a range of 60 feet. At 8th level, the range increases by 30 feet. At 15th level, the creature also gains blindsense with a range of 10 feet.

Spore (**): The creature gains a +4 competence bonus on Fly checks. This bonus increases to +6 at 8th level and +8 at 15th level.

Water Lily (**): The creature gains a +4 competence bonus on Swim checks. This bonus increases to +6 at 8th level and +8 at 15th level.

Oozemorph (*)

The Oozemorph is not a very strong archetype. However, it is one of my favorites due to the uniqueness of the archetype. If you’re looking to get the most out of your Shifter, Oozemorph is not the way to go. However it is a very fun archetype, and there are some important things to note when looking at it. First off, there has been two important FAQs for the Oozemorph which you should read. With the first of these FAQs, a certain workaround utilizing kitsune and similar racial traits is no longer possible. The second part, however, is interesting in that it enables you to keep any items worn by your base form tucked away inside your ooze form, allowing you to immediately equip them upon transforming into a humanoid form, and passive benefits of magic items are still granted in your animal forms. The best way to build your oozemorph is probably to focus on two-handed combat, using the various forms that you eventually gain access to in order to augment your size and abilities. You’ll likely want to begin your career by using alter self to assume the form of whatever race you started as, in order to get any racial traits you may have while so transformed. Later, when you get access to beast shape I, your main combat form will likely consist of either a chimpanzee or an orangutan, granting you an increase to your strength and a natural armor class bonus as well as a climb speed, low-light vision, and scent. Lastly, when you gain access to beast shape II and “giant shape I” (which appears to be intended as giant shape I, and you have little reason to continue playing this archetype if your GM rules otherwise), you’ll want to consider using giant form I to assume the form of either a rock troll or an ice troll. At this point, you’ll want to purchase gear that better suits someone of such a large size, in order to take full advantage of your larger form.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: You are proficient with all simple weapons and light armor. Replaces a Shifter’s normal weapon and armor proficiencies. You will likely want to pick up exotic proficiency early on when using this archetype.

Compression (Ex) (**): You gain compression, as per the universal monster rule. Can be used regardless of form.

Fluidic Body (Su) (**): Your base form changes to that of a protoplasmic blob. Treat your creature type as both ooze and your base creature type from your race for the purposes of effects targeting creatures by type. In this form you are immune to critical hits and precision damage, and can not be flanked. However, you have no magic item slots and cannot benefit from armor; cast spells; hold objects; speak; or use any magic item that requires activation, is held, or is worn on the body. You revert to this form whenever you fall unconscious. You are able to use alter self a limited number of times per day. As you advance in levels you can also use this ability to use beast shape I, and later beast shape II and giant shape I (you can probably assume this was meant to say giant form I). Replaces Chimeric Form, Greater Chimeric Form, Wild Shape, Shifter Aspect, and all improvements of Shifter Aspect.

Morphic Weaponry (Ex) (**): You can create a number of natural weapons to fight with from any portion of her body, regardless of her current form. The number of natural weapons you can make scales as you level up, and includes those gained via your current form. Replaces Shifter Claws.

Ooze Empathy (Ex) (*): Can only use Wild Empathy to influence the attitude of oozes with an Intelligence score of 2 or lower. Alters Wild Empathy.

Damage Reduction (Ex) (**): You gain DR 4/slashing while unencumbered and either wearing no armor or wearing light nonmetal armor. This damage reduction increases at later levels. Replaces Defensive Instinct. 

Clinging Ooze (Ex) (*): You gain a climb speed of 10 feet. Replaces Woodland Stride.

Rageshaper (*)

The Rageshaper is an interesting concept, however the archetype itself would be painful to utilize. Going into a frenzy and possibly attacking your allies if you fail a Will save is never a situation can conceive of wanting to place my character in, and that Will save gets harder and harder to pass with every level.

Alignment: You must be of a non-lawful alignment. Alters the Shifter’s alignment.

Devastating Form (Su) (*): Functions as a far more limited version of the Barbarian’s rage class feature. You also grow one size category larger at the start of your next turn after using this. Breaks armor and clothing that you’re wearing. Can remain in this state for a number of rounds per day equal to your shifter level. There is also a chance you may end up attacking your allies if you fail a Will save. This ability can increase by a greater number of size categories at later levels. Replaces Wild Shape, Shifter Aspect, and all improvements to Shifter Aspect.

Terrible Slam (Su) (**): Functions as the shifter claws class ability, except your natural weapons are treated as slam attacks. Additionally, rather than granting the ability to bypass different kinds of damage reduction, your terrible slam ignores some of an object’s hardness. Alters Shifter Claws.

Invulnerable Defenses (Ex) (**): Whenever you takes on your devastating form and are unencumbered and either wearing no armor or wearing light or medium nonmetal armor, you gain a +2 natural armor bonus to AC and DR 2/-. Replaces Defensive Instinct, Chimeric Aspect, and Greater Chimeric Aspect.

Unrestrained Stride (Ex) (**): While in Devastating Form, ignore movement penalties from difficult terrain and gain immunity to the entangled condition. Replaces Woodland Stride.

Terrible Leap (Ex) (**): While in Devastating Form, you can perform a terrible leap as a move action without attempting an Acrobatics check, jumping any distance up to your move speed. You can do this once per day per Shifter level. Replaces Trackless Step.

Style Shifter (**)

The Style Shifter archetype gives your Shifter the ability to utilize style feats with your Shifter Claws, and to gain additional archetype-specific benefits when utilizing those styles. The best path to go with this archetype is to focus on Dragon Style (****). Later on, taking Stunning Fist (*) as a feat will give your wildcard style slot (which you hopefully took back at 5th level) access to Dragon Ferocity (****). Additionally, dipping a level of monk can give you earlier access to Dragon Ferocity, and also make Elemental Fist into a very attractive blue (****) option. Additionally, taking Combat Style Master (****) is a great way to utilize Crane Style (****) and Crane Wing (***) when your turn ends.

Armor Proficiency (**): You are not proficient with medium armor or shields, leaving you with a reliance on light armor and Defensive Instinct. This is not much of a lose. Alters armor proficiencies.

Natural Strikes (Ex) (****): You have Improved Unarmed Strike for the purposes of prerequisites (giving you quick access to several grappling feats, among others), and can apply the effects of feats with Improved Unarmed Strike as a prerequisite to your Shifter’s Claws. This opens you up to taking feats like Elemental Fist later on. Alters Shifter Claws.

Style Shifting (Ex) (***): You can use style aspects while in that particular style. You can only do this a minutes of times per day, in one minute increments.

Style Mastery (Ex) (****): Get a bonus style feat at 1st level. Additionally, at 5th, 10th, 15th, and 20th levels, you can pick up either a bonus style feat or a wildcard style slot (enabling you to get a style feat’s bonus feat when you meet it’s prerequisites).

Form of the Wild (Su) (**): Gain a more limited version of the druid’s Wild Shape ability. It is also important to note that RAW you can not use your Shifter Claws while Wild Shaped with this archetype, though this does not seem to be intended and I would rule otherwise as a GM (making this archetype much better). Alters Wild Shape. 

Style Aspects (***): These are the aspects invoked by using style shifting. Many of these aspects refer to unarmed strikes in their wording. As they are not feats, this means the natural strikes ability does not work for them, and your shifter claws cannot be used instead for this.

Form of the Boar (*): Many of this form’s abilities can not be used with your shifter claws.

Form of the Crane (****): The reduced penalty when attacking defensively does not help when utilizing Combat Style Master. Later on, when an attack misses you you gain the opportunity to move without provoking attacks of opportunity against you.

Form of the Dragon (***): You gain a dodge bonus for charging through allies, and a later you get a bonus to unarmed damage against shaken enemies, followed by the ability to make a shaken target frightened for one round on a confirmed critical hit.

Form of the Monkey (***): You gain bonuses to damage while prone. Later on your move speed while prone increase and you can treat attacks of opportunity you make as if the target was flat-footed. At later levels you are also treated as in your original space for flanking until the start of your next turn. The bonus to damage while prone extends to other weapons such as ranged weapons, making a prone weapons build possible.

Form of the Panther (*): Many of this form’s abilities can not be used with your shifter claws.

Form of the Snake (*): Many of this form’s abilities can not be used with your shifter claws.

Form of the Snapping Turtle (**): This gives nice defensive bonuses to the already defense intensive Snapping Turtle Style (**).

Form of the Tiger (*): Many of this form’s abilities can not be used with your shifter claws.

Swarm Shifter (**)

The Swarm Shifter archetype loses both the major and minor form interaction of the base shifter, in exchange for the ability to shift into a swarm for a limited number of minutes per day. This form is able to use weapons and, as is implied, claws while shifted into Vermin Aspect.

Vermin Aspect (Su) (**): You gain the ability to change into a swarm of vermin as a swift action, gaining natural armor, an increase in your size category by one size, and the ability to occupy the same space of a creature of any size. This form can be maintained for a number of minutes per day. Later on, you gain immunities to certain combat maneuvers, your natural armor improves, you get distraction, and become immune to critical hits and flanking. Replaces Wild Shape, Shifter Aspect, and all improvements of Shifter Aspect.

Swarmer (Su) (***): You gain a touch attack in your natural form, which can later be automatically applied while grappling. Later on, you can use swarmer while in your Vermin Aspect to deal touch damage to those within your area.

Swarm Flow (Su) (**): You get the choice of one of three swarm abilities each time you use your Vermin Aspect. Replaces Chimeric Aspect.

Greater Swarm Flow (Su) (**): You get the choice of one of three greater swarm abilities each time you use your Vermin Aspect. Replaces Greater Chimeric Aspect.

Final Aspect (Su) (***): You can cast swarm skin at will, with a limit on up to five swarms. Modifies Final Aspect.

Verdant Shifter (**)

The Verdant Shifter archetype loses most of the primary abilities that a Shifter relies on for damage output. Plant Shape can only be used for a number of rounds per day equal to your shifter level, which is far weaker than the default Wild Shape. If you really need to have to add a plant based archetype to your Shifter, I would consider Leafshifter before I look into Verdant Shifter.

Speak with Plants (Sp) (*): You gain the ability to cast speak with plants as a spell-like ability a number of times per day equal to 3 plus your Charisma modifier. Replaces Wild Empathy.

Verdant Body (Su) (***): You are treated as both your normal creature type and a plant creature for purposes of spells or effects that target a creature by type. You also get 25% immunity to critical hits and precision damage. At later levels, you also get increased enhancement bonuses to Constitution, and increased immunity to critical hits and precision damage. Replaces Shifter Aspect and all improvements of Shifter Aspect.

Wild Armor (Ex) (***): You gain a +2 natural armor bonus to AC while unencumbered and either wearing no armor or wearing light or medium nonmetal armor. This bonus increases at later levels. Replaces Defensive Instinct.

Plant Shape (Su) (**): Wild Shape instead functions as plant shape I. You can maintain this form for a number of rounds per day equal to your shifter level. At later levels, this ability instead functions as plant shape II, and then plant shape III. Alters Wild Shape and replaces Chimeric Form and Greater Chimeric Form.

Weretouched (***)

The Weretouch Shifter is an interesting archetype, and one that definitely has its uses. The archetype confines you to choosing only one Shifter Aspect. However, in addition to wild shaping into your major form, the Weretouched Shifter is capable of changing into a hybrid form of your natural form and hybrid form. This archetype has many effects on the shifter class and I will cover all of them below, but first I should outline some of the larger effects of taking this archetype. The Weretouched hybrid form does not cause your gear to meld with your form, and is also capable of wielding weapons in both of its hands. Because of this, armor without the Wild enchantment becomes something that you should consider. For some builds which wouldn’t be hindered by utilizing Heavy Armor, it may even be worth considering taking Heavy Armor Proficiency (***) so that you can wear Dragonhide Full Plate (***). Another thing to consider are weapons. Some weretouched aspects (as will be mentioned on a case by case basis later) will be better served utilizing natural weapons. The way that Shifter Claws works while in Lycanthropic Wild Shape enables some aspects that would otherwise have a lower number of natural attacks to instead have 2 extra attacks, as will be mentioned when present under those individual aspects. For such builds, the presence of Pounce (****) becomes a necessity, making Totemic Master (Beast Totem, Greater) (****) a feat to seek out as soon as possible for such builds. For builds which instead utilize weapons, there are a few options to consider. The first, and quite likely the most optimal route for a weapon build, is a Strength Based two-handed weapon build. Such a build should utilize the Vital Strike (****) feat tree, Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Butchering Axe) (****), and the Impact (****) weapon enchantment. If you don’t plan to take Proficiency in the Butchering Axe (****) right away, a good two-handed weapon with which the Shifter is proficient in is the Scythe (***). However, the Butchering Axe is an amazing weapon, and one I highly recommend you two handed weapon builds consider taking as soon as possible. You can see an example of this build in the Builds section. Other Shifter aspects give access to Flyby Attack, which encourages the use of weapons and abilities with reach in order to attack your opponent with a single, powerful strike, before retreating out of their range. Because Shifters do not have proficiency with any reach weapons, it may be a good idea to consider taking Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Ripsaw Glaive) (****), to replace the Butchering Axe in a two-handed build for such an aspect. Still others may decide to consider the slightly less optimal two-weapon fighting build. For such a build, consider (of course) taking Two-Weapon Fighting (****), Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Falcata) (****), the Agile (****) weapon enchantment (and is mandatory to succeed with this build), and other options which traditionally benefit Two-Weapon Fighting builds designed any class. You can see an example of this build in the Builds section. Another important thing to note is that Lycanthropic Wild Shape, like Wild Shape, changes you from your base form. As such, you lose the same types of abilities you would lose when under the influence of any polymorph effect (such as natural weapons from a racial trait). However, it does appear that you can still talk while in Lycanthropic Wild Shape, which would mean you have absolutely no problem activating magic items which require a command word. It’s also worth noting that, because your Lycanthropic Wild Shape form remains the same size as your base from, you will get the penalties and bonuses of having a base size other than medium. Overall, if you want to play a melee combatant who takes the form of a fearsome lycanthrope, the Weretouched is a great option to consider.

Lycanthrope Aspect (Su) (***): You gain the Shifter Aspect ability, except the animal aspect chosen is the only animal aspect you can gain. Otherwise, this ability functions identically to Shifter Aspect. Later on, gain DR/silver equal to half your shifter level, to a maximum of DR 10/silver at 20th level, and you become immune to a lycanthrope’s curse of lycanthropy. Alters Shifter Aspect and all of its improvements.

Lycanthropic Empathy (Ex) (*): You gain Wild Empathy and a +4 bonus on Wild Empathy checks, but this ability works only on the type of animal you picked for your Lycanthrope Aspect. Alters Wild Empathy.

Lycanthropic Wild Shape (Su) (***): When you use Wild Shape you can assume only the form of an animal of the same type as your Lycanthrope Aspect. However, instead of assuming a major form, you can assume a hybrid form that mixes the traits of your natural form and the major form of your aspect. While in a hybrid form, you gain a +2 size bonus to your Strength score, a +2 natural armor bonus to your AC, and all of the natural attacks and abilities listed by your major form. You also count as being in your natural form for the purpose of determining whether you can extend your Shifter Claws. Your hybrid form is roughly the same size and shape as your natural form, albeit with bestial qualities such as digitigrade legs or shaggy fur, so your equipment does not merge into your new form when you shift between your natural form and hybrid form. In addition, the size of a your hybrid form is the same as the size of your natural form. This otherwise counts as assuming a major form using Wild Shape. Below I will be reviewing the aspects as they affect your hybrid form. As such there will be other rules particular to you assuming your major form which may not be covered below. Alters Wild Shape. When looking at the major forms, make sure to take into account the FAQ.

Bat (***): In addition to the normal benefits you get for being in Lycanthropic Wild Shape, your bat aspect gets a fly speed of 40 feet (clumsy) and blindsense with a range of 10 feet. At later levels, your ability to fly improves, as does your blindsense. You also get a bite attack. Later on you also gain the Flyby Attack and Hover feats while in your Major of Lycanthropic forms. The minor form gets scaling blindsense and darkvision. This lycanthropic form possesses three natural attacks while using Shifter Claws (one natural attack if your hands are full). The best type of build to create when building a Weretouched bat is a Vital Strike two-handed weapon build which utilizes a combination of Branch Pounce (****) and Boots of the Cat (****) to begin combat with a high amount of damage. This type of build does not possess a high amount of sustained damage, which causes it to become closer to being ranked orange (**) when combat drags on, and is less useful when you are in places with low ceilings.

Bear (***): In addition to the normal benefits you get for being in Lycanthropic Wild Shape, your bear aspect gets low-light vision and scent, and later Improved Natural Attack with your claws, a scaling critical modifier for your claws, and the Awesome Blow feat. You also get a bite and two claw attacks. The minor form gets a scaling enhancement bonus to your Constitution score. This lycanthropic form possesses three natural attacks while using Shifter Claws (one natural attack if your hands are full). The best type of build to create when building a Weretouched bear is probably a Strength based Vital Strike two-handed weapon build.

Boar (***): In addition to the normal benefits you get for being in Lycanthropic Wild Shape, your boar aspect gets low-light vision, scent, and a gore attack. You also get a base speed of 40 feet. Later on you also gain Improved Natural Attack (gore), and powerful charge. After that, you gain the Awesome Blow feat, and get additional hit points. The minor form gives you a Diehard as a bonus feat. This lycanthropic form possesses three natural attacks while using Shifter Claws (one natural attack if your hands are full). The best type of build to create when building a Weretouched boar is probably a Strength based Vital Strike two-handed weapon build.

Bull (***): In addition to the normal benefits you get for being in Lycanthropic Wild Shape, your bull aspect gets low-light vision, scent, and a gore attack with powerful charge. You also get a base speed of 40 feet. Later on you also gain trample, and after that, the Awesome Blow feat. The minor form gets a scaling enhancement bonus to your Strength score. This lycanthropic form possesses three natural attacks while using Shifter Claws (one natural attack if your hands are full). The best type of build to create when building a Weretouched bull is probably a Strength based Vital Strike two-handed weapon build.

Crocodile (**): In addition to the normal benefits you get for being in Lycanthropic Wild Shape, your crocodile aspect gets low-light vision, a bite attack with grab, and a tail slap attack. You also get a swim speed of 30 feet. Later on you can increase your land speed by 20 feet for a limited time per day. After that, you gain Improved Natural Attack (bite), and can knock an enemy you have successfully grappled prone. The minor form gives you a scaling competence bonus on Swim checks and grapple combat maneuver checks. This lycanthropic form possesses four natural attacks while using Shifter Claws (two natural attack if your hands are full). The best type of build to create when building a Weretouched crocodile is probably a Strength based Vital Strike two-handed weapon build.

Deinonychus (****): In addition to the normal benefits you get for being in Lycanthropic Wild Shape, your deinonychus aspect gets a base speed of 60 feet, low-light vision, scent (30 feet), a bite attack as well as two talon attacks (your talon attacks can use your shifter claws damage), and pounce. Later on you also gain two foreclaw attacks (these attacks cannot use your shifter claws damage) and a +4 racial bonus on Acrobatics checks, and after that, a +1 dodge bonus to AC and Spring Attack as a bonus feat. The minor form gets a scaling bonus on your Initiative checks. This lycanthropic form possesses three natural attacks while using Shifter’s Claws (one natural attack if your hands are full). Eventually this lycanthropic form gets five natural attacks while using Shifter Claws (three natural attacks if your hands are full). The best type of build to create when building a Weretouched deinonychus is a Strength based natural attack build. Using a Strength based Vital Strike two-handed weapon build brings this aspect down to orange (**).

Dolphin (**): In addition to the normal benefits you get for being in Lycanthropic Wild Shape, your dolphin aspect gets blindsense, low-light vision, a bite attack, and the ability to hold your breath for extended periods. You also get a swim speed of 60 feet. Later on the range of your blindsense improves. After that, your blindsense improves more, as does your swim speed. The minor form gives you a scaling competence bonus on Knowledge checks to identify abilities and weaknesses of creatures. The best type of build to create when building a Weretouched dolphin is probably a Strength based Vital Strike two-handed weapon build.

Dragonfly (***): In addition to the normal benefits you get for being in Lycanthropic Wild Shape, your dragonfly aspect gets darkvision, and a bite attack with grab. You also get a fly speed of 60 feet. Later on you also gain Flyby, and your fly speed improves. After that, you gain an untyped bonus to grapple checks, and your fly speed improves. The minor form gives you a scaling enhancement bonus to your movement speed while charging. This lycanthropic form possesses three natural attacks while using Shifter Claws (one natural attack if your hands are full). The best type of build to create when building a Weretouched dragonfly is probably a Strength based Vital Strike two-handed weapon build utilizing Flyby.

Electric Eel (**): In addition to the normal benefits you get for being in Lycanthropic Wild Shape, your electric eel aspect gets low-light vision, electricity resistance, a bite attack, and a tail attack. You also get a swim speed of 30 feet. Later on you also gain a bonus to Escape Artist checks, and your electricity resistance improves. After that, you gain the ability to stun when you critically hit with a tail attack. The minor form makes your attacks do a scaling amount of electricity damage in addition to any other damage you deal. This lycanthropic form possesses four natural attacks while using Shifter Claws (two natural attack if your hands are full). The best type of build to create when building a Weretouched electric eel is probably a Strength based Two-Weapon Fighting build.

Elephant (***): In addition to the normal benefits you get for being in Lycanthropic Wild Shape, your elephant aspect gets low-light vision, scent, and a gore attack, and a slam attack. Additionally, you get a racial bonus to your Strength and natural armor. You can also carry one medium-sized creature on your back, acting as their mount. Later on you also gain trample, and after that, you get the Improved Bull Rush feat and your racial bonus to Strength and natural armor increases. The minor form gives you a scaling enhancement bonus on bull rush and overrun combat maneuver checks. This lycanthropic form possesses four natural attacks while using Shifter Claws (two natural attack if your hands are full). The best type of build to create when building a Weretouched elephant is probably a Strength based Vital Strike two-handed weapon build.

Falcon (***): In addition to the normal benefits you get for being in Lycanthropic Wild Shape, your falcon aspect gets a bite attack, two claw attacks, a fly speed of 60 feet (good), low-light vision, and a +4 racial bonus on vision-based Perception checks. Later on you also gain darkvision, increased perception bonuses, blindsense, and your ability to fly improves. The minor form gets a scaling competence bonus on your Perception checks. This lycanthropic form possesses three natural attacks while using Shifter Claws (one natural attack if your hands are full). The best type of build to create when building a Weretouched falcon is a Vital Strike two-handed weapon build which utilizes a combination of Branch Pounce (****) and Boots of the Cat (****) to begin combat with a high amount of damage. This type of build does not possess a high amount of sustained damage, which causes it to become closer to being ranked orange (**) when combat drags on, and is less useful when you are in places with low ceilings.

Frog (**): In addition to the normal benefits you get for being in Lycanthropic Wild Shape, your frog aspect gets a swim speed of 30 feet, low-light vision, scent, a bite attack with the grab ability, and the ability to treat all jumps as if you had a running start. You also get a bite attack. Later on you also gain a tongue attack, increased swim speed, increased tongue attack reach, and increased tongue attack damage. The minor form gets a scaling competence bonus on your Acrobatics checks when jumping, and on Swim checks. This lycanthropic form possesses three natural attacks while using Shifter’s Claws (one natural attack if your hands are full). Eventually this lycanthropic form also gets a tongue natural attack. The best type of build to create when building a Weretouched frog is probably a Strength based Vital Strike two-handed weapon build. You may want to take Lunge (***) in order to maximize the range of your tongue attack, and consider putting some focus on grappling. On the off chance that you are playing in an aquatic campaign, frog becomes a blue (****) option.

Giant Wasp (***): In addition to the normal benefits you get for being in Lycanthropic Wild Shape, you will not be attacked by swarms and vermin in you giant wasp aspect unless the creatures are magically commanded to do so. You also get a fly speed of 40 feet. Later on your fly speed begins to increase, and you gain a sting attack usable a limited number of times per day. Even later on, you can attempt to gain control of mindless swarms. The minor form gets a scaling bonus on Will saves against mind-affecting effects. Not counting the limited sting natural attack, this lycanthropic form possesses two natural attacks while using Shifter Claws (no natural attack if your hands are full). The best type of build to create when building a Weretouched giant wasp is probably a Strength based Vital Strike two-handed weapon build which utilizes a combination of Branch Pounce (****) and Boots of the Cat (****) to begin combat with a high amount of damage.

Horse (***): In addition to the normal benefits you get for being in Lycanthropic Wild Shape, your horse aspect gets low-light vision, scent, and the ability to move as if you had the Ride-By Attack feat. You also get a base speed of 50 feet. Later on you also gain trample, and can move through threatened squares without provoking attacks of opportunity, and after that, gain the Improved Overrun feat. The minor form gives you the endurance feat, as well as an enhancement bonus to your speed. This lycanthropic form possesses two natural attacks while using Shifter Claws (no natural attack if your hands are full). The best type of build to create when building a Weretouched horse is probably a Strength based Vital Strike two-handed weapon build utilizing your speed, feats, and reach weapons to maintain distance.

Lion (**): In addition to the normal benefits you get for being in Lycanthropic Wild Shape, your lion aspect gets low-light vision, scent, and the ability to demoralize enemies within range on a successful Intimidate check a limited number of times per day. You also get a base speed of 40 feet. Later on you also gain your choice of a teamwork feat from a list of feats. You can grant this feat to allies within range a limited number of times per day. Of these feats, Outflank is likely your best option. After that, you gain the ability to provide flanking bonuses to any ally who threatens the same opponent as you, and can switch places with an adjacent ally as if using the Swap Places feat. The minor form gives you a scaling competence bonus on Intimidate checks. This lycanthropic form possesses two natural attacks while using Shifter Claws (no natural attack if your hands are full). The best type of build to create when building a Weretouched lion is probably a Strength based Vital Strike two-handed weapon build.

Lizard (**): In addition to the normal benefits you get for being in Lycanthropic Wild Shape, your lizard aspect gets a base speed of 40 feet, low-light vision, scent, a primary bite attack with the grab ability, and a secondary tail attack with the trip ability. Later on you also gain an increase to your base speed, a climb speed, improved natural attack with your bite and your tail attacks, and your tail gains a reach of 10 feet. The minor form gets a scaling competence bonus on your Acrobatics checks. This lycanthropic form possesses three primary natural attacks and one secondary natural attack while using Shifter’s Claws (one primary natural attack and one secondary natural attack if your hands are full). The best type of build to create when building a Weretouched lizard is probably a Strength based Vital Strike two-handed weapon build.

Mantis (**): In addition to the normal benefits you get for being in Lycanthropic Wild Shape, your mantis aspect gets darkvision, a bonus on Initiative checks, and two claw attacks with grab. Later on you always act on surprise rounds. After that, you can roll multiple times on all initiative rolls and take the highest result. The minor form gives you a Lunge as a bonus feat. Later, it also increases your reach. This lycanthropic form possesses two natural attacks while using Shifter Claws (no natural attack if your hands are full). The best type of build to create when building a Weretouched mantis is probably a Strength based Vital Strike two-handed weapon build.

Monkey (**): In addition to the normal benefits you get for being in Lycanthropic Wild Shape, your monkey aspect gets a climb speed of 30 feet, low-light vision, and scent, and you can still use your hands to wield weapons, hold objects, and manipulate objects normally (which you can do anyways in your hybrid form). You also get a bite attack and two claw attacks. Later on you also gain an increase to your climb speed, the ability to use your tail to hold and manipulate objects as if you had a third hand (but you can not use it to wield weapons or shields), and a rend attack when you hit with two of your normal shifter claws attacks. The minor form gets a scaling competence bonus on your Climb checks. This lycanthropic form possesses three natural attacks while using Shifter Claws (one natural attack if your hands are full). The best type of build to create when building a Weretouched monkey is probably a Strength based Vital Strike two-handed weapon build.

Mouse (**): In addition to the normal benefits you get for being in Lycanthropic Wild Shape, your mouse aspect gets a climb speed of 20 feet, a swim speed of 20 feet, low-light vision, and scent, and you use your Dexterity modifier instead of your Strength modifier on Climb and Swim checks. You also get the bite attack. Later on you also gain an increase to your climb and swim speeds, and you do not provoke attacks of opportunity while moving through or out of a creature’s threatened area or moving into its space, but you do when you leave its space. The minor form gets evasion, as per the rogue class feature, which later on becomes improved evasion as per the rogue advanced talent. This lycanthropic form possesses three natural attacks while using Shifter Claws (one natural attack if your hands are full). The best type of build to create when building a Weretouched mouse is probably a Strength based Vital Strike two-handed weapon build.

Octopus (*): In addition to the normal benefits you get for being in Lycanthropic Wild Shape, your octopus aspect gets the aquatic subtype, low-light vision, a bite attack, and a “tentacles” attack which does no damage with grab, and multiattack. You also get a swim speed of 30 feet. Later on you also gain jet. After that, you can produce an ink cloud, and your tentacles attack deals damage based on Shifter Claws. The minor form gives you a scaling competence bonus on Escape Artist checks. This lycanthropic form possesses four natural attacks while using Shifter Claws (two natural attack if your hands are full). The best type of build to create when building a Weretouched octopus is probably a Strength based Vital Strike two-handed weapon build.

Owl (***): In addition to the normal benefits you get for being in Lycanthropic Wild Shape, your owl aspect gets two talon attacks, a fly speed of 60 feet (average), darkvision, and a +2 racial bonus on Stealth checks. Later on you also gain Flyby Attack as a bonus feat, an increase in the range of your darkvision, and the benefits of the Snatch feat (but you can use it only to grab a creature at least one size category smaller than yourself, and you can squeeze a creature grappled with this ability no matter what size it is). You also get two talon attacks. The minor form gets a scaling competence bonus on your Stealth checks. This lycanthropic form possesses four natural attacks while using Shifter Claws (two natural attacks if your hands are full). There are two great builds when making a weretouched owl. The first type of build to create when building a Weretouched owl is a Strength based natural attack build, for which Totemic Master (Beast Totem, Greater) (****) is all but mandatory. The second type of build is a Vital Strike two-handed weapon build which utilizes a combination of Branch Pounce (****) and Boots of the Cat (****) to begin combat with a high amount of damage. The second type of build does not however possess the same type of sustained damage of the first, and is less useful when you are in places with low ceilings.

Peafowl (**): In addition to the normal benefits you get for being in Lycanthropic Wild Shape, your peafowl aspect gets low-light vision, two talon attacks, and a racial bonus on stealth checks. You also get a fly speed of 40 feet, though this fly speed can not be used to hover. This form also gets the ability to stun enemies within a 15-foot cone, with the duration scaling with your level. The minor form gets a scaling enhancement bonus to your Charisma score. This lycanthropic form possesses four natural attacks while using Shifter Claws (two natural attacks if your hands are full). The best type of build to create when building a Weretouched peafowl is probably a Strength based Vital Strike two-handed weapon build.

Scorpion (**): In addition to the normal benefits you get for being in Lycanthropic Wild Shape, your scorpion aspect gets darkvision, tremorsense, two claw attacks with grab, and a sting attack. Later on you also gain a bonus on Climb and Perception checks, and your tremorsense improves. After that, you gain the ability to apply poison when making an attack of opportunity or maintaining a grapple. The minor form gives you a scaling competence bonus on Stealth checks and grapple combat maneuver checks. This lycanthropic form possesses three natural attacks while using Shifter Claws (one natural attack if your hands are full). The best type of build to create when building a Weretouched scorpion is probably a Strength based grapple build.

Snake (**): In addition to the normal benefits you get for being in Lycanthropic Wild Shape, your snake aspect gets a climb speed of 30 feet, a swim speed of 30 feet, low-light vision, scent, and the Combat Reflexes feat. If you already have Combat Reflexes or your Dexterity score is not high enough to gain more attacks of opportunity from Combat Reflexes, you can instead make one additional attack of opportunity each round. You also get a bite attack. Later on you also gain a +4 racial bonus on Acrobatics and Stealth checks and the ability to make an attack of opportunity with your bite attack, that attack also applies a poison given by the aspect. The minor form gets a scaling bonus on attack rolls when making attacks of opportunity and a scaling dodge bonus to your AC against attacks of opportunity. This lycanthropic form possesses three natural attacks while using Shifter Claws (one natural attack if your hands are full). The best type of build to create when building a Weretouched snake is probably a Strength based Vital Strike two-handed weapon build, preferably one which utilizes Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Ripsaw Glaive) (****) to make the most of its attack of opportunity related abilities.

Snapping Turtle (***): In addition to the normal benefits you get for being in Lycanthropic Wild Shape, your snapping turtle aspect gets low-light vision, scent, and a bite attack. You also get a swim speed of 20 feet. Later on you also gain an insight bonus to your CMD against certain combat maneuvers, and after that, damage reduction vulnerable to silver. The minor form gets a scaling enhancement bonus to your Wisdom score. This lycanthropic form possesses three natural attacks while using Shifter Claws (one natural attack if your hands are full). The best type of build to create when building a Weretouched snapping turtle is probably a Strength based Vital Strike two-handed weapon build.

Spider (**): In addition to the normal benefits you get for being in Lycanthropic Wild Shape, your spider aspect gets darkvision, tremorsense, a bite attack, and a web special attack. You also get a climb speed of 30 feet. Later on you also gain a bonus on Perception checks, and your tremorsense improves. After that, you gain Improved Natural Attack (bite), and your tremorsense improves. The minor form gives you a scaling competence bonus on Climb checks, Stealth checks, and saves against web effects and to break free of webs. This lycanthropic form possesses three natural attacks while using Shifter Claws (one natural attack if your hands are full). The best type of build to create when building a Weretouched spider is probably a Strength based Vital Strike two-handed weapon build.

Stag (***): In addition to the normal benefits you get for being in Lycanthropic Wild Shape, your stag aspect gets a base speed of 50 feet, low-light vision, and scent. You also get a gore attack and two hoof attacks. Later on you also gain a +4 racial bonus on Acrobatic checks when jumping, Awesome Blow and Improved Natural Attack feats for gore attacks, and you can use Awesome Blow against a creature of your size or smaller. The minor form gets a scaling enhancement bonus to your base speed. This lycanthropic form possesses five natural attacks while using Shifter Claws (three natural attacks if your hands are full). The best type of build to create when building a Weretouched stag is probably a Strength based natural attack build, for which Totemic Master (Beast Totem, Greater) (****) is all but mandatory. Using a Strength based Vital Strike two-handed weapon build brings this aspect down to orange (**).

Tiger (****): In addition to the normal benefits you get for being in Lycanthropic Wild Shape, your tiger aspect gets a base speed of 40 feet, low-light vision, scent, the grab ability with both your bite and claw attacks, and pounce. You also get a bite attack. Later on you also gain a +4 racial bonus on Stealth checks, and rake attack with your back claw attacks (dealing additional damage equal to that of your claw attack). The minor form gets a scaling enhancement bonus to your Dexterity score. This lycanthropic form possesses three strong natural attacks while using Shifter Claws (one natural attack if your hands are full). The best type of build to create when building a Weretouched tiger is a Strength based natural attack build. You may want to consider taking Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Dan Bong) (***) for the sake of the bonus to grappling. Using a Strength based Vital Strike two-handed weapon build brings this aspect down to orange (**).

Wolf (**): In addition to the normal benefits you get for being in Lycanthropic Wild Shape, your wolf aspect gets a base speed of 50 feet, low-light vision, scent, and you can make a trip attempt with your bite attack. You also get a bite attack. Later on you also gain an increase to the range of your scent ability, a +4 racial bonus on Survival checks when tracking with scent, and Improved Natural Attack (bite). The minor form gets the scent ability, which scales as they increase in level. This lycanthropic form possesses three natural attacks while using Shifter Claws (one natural attack if your hands are full). The best type of build to create when building a Weretouched wolf is a Strength based Vital Strike two-handed weapon build.

Wolverine (**): In addition to the normal benefits you get for being in Lycanthropic Wild Shape, your wolverine aspect gets a climb speed of 10 feet, low-light vision, and scent, as well as the barbarian’s rage power, but you can activate this rage only in a round after you’ve taken damage. You can rage for a number of rounds each day equal to your shifter level. This ability otherwise functions the same as the barbarian rage ability. You also get a bite attack and 2 claw attacks. Later on you also gain two barbarian rage powers, treating your shifter level as your effective barbarian level for the purposes of meeting prerequisites, and you are no longer fatigued at the end of your rage. The minor form gets 1 additional hit point per Hit Die you have, and you treat your Constitution score as 4 points higher than it is for the purpose of determining when you die at negative hit points. Later on, you minor form gets Diehard as a bonus feat, and you treat your Constitution as being 8 points higher for the purpose of determining when you die at negative hit points. This lycanthropic form possesses three natural attacks while using Shifter Claws (one natural attack if your hands are full). The best type of build to create when building a Weretouched wolverine is a Strength based Vital Strike two-handed weapon build.

Faerie Mount/Corgi (found here) (**): In addition to the normal benefits you get for being in Lycanthropic Wild Shape, your fairie mount major form gains low-light vision, a +2 racial bonus to Perception checks based on hearing, a 40-foot base land speed, and a bite attack (1d6 damage), and you gain a +4 racial bonus to CMD against bull rush and trip. At 8th level, you gain Nimble Moves as a bonus feat as long as you are carrying no more than a light load, your racial bonus to Perception checks based on hearing increases to +4, and you gain a +2 racial bonus on initiative checks. At 15th level, you gain Improved Natural Attack (bite) and your critical multiplier with your bite attack increases by 1, to a maximum of x4. The minor form gets a +4 competence bonus on saves against fear. At 8th level, this bonus increases to +6, and at 15th level, it increases to +8. This lycanthropic form possesses three natural attacks while using Shifter Claws (one natural attack if your hands are full). The best type of build to create when building a Weretouched corgi is a Strength based Vital Strike two-handed weapon build.

Wild Effigy (****)

The Wild Effigy archetype enables your Shifter to take on some of the qualities of a construct. The archetype exchanges some of the class’s more situational abilities (such as Wild Empathy, Track, Woodland Stride, and Trackless Step) as well as the Shifter’s primary boost to armor class (Defensive Instinct) to gain improved defensive abilities and enable the class to bypass some forms of damage resistance a select number of times per day. Because Defensive Instinct ceases to become a factor when building using this archetype, utilizing armor is something that should see heavy use, and Wisdom becomes orange (**) affecting only the number of hours per day you can wild shape. Heavy Armor Proficiency (***) is worth considering taking, enabling you to wear Dragonhide Full Plate (***). In addition, items which give you natural armor bonuses, such as the Amulet of Natural Armor, become red (*)

Armor Plating (Su) (****): Gain a scaling bonus to natural armor and scaling DR adamantine. This scales purely based on your level, and so makes little reason for you to place value in increasing your Wisdom score, and no reason not to be wearing armor (preferably sized for a large tiger or similar beast). Replaces Wild Empathy, Track, Woodland Stride, and Trackless Step.

Heart of Earth (Su) (****): At 4th level, and while utilizing a minor or major aspect, you get a bonus to checks to stabilize at negative hit points as well as a scaling chance to ignore critical hits and precision damage. At 9th level you also become immune to petrification, and at 15th level you become immune to bleed and blood drain effects. Replaces Defensive Instinct.

Stoneclaw Strike (Su) (***): At 4th level, you are able to sacrifice time off of your daily uses of minor aspect as a swift action to let your shifter claws temporarily ignore a scaling amount of DR or hardness.

Alternate Natural Attacks

A new rule set presented in Wilderness Origins, alternate natural attack rules bring a few important things to the table for the Shifter. First, for shifters with an alternative natural attack other than claws AND claws from some other source (for instance an ability from their race) would be able to use both in their base form. This ruleset could also be used to free up the Shifter’s hands for holding weapons.

Another thing, more relevant at later levels of a Shifter’s career, is how alternate natural attack rules interact with the Weretouched archetype. For Weretouched Shifter’s who have the option of alternate natural attack types that they do not normally gain access to in their hybrid form, this ruleset can open up the opportunity for up to two extra natural attacks.

Builds

The following builds are made using the 20 point buy method and the main priority is to make functional builds. These are not necessarily the most optimal builds, but they should be easily playable at your table.

Strength Tiger Grappling Shifter

Abilities (20 Point Buy):

Str: 18 [16+2] (+4), Dex: 12 (+1), Con: 12 (+1), Int: 10 (+0), Wis: 16 (+3), Cha: 7 (-2)

Options:

Race: Human

Alternate Racial Traits:

Favored Class Bonus: +1 Hit Point

Archetype:

Traits: Bred for War and Reactionary

Important Items: Belt of Incredible Dexterity and Headband of Inspired Wisdom

Shifter Aspect:

1. Tiger

5. Bull

10. Bear

15. Mouse

20. Falcon

Feats:

1. Power Attack

1b. Weapon Focus (claws)

3. Improved Unarmed Strike

5. Improved Grapple – You’ll need a belt that increases your Dexterity to take this

7. Shifter's Rush

9. Greater Grapple – You’ll need a belt that increases your Dexterity to take this

11. Powerful Shape

13. Mutated Shape – You’ll need a Headband of Inspired Wisdom +4 to take this

15. Planar Wild Shape

17. Improved Natural Attack (claws)

19. Improved Initiative

Ability Score Increases:

4. +1 Str

8. +1 Str

12. +1 Str

16. +1 Str

20. +1 Str

Dexterity Deinonychus Natural Attack Build

Abilities (20 Point Buy):

Str: 14 (+2), Dex: 16 [14+2] (+3), Con: 12 (+1), Int: 10 (+0), Wis: 16 (+3), Cha: 8 (-1)

Options:

Race: Human

Alternate Racial Traits:

Favored Class Bonus: +1 Hit Point

Archetype:

Traits: Dirty Fighter and Adopted (Warrior of Old)

Important Items: Headband of Inspired Wisdom

Shifter Aspect:

1. Deinonychus

5. Tiger

10. Bull

15. Bear

20. Falcon

Feats:

1. Power Attack

1b. Weapon Finesse

3. Shifter’s Edge

5. Shifter’s Rush

7. Mutated Shape – You’ll need a Headband of Inspired Wisdom +4 to take this

9. Improved Natural Weapons

11. Weapon Focus (claws)

13. Improved Natural Weapons

15. Improved Initiative

17. Wild Vigor

19. Dodge

Ability Score Increases:

4. +1 Dex

8. +1 Dex

12. +1 Dex

16. +1 Dex

20. +1 Dex

Fiendflesh Build

Abilities (20 Point Buy):

Str: 18 (+4), Dex: 14 (+2), Con: 12 (+1), Int: 10 (+0), Wis: 10 [8+2] (+0), Cha: 6 (-2)

Options:

Race: Skinwalker (Wereraptor-Kin)

Alternate Racial Traits:

Favored Class Bonus: +1 Hit Point

Archetype: Fiendflesh Shifter

Traits: Dirty Fighter and Bully

Important Items: Magic Armor

Feats:

1. Power Attack

1b. Weapon Focus (claws)

3. Improved Natural Weapons

5. Improved Natural Weapons

7. Intimidating Prowess

9. Cornugon Smash

11. Dazzling Display

13. Shatter Defenses

15. Improved Initiative

17. Wild Vigor

19. Dodge

Ability Score Increases:

4. +1 Str

8. +1 Str

12. +1 Str

16. +1 Str

20. +1 Str

Rageshaper Build

Abilities (20 Point Buy):

Str: 20 (+5), Dex: 14 (+2), Con: 12 (+1), Int: 10 (+0), Wis: 10 (+0), Cha: 7 (-2)

Options:

Race: Human

Alternate Racial Traits:

Favored Class Bonus: +1 Hit Point

Archetype: Rageshaper

Traits: Reactionary and Bully

Important Items: Resizing Impact Butchering Axe and Cyclops Helm

Feats:

1. Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Butchering Axe)

1b. Power Attack

3. Improved Sunder

5. Furious Focus

7. Vital Strike

9. Devastating Strike

11. Improved Vital Strike

13. Painful Blow

15. Toughness

17. Greater Vital Strike

19. Greater Sunder

Ability Score Increases:

4. +1 Str

8. +1 Str

12. +1 Str

16. +1 Str

20. +1 Str

Weretouched Bull (Minotaur) Build

Abilities (20 Point Buy):

Str: 18 [16+2] (+4), Dex: 12 (+1), Con: 12 (+1), Int: 10 (+0), Wis: 16 (+3), Cha: 7 (-2)

Options:

Race: Human

Alternate Racial Traits:

Favored Class Bonus: +1 Hit Point

Archetype: Weretouched

Traits: Dirty Fighter and Adopted (Warrior of Old)

Important Items: Butchering Axe

Shifter Aspect:

1. Bull

Feats:

1. Power Attack

1b. Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Butchering Axe)

3. Step-Up

5. Furious Focus

7. Vital Strike

9. Devastating Strike

11. Improved Vital Strike

13. Mutated Shape – You’ll need a Headband of Inspired Wisdom +4 to take this

15. Painful Blow

17. Greater Vital Strike

19. Multiattack

Ability Score Increases:

4. +1 Str

8. +1 Str

12. +1 Str

16. +1 Str

20. +1 Str

Weretouched Deinonychus Build

Abilities (20 Point Buy):

Str: 10 (+0), Dex: 18 [16+2] (+4), Con: 12 (+1), Int: 12 (+1), Wis: 16 (+3), Cha: 7 (-2)

Options:

Race: Human

Alternate Racial Traits:

Favored Class Bonus: +1 Hit Point

Archetype: Weretouched

Traits: Dirty Fighter and Adopted (Warrior of Old)

Important Items: Effortless Lace and Agile Falcatas

Shifter Aspect:

1. Deinonychus

Feats:

1. Weapon Finesse

1b. Two-Weapon Fighting

3. Exotic Weapon Proficiency (falcata)

5. Piranha Strike

7. Improved Two-Weapon Fighting

9. Improved Critical (falcata)

11. Greater Two-Weapon Fighting

13. Weapon Focus (falcata)

15. Multiattack

17. Planar Wild Shape

19. Shifter’s Rush

Ability Score Increases:

4. +1 Dex

8. +1 Dex

12. +1 Dex

16. +1 Dex

20. +1 Dex

Elementalist Shifter Build

Abilities (20 Point Buy):

Str: 14 (+2), Dex: 18 [16+2] (+4), Con: 12 (+1), Int: 10 (+0), Wis: 14 (+2), Cha: 8 (-1)

Options:

Race: Human

Alternate Racial Traits:

Favored Class Bonus: +1 Hit Point

Archetype: Elementalist Shifter

Traits: Indomitable Faith and Anatomist

Important Items: Agile Scimitar

Elemental Aspect:

1. Earth

5. Air

10. Fire

15. Water

Feats:

1. Weapon Finesse

1b. Power Attack

3. Dervish Dance

5. Weapon Focus (scimitar)

7. Two-Weapon Fighting

9. Improved Critical (scimitar)

11. Improved Two-Weapon Fighting

13. Greater Two-Weapon Fighting

15. Critical Focus

17. Improved Initiative

19. Dodge

Ability Score Increases:

4. +1 Dex

8. +1 Dex

12. +1 Dex

16. +1 Dex

20. +1 Dex

Corgi Shifter Build

Abilities (20 Point Buy):

Str: 18 [16+2] (+4), Dex: 12 (+1), Con: 12 (+1), Int: 10 (+0), Wis: 16 (+3), Cha: 7 (-2)

Options:

Race: Human

Alternate Racial Traits:

Favored Class Bonus: +1 Hit Point

Archetype:

Traits: Bred for War and Reactionary

Important Items: Headband of Inspired Wisdom

Shifter Aspect:

1. Corgi

5. Tiger

10. Bull

15. Bear

20. Falcon

Feats:

1. Power Attack

1b. Weapon Focus (bite)

3. Improved Initiative

5. Shifter’s Rush

7. Vital Strike

9. Devastating Strike

11. Improved Vital Strike

13. Improved Natural Attack (bite)

15. Painful Blow

17. Greater Vital Strike

19. Improved Sunder

Ability Score Increases:

4. +1 Str

8. +1 Str

12. +1 Str

16. +1 Str

20. +1 Str

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