- Variant Skinwalker Heritage Details
- Additional 3rd Party Publisher Options
1 This category includes barbarians, oracles, rogues, and sorcerers.
Sidebar: Non-Human Skinwalkers
Skinwalkers are found mostly in human populations. However, because of the nature of lycanthropy, skinwalkers can feasibly be of any intelligent humanoid race. So while uncommon, a lycanthropic bloodline can descend through non-humans like halflings, dwarves, orcs, or elves.
Non-human skinwalkers perhaps more closely resemble their non-lycanthropic parent race, but possess the same statistics as human-descended skinwalkers with the exception of size and effects dependent on size, such as the damage die of natural attacks. For example, a gnome skinwalker is Small, but otherwise is statistically identical to the base skinwalker race presented here (unless, of course, the character is descended from an alternate skinwalker heritage, in which case she has the statistics of that heritage).
Regardless, skinwalkers of non-human descent are typically raised in the same culture as their parent race, and thus usually have the same cultural understanding and education that anyone in their community possesses. So while a half-orc skinwalker raised in an orc tribe might not gain automatic proficiency with the orc double-axe, that doesn’t necessarily preclude him from honing his aggressive battle tactics and learning how to fight like an orc.
Most people believe skinwalkers are half-breeds of lycanthropes, or that they share some slight version of the curse of those creatures. Skinwalker shamans say they are chosen by nature or the gods to be a bridge between the world of humanity and the animal world. The truth may lie somewhere between these two ideas. For indeed, skinwalkers are those with a lycanthrope crouching somewhere in the branches of their family tree. These distant progeny of monstrous werewolves and other creatures of the night have special talents unlike those of most civilized peoples, and they arise randomly among remote humanoid populations as well as within their own secretive sects. A pair of humans may give birth to a skinwalker—the dormant lycanthropic ancestry making itself known in a child neither beast nor human—or a pair of skinwalker parents may produce a skinwalker child, though these couplings can sometimes produce human children as well.
Physical Description: Outwardly human, skinwalkers are virtually indistinguishable from others of the ethnic group into which they are born. Those rare skinwalkers who have bred true for generations tend to have dark eyes, straight dark hair, and richly colored skin. Skinwalkers’ features vary greatly when they shapechange. They gain a bestial visage evoking the creatures they emulate; the snout elongates, teeth become more prominent, claws emerge from fingertips, and skin toughens into hide. Despite their shapechanging abilities, they are not immune to infection from full lycanthropes.
Society: Skinwalkers sometimes weave themselves into other societies, hoping their peculiar talents go unnoticed. They may also be nomads found in lands with wide-open spaces. Groups of skinwalkers hidden among a larger community of non-skinwalkers may regularly gather for lunar rituals or nocturnal pack hunting.
Relations: Skinwalkers mostly populate human settlements and communities. They tend to get along with catfolk, tengus, and members of other animal-like races (including lycanthropes), and are comfortable taking their animalistic forms in the company of these fellows. However, many natural lycanthropes see skinwalkers as weaker, inferior versions of their own kind, and some lycanthropes even take to infecting or even hunting their distant kin.
Alignment and Religion: Skinwalkers tend toward neutral alignments, but may be of any. Many follow the Green Faith or venerate deities with close ties to nature and the animal world, as well as those connected with hunting, transformation, travel, and trickery.
Adventurers: Often on the move, skinwalkers make for excellent adventurers. Once they become comfortable in a group, most skinwalkers come to see their adventuring allies as their pack or herd.
Names: Skinwalkers born in human and humanoid societies share the naming conventions of the surrounding culture. Skinwalkers born in their own packs typically have names similar to their overarching ethnicities appended with flavorful, animal-inspired appellations such as Bearmaw, Wolftamer, Fangblood, or Owlmarked.
Standard Racial Traits
Errata’d: Change Shape
The skinwalker’s original Change Shape ability also included the following limitations:
While in bestial form, a skinwalker takes a –4 penalty on Charisma and Charisma-based checks when interacting with humanoids that lack the shapechanger subtype.
These limitations were removed in the revised skinwalker entry. [Source: PCS:ISR]
Editor Note: Removal of these limitations would likely increase the Racial Point cost of skinwalkers to 11-12 RP, but there has yet been no clarification from Paizo on this.
These benefits last until the skinwalker returns to her humanoid form as a swift action. A skinwalker must first return to her humanoid form before changing to bestial form again to change benefits. Different skinwalker heritages allow skinwalker characters to select from different sets of bestial features.
Race TraitsThe following race traits are available to any skinwalker character:
Alternate Racial Traits
The following feats are available to any skinwalker character who meets the prerequisites.
Other Skinwalker Options: Skinwalker Heritages
The base skinwalker is merely the most common of its kind but there are those who’ve inherited a larger share of their ancestors’ animalistic beings, and in whom can be seen the traits of very specific types of lycanthropes. Whether the scions of wereboars, the grandchildren of werecrocodiles, or the distant progeny of wererats, these individuals possess stronger ties to their ancestors than other skinwalkers. This book presents eight alternative heritages for skinwalkers, which can be selected during character creation. Once chosen, a skinwalker’s heritage cannot be changed.
Variant Skinwalker Heritage Details
Those skinwalkers known as bloodmarked are a hungry lot— their predilection for blood is matched only by their flock mentality and adherence to strict hierarchy.
Bloodmarked, like werebats, are generally communal and often defer readily to their superiors within their flocks or even other leaders or employers. They tend to be gregarious yet savage, and enjoy using their unassuming natural forms to trick others before revealing their true bestial powers. Bloodmarked reveal their human ancestry in their ability to break from the group, make their own choices, and associate with humans without trying to force their way of life upon them, although troublemakers are strongly frowned upon and find it hard to get any other werebat-kin to take their side if in opposition to the group.Like werebats, bloodmarked are fond of elaborate social ceremonies that strengthen group cohesion and loyalty.
Werebat-kin ceremonies often involve wearing bat skins, sacrificing animals or humanoids, and drinking blood.
The following race traits are available to werebats and werebat-kin:
The following feats are available to werebat-kin:
The following spell is common among werebats, werebat-kin, and those who associate with these creatures:
Coldborn are remarkable among skinwalkers for their awareness and their potential for discipline, as well as for their hidden rage.
They are called coldborn because they often become torpid and withdrawn during the winter months unless they have matters to attend to, and they resume their typical demeanors with renewed energy at winter’s end.
Although they often avoid large settlements, coldborn are known to defy their ursine urges in favor of their humanlike desire for community, either forming small, intimate communities of their own (consisting of a few families or a chosen family of good friends) or arranging annual or seasonal gatherings to keep in touch with their fellows from all across the area.
Werebear-kin are renowned for their industriousness, and often make a good living trading in skins, leather, and other products of the forest. This trade allows them to acquire useful tools for defending their homes and surviving lean times. It also means that they are often in contact with a few non-coldborn, though they regard most outsiders as greedy and obsessed with wealth and status. In northern and mountainous regions, this attitude has earned them a great deal of respect from monks. Like werebears, coldborn tend to be quite broad-shouldered, muscular, and strong-featured, but they generally do not share werebears‘ work-worn appearance unless they have actually known a life of hard labor.
A werebear-kin’s lycanthropic heritage usually reveals itself during or shortly after puberty. It’s not uncommon for a werebear-kin to first learn of her powers during an accidental burst of strength, and she may cause a great deal of inadvertent damage until she learns to control herself. Coldborn may be treated as dangerous beasts or exemplary teachers depending on the surrounding cultural attitudes.
Werebear-kin are drawn to seek solitude much of the time, although they are commonly good-hearted.
Not all werebear-kin avoid settlements, but all avoid frequently dealing with people outside their chosen family. Coldborn usually make effective leaders and organizers for tight-knit adventuring parties and similar groups because of their naturally strong sense of empathy and desire to protect their chosen families. However, in keeping with their werebear heritage, coldborn sometimes demonstrate a more violent side, either out of frustration at mistreatment by others or due to a naturally foul temperament. Werebear-kin adventurers are most often druids, rangers, or witches, as they readily cast aside the foibles of human societies for the simplicity of nature.
Some monasteries even claim to have been founded or guided during their founding by those who wear the bear’s skin, whose seclusion away from worldly concerns allows them to more easily find the path to true wisdom.
The following race traits are available to werebear-kin:
The following feats are available to werebear-kin:
The following spells are common among werebears, werebear-kin and those who associate with these creatures:
Ragebred, even more so than other skinwalkers, find both their greatest strength and direst weakness in their choleric emotions— from unstoppable rage to tempestuous affection to reckless spite.
Wereboar-kin sometimes struggle to maintain healthy relationships of any sort because of their mercurial natures and natural defensiveness, but some find camaraderie and strength by focusing on the strong emotions they share with their fellow wereboar-kin or humans who have known hardship. They have acquired the name “ragebred” for their habit of tempestuous romances that seem to be most successful when the couple engages in frequent bouts of dramatic conflict and affectionate reconciliation.
The following race traits are available to wereboar-kin:
New Rage Powers
The following barbarian rage powers are available to wereboars, wereboar-kin, and those who associate with these creatures:
New Magic Item
The following wondrous item is common among wereboars, wereboar-kin and those who associate with these creatures:
Scalehearts are of an exceptionally cold aspect—few others can so easily toss aside inhibitions in the name of their ultimate goals.
Physically, they are thick-skinned and usually sluggish unless engaged in combat. They tend to be ruthless but patient. All are natural swimmers. In a pattern stretching all the way back to scalehearts’ counterparts in Arcadia, scaleheart culture respects nothing so much as the ability to demonstrate power over others, most often physically but also through cunning and magic. Werecrocodile-kin are renowned for their surprising and violent displays of dominance they have an equally strong reputation for proving their superiority by manipulating and seducing prominent humans. Not as powerful or as solitary as true werecrocodiles, scalehearts prefer to form their own small waterside communities when they do collaborate.
Scalehearts are often brutish and mean. Their first transformation is commonly triggered by the first serious injury they witness or a sudden strong hunger. A werecrocodile-kin whose abilities have begun to appear is often struck by a craving to hurt, scare, and perhaps even kill peers who seem weaker or inferior to her in some way. Even heroic scalehearts can’t help feeling that selfish and evil creatures deserve pain and panic for being less moral than them. Werecrocodile-kin frequently boast about their conquests to potential victims and allies alike, hoping to inspire respect fear, and anxiety however they can. Many have a hard time reading the emotions of others and expressing their own emotions in a way others can understand—those who learn to exploit this feature may become brilliant liars or ruthlessly efficient officials or mercenaries, while others may simply toil hopelessly to find a way to meaningfully connect with their neighbors.
Because of their unpredictable temperaments, great strength, and domineering attitudes, werecrocodilekin are generally considered cold-blooded killers by other races. They don’t bother to cultivate or maintain personal relationships, although they also recognize the security of shared space and don’t mind the presence of others of their kind. Most dwell in low buildings near the water’s edge, either alone or with a few of their kind.
Many are patient and wily enough to recognize the value of the swamp plants around them, and herbalism, alchemy, and witchcraft are all respected professions for werecrocodile-kin. Some become shamans or soothsayers and readily sell curses as well as remedies—whatever will make the most money and earn the most respected (or feared) reputation.
The following race traits are available to werecrocodile-kin:
The following witch hexes can be selected by any character who can use hexes:
New Major Hexes
The following major hexes can be selected by any character who can use major hexes:
New Alchemist Discovery
The following alchemist discovery is common among werecrocodiles, werecrocodile-kin, and those who associate with these creatures:
Nightskulks combine the versatile aspect of the skinwalker with the ambition and necessary ingenuity of the wererat to become some of the most creative and surprising of their kind.
Unlike other skinwalkers, even large nightskulk communities often draw their culture almost completely from the surrounding human society, assimilating at the cost of losing their ancient skinwalker traditions.
Most have found that the culture of infected and natural wererats in cities suits them, and can frequently be found consorting with these full-blooded lycanthropes. Lacking the wererat’s ability to hide among true rats, nightskulks often specialize in hiding instead among humans. Although they try to maintain ties with other wererat-kin and true wererats for mutual security if possible, wererat-kin have learned that it is safest to remain hidden among the human masses and disappear whenever fear of lycanthropes would threaten to make pariahs out of an isolated community. Nightskulks tend to be short and wiry, with constantly darting eyes. Males often have thin, ragged mustaches, while females have thin, birdlike builds. Both sexes like to wear fine furs and soft, voluminous garments for warmth and to show off whatever wealth they possess.
A nightskulk’s first transformation is commonly triggered by his first exposure to a significant illness or even disease in adolescence, at which point his wererat blood helps fight off the affliction. The first thing wererat-kin generally notice when their wererat-kin abilities manifest is an urge to find an out-of-the-way place to make a comfortable and secure hideout or nest, preferably furnished with precious possessions or weapons for peace of mind. Although fond of secrecy and the safety it brings from potential foes as well as members of one’s own community, many nightskulks find it a great relief to have close friends to confide in about their experiences and abilities, leading them to form long-lasting relationships with a few close childhood friends, siblings, or associates.
As a result of their close association with pests, wererat-kin are often erroneously considered blights on the surrounding community in any number of ways, and are often purported to be crime-lords, thugs, and sources of disease and declining culture. Their abilities give them value to thieves’ guilds, but otherwise they feel a great deal of pressure to hide their true nature from the human society surrounding them. They most often become adventurers in an effort to demonstrate their cunning and ensure their long-term safety by securing defenses and resources. Nightskulk adventurers are usually rogues, but there are also famous wererat-kin bards known for using their pipes to sway rodents and people, as well as wererat-kin monks who trained in street fights and converted their sewer homes into secret monasteries.
The following race traits are available to wererat-kin:
New Rogue Talents(s)
The following rogue talents are available to wererats and wererat-kin:
The following Teamwork feats are common among wererats, wererat-kin, and those who associate with these creatures:
The seascarred draw on the majesty of the shark and the society of skinwalkers to produce shamans and pirates with the ability to impose their will on anyone or anything that gets in their way.
Fittingly, wereshark-kin are often related to island nobility and shamans, and thus many expect others to defer to their often-blunt methods and habits. Like weresharks, they tend to be singleminded and do not like to be questioned. Although some are selfish and others heroic, most seascarred prefer to live relatively simple lives consisting primarily of hunting and eating. Many greedy or unscrupulous wereshark-kin make their way as pirates, simply taking what they want and letting their cowed peers deal with complications.
Wereshark-kin prefer to be their own masters, but are willing to follow obviously more powerful leaders.
Seascarred culture tells them that they are natural lords of the water, leading many wereshark-kin communities and loners alike to defend chosen stretches of coastline against all intruders and to live in harmony with the sea under the guidance of a druid or shaman.
However, many self-directed individuals gravitate toward lives of piracy and selfish convenience, imposing their will on others when it is convenient and moving on when they lose interest.
Physically, wereshark-kin tend to be broad-shouldered and muscular, with sharp, smooth features and little facial or body hair.
Most seascarred proudly display large scars or tattoos as evidence of their experience and strength, lending them their hereditary name.
Wereshark-kin tend to be strong-willed and uninterested in lengthy conversation. Their first transformation is commonly triggered by the first serious injury they witness or a strong hunger, generally in or near the sea.
The first thing a seascarred notices when his powers manifest is an overwhelming awareness of all the life around him, especially when he is in the water. Not only does all the warm flesh and blood stir his nigh-insatiable appetite, but the bustling energy of a warm day and the muted activity of night stand out to him as patterns he can learn from or even command. This attunement to the natural world leads many wereshark-kin to become clerics of nature deities, druids, or oracles. Those less inclined toward the spiritual world often find roles as fighters, rangers, or magi.
Because of their gruff temperaments and great strength, seascarred are generally considered coldblooded killers by the people of the Inner Sea, who rarely meet any except dangerous pirates. Wereshark-kin are naturally prized by crews of more monstrous buccaneers for their brawn and strong connection to the ocean. In adventuring parties, wereshark-kin are generally only willing to work and travel with others as long as they know there’s something in it for them.
The following race traits are available to wereshark-kin:
New Magus Arcana
The following magus arcana are available to weresharks, wereshark-kin, and those who associate with those creatures:
New Magic Item
The following magic weapon is common among weresharks, wereshark-kin, and those who associate with those creatures:
Fanglords are skinwalkers of a most regal lineage, well aware that they carry the blood of kings and tyrants—and just as confident and imposing as their forebears.
Weretiger-kin tend to be exceptionally proud of their heritage and confident to the point of hubris regarding their authority over not only humans, but also animals.
Although usually quite capable, fanglords are not opposed to waiting for just the right moment to spring a plan or strike against an enemy, making sure they can act with overwhelming effectiveness and completely negate the chance of an opponent fighting back. As a result, they make impeccable assassins and frustrating political enemies. Weretiger-kin often have large eyes, long noses, and sharp cheekbones.
Weretiger-kin are often charming and intimidating, features they develop from childhood but which reach their full bloom only in late adolescence, when the maturing fanglord first begins to sense just how much more aware, graceful, and strong he is than those around him. Every movement seems to slow down for a fanglord, and he finds that he can almost divine each little vulnerability in the way humans carry themselves and go about their business—moments when they could be all too easily hurt, or killed in a way that looks like an accident, or outmaneuvered so they look silly in front of someone important. A fanglord’s first transformation is commonly triggered by his first sexual encounter. Weretiger-kin blood most often manifests among those descended from queens, kings, generals, and nobles who may have used their hidden lycanthropic strength to seize power from weaker contenders.
Because of their impressive mien and great strength, weretiger-kin are generally considered worthy of fear and respect. Despite frequenting highly populated areas and enjoying the luxuries of high society, fanglords are commonly loners and generally form personal relationships with other humanoids only when they are driven to mate or if it will help them achieve some long-range goal. Their unfettered attitude helps many acquire a powerful mystique and sometimes even willing followers. Rarely loyal to anyone else, weretiger-kin are often quite successful as mercenaries, assassins, and leaders in their own right.
The following race traits are available to weretigers and weretiger-kin:
The following Combat feats are available to weretigers, weretiger-kin, and those who associate with these creatures:
New Magic Item
The following magic armor is commonly used by weretigers, weretiger-kin, and those who associate with these creatures:
Witchwolves are skinwalkers of the open field and quiet forest, almost human in their ingenuity and free spirits, yet carrying a seed of those most terrible and brutal monsters—the werewolves.
They often dwell with werewolves or others of their kind in small, isolated settlements that resound with howls on the night of the full moon. Many werewolves and witchwolves live in seminomadic bands as traders, mystics, adventurers, or entertainers, allowing them to wreak havoc in remote settlements before slipping off into the darkness to escape the subsequent suspicion and hostility of townsfolk. Most such bands include only werewolves or only werewolf-kin, but occasionally one group adopts a member of the other sort out of circumstance or convenience, particularly if the two share common blood.
Werewolf-kin generally have prominent eyebrows that grow together, long index fingers, or wild hair that seems impossible to tame. Witchwolf packs are often led by witches trained in a tradition of curses and transformation tied closely to the original curse of lycanthropy; these witches are also usually the most powerful members of their packs, though exceptions exist where a witch leads with the aid of a favored ally of incredible strength. Because werewolf-kin cannot recruit ordinary humans the way werewolves can, they tend to be more cautious and maintain closer bonds with their fellows than true werewolves usually do, and their bands typically consist of only one or a few extended families or possibly longtime friends.
When witchwolves take bestial form, their eyes typically take on an amber or pale blue hue, their canines sharpen to points, patches of fur form on their skin, and their ears elongate as their senses are drastically heightened.
Werewolf-kin are often passionate and intimidating. Their first transformation commonly occurs during puberty or shortly thereafter beneath the light of the full moon.
Werewolf-kin are most often drawn to a life of adventure by a desire to prove themselves, either to earn a place as a pack alpha or even a pack lord, or else to fight against the image of werewolves as violent monsters.
The latter often turn for inspiration to the legends of the Hounds of Good, rare and blessed witchwolves who retain human dignity and virtue despite their lycanthropic heritage. Such goodly witchwolves form cabals dedicated to defending a particular area from fiends, evil lycanthropes, and other monsters, or start adventuring parties that seek out their sworn enemies wherever they can be found.
Like their werewolf relatives, witchwolves are feared and despised for the savagery that characterizes the majority of their kind, and not without reason. While not all are monsters, certainly many werewolf-kin bands are happy enough to rob and murder fellow travelers who will not be missed or hire themselves out as mercenaries. Since they can be found throughout the world, witchwolves come in as many varieties as there are wolves.
The following race traits are available to werewolf-kin:
The following Style feats were developed by werewolf-kin monks, but can be used by anyone with an affinity for wolves and their kind:
New Arcane Discovery
The following wizard arcane discovery is common among werewolves, werewolf-kin, and those who associate with these creatures:
Additional 3rd Party Publisher Options
3rd Party Publisher Content: Jon Brazer Enterprises
Jon Brazer Enterprises
The following content is from publisher(s) other than Paizo Publishing. Consult your GM to determine if this content is allowed in his or her campaign.
Skinwalker Favored Class Options
The following favored class options are available to all characters of this race who have the listed favored class, and unless otherwise stated, the bonus applies each time you select the favored class reward.
Additional “Skinwalker Favored Class Options” Section 15: Book Of Heroic Races: Advanced Favored Class Options. © 2014, Jon Brazer Enterprises.
3rd Party Publisher Content: Paizo Fans United
Paizo Fans United
The following content is from publisher(s) other than Paizo Publishing. Consult your GM to determine if this content is allowed in his or her campaign.
New Skinwalkers Options
Character Race Traits
Favored Class Options
Skinwalkers are treated as possessing the racial and wildshape prerequisites for the following feats: Ankle Biter, Aspect of the Beast, Eldritch Claws, Feline Grace, Ledge Walker, Natural Spell, Wild Speech. In addition, the following feats are available to any skinwalker character who meets the prerequisites.
Credits: Created by: Sarah “Ambrosia Slaad” Counts
Additional “New Options Available To Skinwalkers” Section 15: Wayfinder #13. © 2015, Paizo Fans United; Authors: Charlie Bell, Dylan Brooks, Jake Burnett, Jeremy Clements, Ryan Crossman, Kalyna Conrad, Sarah Counts, Matt Duval, Jeff Evans, Christoph Gimmler, Wojciech Gruchala, Garrett Guillotte, Bran Hagger, Andrew Hoskins, Kiel Howell, Jason Keeley, Joseph Kellogg, Joe Kondrak, Cole Kronewitter, Thomas LeBlanc, Jeff Lee, Christopher Lockwood, Nate Love, Ron Lundeen, Ben Martin, Matthew Medeiros, Alex J. Moore, Matt Morris, Mark Nordheim, Nicholas S. Orvis, Michael Riter, Matt Roth, Laura Sheppard, Joe Smith, Neil Spicer, Stephen Stack, Jessie Staffler, Jacob Trier, Ian Turner, Andrew Umphrey, Christopher Wasko, Nick Wasko, and Scott Young.
Pathfinder Player Companion: Blood of the Moon © 2013, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Authors: Tim Akers, Neal Litherland, David N. Ross, and Tork Shaw.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary 5 © 2015, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Dennis Baker, Jesse Benner, John Bennett, Logan Bonner, Creighton Broadhurst, Robert Brookes, Benjamin Bruck, Jason Bulmahn, Adam Daigle, Thurston Hillman, Eric Hindley, Joe Homes, James Jacobs, Amanda Hamon Kunz, Ben McFarland, Jason Nelson, Thom Phillips, Stephen Radney-MacFarland, Alistair Rigg, Alex Riggs, David N. Ross, Wes Schneider, David Schwartz, Mark Seifter, Mike Shel, James L. Sutter, and Linda Zayas-Palmer.
Book of Heroic Races: Advanced Favored Class Options © 2014, Jon Brazer Enterprises
Wayfinder #13 © 2015, Paizo Fans United; Authors: Charlie Bell, Dylan Brooks, Jake Burnett, Jeremy Clements, Ryan Crossman, Kalyna Conrad, Sarah Counts, Matt Duval, Jeff Evans, Christoph Gimmler, Wojciech Gruchala, Garrett Guillotte, Bran Hagger, Andrew Hoskins, Kiel Howell, Jason Keeley, Joseph Kellogg, Joe Kondrak, Cole Kronewitter, Thomas LeBlanc, Jeff Lee, Christopher Lockwood, Nate Love, Ron Lundeen, Ben Martin, Matthew Medeiros, Alex J. Moore, Matt Morris, Mark Nordheim, Nicholas S. Orvis, Michael Riter, Matt Roth, Laura Sheppard, Joe Smith, Neil Spicer, Stephen Stack, Jessie Staffler, Jacob Trier, Ian Turner, Andrew Umphrey, Christopher Wasko, Nick Wasko, and Scott Young.