Whether riding on the wind as a falcon or hiding in some fetid bog waiting to strike, the shifter is a true master of the wild. Both a devoted defender of druidic circles and a fierce predator, the shifter can take on the forms of nature and even fuse them together with devastating effect and unbridled savagery. By way of the druidic discipline of wild shape, they become living aspects of the wild. At first, they are able to assume only a minor aspect, but with time and practice they can fully transform into ever more powerful forms.
The shifter class offers players a way to experience a shapeshifting character that is more martially inclined than a spellcasting druid. With each new level, the shifter’s powers grow in new and surprising ways, creating a character that thrives in battle, exploration, and stealth.
Shifters are protectors of druidic circles and avengers of nature, yet a shifter’s magic is different from that of her druidic kin. Rather than invoking spells from the natural world or forging alliances with animals, shifters focus their supernatural powers inward to gain control over their own forms. Their ability to change their forms is as varied as the wonders of the wilds themselves but always remains at least partially rooted in the natural world. There are many paths to becoming a shifter; most are trained in that role by druidic circles and have their powers unlocked via rituals of initiation. Yet some stumble upon the gift naturally, as if their blood bore the secrets of shifter transformation.
For those leaning toward the causes of law and good, the path of the shifter is one of contemplation and understanding. They become one with nature through mental and physical mimicry and gain an ever deeper spiritual understanding of the ebb and flow of the natural world. Those leaning toward the chaotic and evil teachings of druidic philosophy find such enlightenment through more violent means. These are typically quicker transformations, both brutal and painful, imparting the dark lessons of nature through its most catastrophic forms. Shifters who lean toward true neutrality are the most diverse when it comes to their command of metamorphic secrets.
Role: The shifter is so attuned to nature and the wild beasts of the world that she can call upon those powers to mystically fortify her being. Fluid in form and function, she can shape herself to overcome hardships and support those she befriends or serves.
Alignment: Any neutral.
Hit Die: d10.
Starting Wealth: 3d6x10 gp (average 105 gp).
The shifter’s class skills are Acrobatics (Dex), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Fly (Dex), Handle Animal (Cha), Knowledge (nature) (Int), Perception (Wis), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Stealth (Dex), Survival (Wis), and Swim (Str).
Skill Ranks per Level: 4 + Int modifier.
|Level||Base Attack Bonus||Fort Save||Ref Save||Will Save||Special|
|1st||+1||+2||+2||+0||Shifter aspect, shifter claws, wild empathy|
|2nd||+2||+3||+3||+0||Defensive instinct, track|
|3rd||+3||+3||+3||+1||Shifter claws increase, woodland stride|
|4th||+4||+4||+4||+1||Defensive instinct (+1), wild shape (1/day)|
|5th||+5||+4||+4||+1||Second aspect, trackless step|
|6th||+6/+1||+5||+5||+2||Wild shape (2/day)|
|7th||+7/+2||+5||+5||+2||Shifter claws increase|
|8th||+8/+3||+6||+6||+2||Defensive instinct (+2), wild shape (3/day)|
|10th||+10/+5||+7||+7||+3||Third aspect, wild shape (4/day)|
|11th||+11/+6/+1||+7||+7||+3||Shifter claws increase|
|12th||+12/+7/+2||+8||+8||+4||Defensive instinct (+3), wild shape (5/day)|
|13th||+13/+8/+3||+8||+8||+4||Shifter claws increase|
|14th||+14/+9/+4||+9||+9||+4||Greater chimeric aspect, wild shape (6/day)|
|16th||+16/+11/+6/+1||+10||+10||+5||Defensive instinct (+4), wild shape (7/day)|
|17th||+17/+12/+7/+2||+10||+10||+5||Shifter claws increase|
|18th||+18/+13/+8/+3||+11||+11||+6||Wild shape (8/day)|
|19th||+19/+14/+9/+4||+11||+11||+6||Shifter claws increase|
|20th||+20/+15/+10/+5||+12||+12||+6||Defensive instinct (+5), final aspect|
The following are the class features of the shifter.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency
A shifter is proficient with the following weapons: club, dagger, dart, quarterstaff, scimitar, scythe, sickle, shortspear, sling, and spear. She is also proficient with the natural attacks (claw, bite, and so forth) from the shifter claws class feature and of forms she assumes with wild shape.
Shifters are proficient with light and medium armor but are prohibited from wearing metal armor. A shifter can wear wooden armor that has been altered by the ironwood spell so that it functions as if it were steel. Shifters are proficient with shields (except tower shields) but must use only those crafted from wood.
A shifter who wears prohibited armor or uses a prohibited shield is unable to use her shifter aspect, shifter claws, wild shape, and other shifter supernatural or spell-like abilities while doing so and for 24 hours thereafter.
A shifter’s bonus language options include Sylvan, the language of woodland creatures, and Aklo, the tongue spoken by certain sinister fey or otherworldly denizens of reaches of the wild rarely explored by humanity. These choices are in addition to the bonus languages available to the character because of her race.
A shifter speaks Druidic, a secret language known only to druids and shifters, which she learns upon becoming a 1st-level shifter. Druidic is a free language for a shifter; that is, she knows it in addition to her regular allotment of languages, and it doesn’t take up a language slot. Shifters are forbidden to teach this language to non-druids or non-shifters.
For the purposes of teaching and learning the Druidic language, shifters are considered to be druids—the nuances of the language are instrumental in teaching characters of both classes to use and control their abilities. While the rare druidic circle might bar shifters from its order, and while some eccentric shifters may view druids as competitors or even enemies, all shifters are assumed to speak it.
Shifter Aspect (Su)
At 1st level, a shifter gains her first aspect—a category of animal to which her body and soul have become supernaturally attuned. She can shift into her aspect’s minor form (see Aspects) for a number of minutes per day equal to 3 + her shifter level. The duration need not be consecutive but must be spent in 1-minute increments. Shifting into a minor form is a swift action, while ending the effect is a free action that can be taken only on the shifter’s turn. Until a shifter reaches 9th level and gains the chimeric aspect class feature, she can assume only one minor form at a time. Shifting to a new aspect (or aspects, in the case of chimeric aspects or greater chimeric aspects) ends all minor forms currently manifested. The minor forms of aspects are not polymorph effects, and the shifter does not lose the benefits of a minor form while affected by polymorph effects.
As the shifter gains levels, she gains more aspects; she gains her second aspect at 5th level, a third aspect at 10th level, and a fourth at 15th level.
Shifter Claws (Su)
At will, a shifter in her natural form can extend her claws as a swift action to use as a weapon. This magical transformation is fueled as much by the shifter’s faith in the natural world as it is by inborn talent. The claws on each hand can be used as a primary natural attack, dealing 1d4 points of piercing and slashing damage (1d3 if she is Small). If she uses one of her claw attacks in concert with a weapon held in the other hand, the claw acts as a secondary natural attack instead.
As the shifter gains levels, the power of her claws increases. At 3rd level, her claws ignore DR/cold iron and DR/silver. At 7th level, her claw damage increases to 1d6 (1d4 if Small). At 11th level, her claw damage increases to 1d8 (1d6 if Small). At 13th level, her claw damage increases to 1d10 (1d8 if Small). At 17th level, the damage die does not increase, but the critical multiplier becomes ×3. Lastly, at 19th level, the claws ignore DR/adamantine and DR/—.
While a shifter uses wild shape to assume her aspect’s major form, her natural attacks gain the same benefits granted by her shifter claws ability. If the form she takes has claw attacks, she can use either the base damage of her shifter claws or the damage of the form’s claws, whichever is greater. If the form does not have claw attacks, she can choose up to two natural attacks that would deal less damage than her shifter claw damage and have those attacks instead deal the same damage as her shifter claws.
Wild Empathy (Ex)
A shifter can improve the attitude of an animal. This ability functions as a Diplomacy check to improve the attitude of a person. The shifter rolls 1d20 and adds her shifter level and Charisma modifier to determine the wild empathy check result. The typical domestic animal has a starting attitude of indifferent, while wild animals are usually unfriendly.
To use wild empathy, the shifter and the animal must be within 30 feet of one another and under normal conditions. Generally, influencing an animal in this way takes 1 minute but, as with influencing people, it might take more or less time.
Defensive Instinct (Ex)
At 2nd level, when unarmored, not using a shield, unencumbered, and conscious, the shifter adds her Wisdom bonus (if any) to her AC and CMD. If she is wearing nonmetal armor or using a nonmetal shield, she instead adds half her Wisdom bonus to her AC (minimum 0). In addition, the shifter gains a +1 bonus to her AC and CMD at 4th level. This bonus increases by 1 for every 4 shifter levels thereafter (up to a maximum of +5 at 20th level).
These bonuses to AC apply even against touch attacks and when the shifter is flat-footed. She loses these bonuses when she is immobilized or helpless. These bonuses do not stack with the monk AC bonus class feature.
At 2nd level, a shifter adds half her level as a bonus on Survival checks to follow tracks.
Woodland Stride (Ex)
At 3rd level, a shifter can move through any sort of undergrowth (such as briars, natural thorns, overgrown areas, and similar terrain) at her normal speed and without taking damage or suffering any other impairment. Briars, thorns, and overgrown areas that are enchanted or magically manipulated to impede motion still affect the shifter.
Wild Shape (Su)
At 4th level, a shifter gains the ability to turn herself into the major form of one of her aspects and back again once per day. This ability functions as beast shape II, except as noted here. The shifter can turn into the major form of only one of her aspects at a time. The effect lasts for 1 hour per shifter level or until she changes back. Using wild shape to change to a major form or back is a standard action that doesn’t provoke attacks of opportunity. Often a particular aspect’s major form grants abilities beyond the normal effect of beast shape II. Each major form details the abilities the shifter gains with that major form and at what level; she gains these instead of the form abilities from beast shape II, but she still gains beast shape II abilities that are size dependent.
A shifter loses her ability to speak while in animal form because she is limited to the sounds that a normal, untrained animal of that form can make, but she can communicate with other animals of the same general grouping as her form. She can also communicate in nonverbal ways with allies.
A shifter can use this ability an additional time per day at 6th level and every 2 levels thereafter, for a total of eight times per day at 18th level.
Trackless Step (Ex)
At 5th level, a shifter leaves no trail in natural surroundings and cannot be tracked. She can choose to leave a trail if she so desires.
Chimeric Aspect (Su)
At 9th level, when a shifter uses her shifter aspect ability to take on a minor form, she can choose two aspects and assume the minor form of each aspect.
Greater Chimeric Aspect (Su)
At 14th level, when a shifter uses her shifter aspect ability to take on a minor form, she can choose up to three aspects and assume the minor form of each aspect.
Final Aspect (Su)
At 20th level, a shifter gains access to a fifth aspect, and when she uses shifter’s aspect, she can assume the minor forms of all her aspects.
A shifter draws her primary strength from an association with a specific type of animal. As a result, when a shifter uses her shifter aspect or wild shape class features, she can assume only the forms of her chosen aspects. Until reaching 5th level, a shifter has only a single aspect, but as she increases in level, she gains more control over her metamorphosis, allowing her to take on multiple aspects and even merge aspects.
All shifter aspects have a minor form and a major form. The minor form grants a shifter a few of the animal’s physical traits, while the major aspect is the form she takes on when she uses wild shape to fully transform into an animal. The list of abilities gained with the major aspect include those gained from the wild shape class feature, but the benefits gained from any resulting changes to size are not listed here (see beast shape II).
The following options represent only the most common choices used by shifters. Other aspects based on different animals certainly exist, and might grant similar powers or entirely new abilities based on the animal’s themes and nature. You can use the following aspects as guides for developing aspects of your own design, but if you wish to do so, you must secure your GM’s permission.
The aspect of the bat imparts mastery over darkness and the night. Though not as powerful in battle as some other aspects, those who take this aspect become adept at skirmishing and spying.
Minor Form: You gain darkvision with a range of 60 feet. If you already have darkvision with this range or greater, the range of your darkvision increases by 30 feet. At 8th level, you gain darkvision with a range of 90 feet instead. If you already have darkvision with this range or greater, your darkvision increases by 30 feet. At 15th level, you gain the 8th-level benefit and gain blindsense with a range of 15 feet or, if you already have blindsense with a range of 15 feet or more, you increase its range by 10 feet.
Major Form: Your shape changes to that of a dire bat. While in this form, you gain a fly speed of 40 feet (clumsy) and blindsense with a range of 10 feet. At 8th level, the fly speed increases to 60 feet (good), the range of your blindsense increases to 20 feet, and you gain the Flyby Attack feat. At 15th level, your fly speed increases to 80 feet (good) and you gain the Hover feat.
The aspect of the bear invokes a juggernaut of tireless endurance and furious power. Those who take this aspect are known for surviving severe wounds and delivering punishing blows in return.
Major Form: Your shape changes to that of a dire bear. While in this form, you gain low-light vision and scent (30 feet). At 8th level, you gain Improved Natural Attack with your claws. At 15th level, the critical multiplier of your claw attack increases by 1 (×2 becomes ×3) to a maximum of ×4, and you gain the Awesome Blow feat.
The bull is a fierce charger and is adept at trampling its foes, pounding them to a bloody pulp.
Major Form: Your shape changes to that of a Large bull (see Cattle). While in this form, you gain low-light vision, scent, and a gore attack (1d8 damage) with powerful charge (+1d8 on your gore attack). At 8th level, you gain the trample as per the universal monster rule (dealing gore damage plus 1-1/2 times your Strength modifier). At 15th level, your gore damage increases to 2d8 and you gain the Awesome Blow feat.
The deinonychus is adept at racing from ambush to deliver grievous wounds with its talons. This aspect infuses the shifter with an enhanced ability to surprise foes and strike first in battle.
Minor Form: You gain a +2 bonus on Initiative checks. This bonus increases to +4 at 8th level and +6 at 15th level.
Major Form: Your shape changes to that of a deinonychus. While in this form, you gain a base speed of 60 feet, low-light vision, scent (30 feet), a bite attack, and two talon attacks (your talon attacks can use your shifter claws damage), and pounce. At 8th level, you gain two foreclaw attacks (these attacks cannot use your shifter claws damage) and a +4 racial bonus on Acrobatics checks. At 15th level, you gain a +1 dodge bonus to AC and Spring Attack as a bonus feat.
The falcon senses all and has the speed to hunt down even the most elusive prey. Those who take this aspect gain enhanced abilities to perceive and reconnoiter the wilderness—little escapes this shifter’s attention.
Major Form: Your shape changes to that of a Small falcon. While in this form, you gain a bite attack (1d4 damage), two claw attacks (1d3 damage), a fly speed of 60 feet (good), low-light vision, and a +4 racial bonus on vision-based Perception checks. At 8th level, you gain darkvision with a range of 120 feet, and your racial bonus on Perception checks increases to +6. At 15th level, you gain blindsense with a range of 60 feet and your fly speed increases to 90 feet (perfect).
The aspect of the frog grants great mobility in leaping through the air and swimming in water, as well surprising tactics in combat.
Major Form: Your shape changes to that of a Large frog (as per the giant frog but with a space of 10 feet). While in this form, you gain a swim speed of 30 feet, low-light vision, scent (30 feet), a bite attack with the grab ability, and the ability to treat all jumps as if you had a running start. At 8th level, you gain a tongue attack (see below). At 15th level, your swim speed increases to 60 feet. In addition, the reach of your tongue attack increases to 30 feet, and your tongue attack deals bludgeoning damage equal to the damage dealt by your shifter claws.
Your tongue is a primary natural attack with a reach of 15 feet. Your tongue deals no damage on a hit, but can be used to grab. You do not gain the grappled condition while using your tongue in this manner.
The aspect of the lizard is one of swift, graceful movement, granting the ability to dart and scurry with an astounding agility and balance.
Major Form: Your shape changes to that of an agile and brightly colored giant lizard (as per the giant frilled lizard, but with the following changes). While in this form, you gain a base speed of 40 feet, low-light vision, scent (30 feet), a primary bite attack (1d8 damage) with the grab ability and a secondary tail attack (1d6 damage) with the trip ability. At 8th level, your base speed increases to 60 feet and you gain a climb speed of 30 feet. At 15th level, you gain Improved Natural Attack with your bite and your tail attacks, and the reach of your tail attack becomes 10 feet.
The monkey is a climbing trickster who specializes in mobility and manual agility.
Major Form: Your shape changes to that of a Large monkey (as per the dire ape). While in this form, you gain a climb speed of 30 feet, low-light vision, and scent (30 feet), and you can still use your hands to wield weapons, hold objects, and manipulate objects normally. At 8th level, your climb speed increases to 50 feet, and you can use your tail to hold and manipulate objects as if you had a third hand, but you cannot use it to wield weapons or shields. At 15th level, you gain a rend attack that deals extra damage equal to that of your shifter claws attack plus 1-1/2 times your Strength bonus when you hit with two of your normal shifter claws attacks.
The aspect of the mouse offers the ability to gain access to hard-to-reach places while avoiding many attacks and effects.
Major Form: Your shape changes to that of a Tiny mouse (as per the dire rat, but with a space of 2-1/2 feet and a reach of 0 feet). While in this form, you gain a climb speed of 20 feet, a swim speed of 20 feet, low-light vision, and scent (30 feet), and you use your Dexterity modifier instead of your Strength modifier on Climb and Swim checks. At 8th level, your climb and swim speeds both increase to 40 feet. At 15th level, 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 aspect of the owl is one of silence. This predator glides through the night unheard, a master of stealthy attacks.
Major Form: Your shape changes to that of a Medium owl. While in this form, you gain two claw attacks (1d6 damage), darkvision with a range of 60 feet, and a +2 racial bonus on Stealth checks. At 8th level, you gain Flyby Attack as a bonus feat, and the range of your darkvision increases to 120 feet. At 15th level, you can take the form of a Large owl and gain 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.
The snake is a sneaky and lethal foe who strikes unexpectedly with deadly effect, while avoiding opportune strikes made in return. Minor Form: You gain a +2 bonus on attack rolls when making attacks of opportunity and a +2 dodge bonus to your AC against attacks of opportunity. These bonuses increase to +4 at 8th level and +6 at 15th level.
Major Form: Your shape changes to that of an emperor cobra. While in this form, you gain a climb speed of 30 feet, a swim speed of 30 feet, low-light vision, scent (30 feet), 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. At 8th level, you gain a +4 racial bonus on Acrobatics and Stealth checks. At 15th level, when you make an attack of opportunity with your bite attack, that attack also applies the following poison.
The stag can outrun or stand its ground against almost any foe. This aspect offers majestic grace and swift speed.
Minor Form: You gain an enhancement bonus of +5 feet to your base speed. This bonus increases to +10 feet at 8th level and +20 feet at 15th level.
Major Form: Your shape changes to that of a Large stag, but its space changes to 10 feet. While in this form, you gain a base speed of 50 feet, low-light vision, and scent (30 feet). At 8th level, you gain a +4 racial bonus on Acrobatic checks when jumping. At 15th level, you gain the 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 tiger is a powerful but graceful hunter of the wild, quietly stalking its prey and then taking it down with ruthless efficiency.
Major Form: Your shape changes to that of a dire tiger. While in this form, you gain a base speed of 40 feet, low-light vision, scent (30 feet), the grab ability with both your bite and claw attacks, and pounce. At 8th level, you gain a +4 racial bonus on Stealth checks. At 15th level, you gain the rake attack with your back claw attacks (dealing additional damage equal to that of your claw attack).
The aspect of the wolf provides the senses and the attacks of the mighty wolf, whose instincts are honed to track and take down its prey.
Minor Form: You gain the scent ability with a range of 10 feet, or, if you have the scent ability, the range increases by 10 feet. The range of this scent or the increase to your scent increases to 20 feet at 8th level and 30 feet at 15th level. The range doubles if the opponent is upwind and is halved if the opponent is downwind.
Major Form: Your shape changes to that of a dire wolf. While in this form, you gain a base speed of 50 feet, low-light vision, and scent (30 feet), and you can make a trip attempt with your bite attack. At 8th level, the range of your scent ability increases to 40 feet and you gain a +4 racial bonus on Survival checks when tracking with scent. At 15th level, you gain Improved Natural Attack (bite).
This aspect unlocks the brutal ferocity and tenacious fury of the wolverine. The wolverine’s lust for battle invigorates its will to live, and it can press on in battle longer than its enemies expect.
Minor Form: You gain 1 additional hit point per Hit Die you have, and treat your Constitution score as 4 points higher than it is for the purpose of determining when you die at negative hit points. At 8th level, you gain Diehard as a bonus feat. At 15th level, you treat your Constitution as being 8 points higher for the purpose of determining when you die at negative hit points.
Major Form: Your shape changes to that of a dire wolverine. While in this form, you gain a climb speed of 10 feet, low-light vision, and scent (30 feet). While in dire wolverine form, you gain the barbarian’s rage power, but 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 (unlike a dire wolverine, you can choose to end this rage voluntarily). At 8th level, you can choose two barbarian rage powers, treating your shifter level as your effective barbarian level for the purposes of meeting prerequisites. At 15th level, you are no longer fatigued at the end of your rage.
A shifter who ceases to revere nature, changes to a prohibited alignment, or teaches the Druidic language to a non-druid or a non-shifter loses all her supernatural abilities. She cannot thereafter gain levels as a shifter until she atones (see the atonement spell).
Favored Class Bonuses
The following favored class bonuses are available to shifters who come from the various core races. Each of these rewards replaces the normal reward for taking a level in a favored class.
Elves: Add 1 to the shifter’s base speed. This has no in-game effect unless the shifter has selected this reward five times (or any multiple of five) to enhance her speed by 5 feet. For example, a 4th-level elven shifter who has selected this option four times has a base speed of 34 feet, but is treated as if she still had a base speed of 30 feet. When she reaches 5th level and takes this favored class option again, her base speed becomes 35 feet. This bonus applies only when the shifter is wearing no armor.
Gnomes: Gain energy resistance 1 against acid, cold, electricity, or fire. Each time the shifter selects this reward, increase that energy resistance by 1, to a maximum of energy resistance 10. Once the gnome reaches energy resistance 10, she can select a new type of energy to build her resistance to the next time she selects this favored class option.
Half-Elves: Add a +1/2 bonus on Survival checks to get along in the wild, to avoid getting lost, and to avoid all natural hazards.
Halflings: Increase the AC bonus from defensive instinct by 1/4 against creatures of size Large or larger.
Humans: Add 1/3 to the number of minutes the shifter can assume her minor form each day.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Ultimate Wilderness © 2017, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Alexander Augunas, John Bennett, Robert Brookes, John Compton, Dan Dillon, Steven T. Helt, Thurston Hillman, Eric Hindley, Mikko Kallio, Jason Keeley, Isabelle Lee, Jason Nelson, Stephen Radney-MacFarland, Alex Riggs, David N. Ross, David Schwartz, Mark Seifter, Jeffery Swank, and Linda Zayas-Palmer.