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DM Dan76
Here for a while
(1/15/03 6:28:03 pm)
Question for Andorax
Andorax, from reading your campaign log I've noticed that one of your PC's is a shifter. A player in my group mentioned to me last session that he liked the class and was considering going into it. Since you have one in your group I wanted to throw some questions your way.

First I noticed that the Shifter gains the ability to wildshape into a wide variety of creatures. Now with wildshape & Greater wildshape, the PC does not gain any of the extraordiany abilities of the creature. So if the PC turns into a troll he wouldn't get the rend and regeneration abilities right? I can see not getting the regeneration, but why not the rend? Is that not just a part of it's attack sequence?

Second, can a shifter transform into dire animals even if he could not do so as a druid? Druids don't gain that ability untill 12th level I belive, but if a shifter can transform into any animal at 1st level; then a Drd5/Sft1 could in theory turn into dire animals. Is that right?

How have you found dealing with a character with the shifter class? Is it too weak or overpowering? The character doesn't progress in caster levels as a shifter. Does this seem to hinder that character compared to the other PC's?

Thanks Andorax (or to anyone responding for that matter).

Still here? Wow.
(1/16/03 7:27:24 am)
Re: Question for Andorax
Ok, first...

Masters of the Wild, Page 11, right column, near the bottom.

"...She does not gain any supernatural or spell-like abilities (such as breath weapons or gaze attacks) of her new form, but does gain all the form's extraordinary abilities. All these..."

Thus, in Troll form, the Shifter does, indeed, gain both Rend and Regeneration. Personally, if Ex abilities weren't granted, I'd still allow Rend, as it's not really a "special" ability as much as a natural form and method of attack.

Second...yes, indeed, dire animals become available to them as of second level (Animal shape). Any animal becomes a legal choice for them to shift into.

Third, how have I found it? It's been a lot of fun, really. He's definately taken a liking to the Troll and Stirge forms (and we all got a laugh when he started binge/purge Stirge-sucking the Naga).

He's effective in combat, but not overshadowing either the Ogre or the Half-Orc Cleric. He's versitile, but within the limits of times/day. Finally, he has a modest spell selection, which comes in handy at odd times. It's a compromise class, but one that has many unusual and interesting capabilities, and greatly rewards creative use.

All's not for everyone, and if it's used in *just* the right ways it might prove to be a bit overpowering, but it has glaring weaknesses that make up the difference, and it remains fun all 'round.

One thing to remember about Regeneration, by the way. Regeneration converts all damage received into subdual damage, and then cures that subdual damage at a rate of 5 points per round (in the case of the Troll). Any damage prior to shifting to Troll form is still there (well, less the healing resulting from the shift itself). Thus, the Troll is a good survival class, but it's not a free "heal myself to full". You need a form with Fast Healing for that, and I can't think of one myself that's not a Construct or Outsider (8th and 9th level Shifter, respectively).

"Whadda ya mean, Orcs get levels too?!?"

Here for a while
(1/16/03 5:12:49 pm)
Re: Question for Andorax
Just adding my two cents here, as I have a Druid 8/Shifter 2 in my group.

There are a couple mitigating factors to the Shifter's abilities.

First, size limitations. A D5/S2 only has access to medium size forms. Dire animals would be available, but only those of medium size.

There is also the Hit-Die limitation. I don't have MotW with me (the Shifter has borrowed it), but I don't believe you can take a form whose average member has more hit die than you yourself do.

That said, there are some really nice things about being a Shifter, primarily retaining your equipment. His +2 leather, animated wooden shield, boots of striding and springing, etc. all still function. He does make a funny looking bear, though.

With GMF on both claws, gauntlets of ogre power in a large bear form, he can do some nice damage. Also has a pretty good AC. He also took the shifted spell feat, or whatever it is called so you can cast spells while shifted. Funniest thing in the Water Temple when one of the front line fighters was given a cure light from the tentacle of an octopus.

Still, he doesn't deal nearly as much damage as the BBn/Templar/Cleric heavily buffed greatsword wielder. Nor does he have a great selection of spells. He's been useful in some scouting capacities, as well as such specialized situations as chasing down and finishing off Vranthis after Vranthis fled through the water.

Not unbalanced yet for me, and I don't anticipate problems either. He's looking forward to shifting into a Girallon, which'll do a lot more damage with its 4 arm attacks and really high strength. But he has a bit of a problem with damage resistance, as his GMW is limited to +2.

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