We here at Lost Spheres love shapeshifters. Conceptually, the group of characters that encompases the ability to take on another form is pretty broad particularly including third-party options. With so many choices out there we thought some of you wouldn’t mind a few suggestions for your next morphic champion. As that there a lot of ways to look at them we wanted to establish some basic terms and level-sets for discussion of the relative merits of shapeshifter classes. Over the next couple weeks we’d like to showcase a few different ‘shifter character concepts from Paizo and other companies for those looking for a little change before the new year. Welcome to the 12 days of Shift-mas!
Shapeshifting: The Benchmark
So for comparisson’s sake we are going to set a level of expectation for our shapeshifters based off a core class. Now, while many people will jump to transmuter or polymorph focused sorcerers, in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook there is only one class that gets shapechanging powers by default.
Looking at druids as our shapeshifting benchmarks we want to call out our major “gifts” regarding the level of shapeshifting and its relative balance within the class:
Under the Tree – One Shiny Package among many. Shapeshifting, specifically wildshape, is a secondary feature of the class. We say this because it has its own relatively small pool of uses and still doesn’t really hamper the fact druid is also a full 0 to 9 casting class. Basically it is a thematic core to the class that is an addition, not a replacement. Plenty of other presents under the druid tree like flame strike and animal companions.
Battery Life – Lithium. How long does our shift last? 1 hour per level. Don’t underestimate the value of this. Druid shapechanging duration is flagship strong. At 8th level a “core only” druid can stay shifted all day. Very few classes have access to this level of persistent buff.
Wrapping Fees – Free love. Well here we mean wrapping feats really. Tons of feat support exists for wildshape and the ability needs zero of them to be cool. With them it is insanely cool. No real investments are required and if you do sink them in, you can go amazing places with the ability.
Under the Mistletoe – Gold band. How committed should a druid be to druid as a class progression for shapeshifting? Like most of the Pathfinder core classes, druid wants a life time commitment and wildshape rewards each level you stick with it: duration, uses, and even new forms–shapeshifting druids are likely hooked for life.
So… Druid… Benchmark is set.
Comeback tomorrow for the next Present of Shift-mas! Day 11 – the Transmuter! Don’t forget ANY shapeshifter can benefit in Mythic games from the Master-of-Shapes path from Mythic Paths of the Lost Spheres and you can get it on: RPGNow or Paizo or d20.pfsrd.com!