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. Otherverse Games/Skortched ‘Urf Studios brings us the final shapershifter for Shift-Mas: The BIO-MANCER!
Shapeshifting: The Bio-Mancer
Given the class’ high degree of “mechanical awareness,” it requires both a skilled player and skilled GM to run well. Comparing bio-mancer to our baseline druid is a bit like comparing a water-saw to a apple-tree. That said some similarities do stand. Delving into this complex and fascinating class we see:
Under the Tree – A handcrafted mosaic made with shards found along the beach… or junkyard. Bio-mancer’s shapeshifting is complex and mostly deals with acquiring the abilities of creatures you encounter in combat. As a base you gain natural attack shifting so you don’t run out vulnerable into the wilderness. For you to learn a specific shift you need to encounter, get attacked by, and survive the ability you would like to have as an “enemy skill”. For those familiar with the Final Fantasy video game series, it plays a bit like the “blue mage” characters from them. This makes this class dangerous in many ways in that it only gains monster abilities, not class abilities like taskshaper or thaumaturge. This makes its power and abilities highly dependent on GM collaboration. Abilities you learn are highly CR dependent without exposure to the right creatures or early exposure to the wrong ones, you might become vastly out of step with the rest of the party. As a fall back you also learn a few persistent monster abilities in a manner similar to the beast shape or monstrous physique spells. You also get to pick some favored enemies ala ranger.
Battery Life – Fusion Reactor. As you get a suite of low CR abilities from exposure, they become at will powers. You have a couple encounter based abilities that are available once a fight from your mid-level CR enemy skill imprints. And you have a daily power of your highest CR imprints. Your monstrous effect abilities are generally persistent and the ramping natural armor bonuses are not too shabby. Your non-shift abilities include the rather limited “provoke” power but as one of the few “taunt” powers in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, its awesome to have at all.
Wrapping Fees – One of the few disappointments of the class is that it doesn’t yet have any specific feats for it. That said it does work very well with Ability Focus and you could take that as often as an acquired enemy skill would benefit from it. The Extra Use from Complete Advanced Feats from Kobold Press would allow an extra daily enemy skill use which could be remarkably effective.
Under the Mistletoe – Gold band. Your CR table for enemy skill scales off of level. As your primary feature, it is too good not to make a focus. If you REALLY want to multiclass, the class designers recommend druid (thematic similarity?), ranger (stacking favored enemies), and summoner (calling monsters to attack yourself with). The class would benefit more from having one of these classes (particularly summoner) as a life-long ally. The ability to gain unusual monster attack modes presents a horde of unusual gish and prestige builds that could be fascinating play experiences. Make sure your GM is ready to support and handle this class to make it an amazing game experience.
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! Join us tomorrow when we start “Rogue-ing in the New Year – Midnight Strikers!” to present some of our favoring striker alternates to rogue!