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Power's Guide to the Pathfinder Shifter Class

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Welcome to my guide for the Shifter class. I know what you're thinking: "Isn't the Shifter just a Druid minus? Wait, that's the Hunter. Okay, isn't it just a Druid minus minus? Wait, that's the Ranger. Okay, so is the Shifter just a Druid minus minus minus?" And the answer is "kinda, sorta, more or less, pretty much, yeah." Still, the Shifter has a few advantages on the Druid. For one, he has full BAB instead of 3/4 BAB and a d10 hitdie instead of a d8. For another... uhhh... he gets beast shape II stats and options at level 4 instead of level 6. And he gets Planar Wild Shape two levels early thanks to the new errata. Anyway, pay no attention to the fact that the Druid gets a ton of better shapeshifting options than the Shifter whose sole class feature is basically shifting or the fact that the Druid's large amount of self-buffs with his 9th level casting improve his wildshaped combat in ways the Shifter cannot or that he gets a free animal companion buddy which you don't. The point is that even a severely neutered Druid whose sole class feature is an extra super neutered Wild Shape is still a powerful martial class, played right.

The basic idea: There are really just two ways to play a Shifter. One, you pounce from level 4 onwards, and collect Two-Weapon Fighting feats to do a massive amount of damage. By the way, surprise rounds are really fun when you can pounce, as the ability to charge as a standard action when you're staggered does great stuff. Two, you are going Ape Shifter with a reach build.

Your stat needs don't really vary whichever of these two routes you pick. Basically Str, Dex, and Con are your most important stats. I'd say dump all your mentals to -7 (seriously, you need combat stats), but the new errata makes it slightly more unpleasant to dump wis unless you're starting on high levels, since it will reduce your duration and cost you more levels to perma-mode your wild shape. Anyway, for Wis there are 3 options on your wisdom. Option 1: 14 wisdom (enough for +1 to AC and +2 hours, on top of +2 will). Option 2: 10 wisdom (hey at least you avoided losing hours of wild shape or taking penalties to your will and perception). Option 3: 7 wisdom (or lower). The thing is that you should consider adjusting your point buy for lower or higher wis depending on whether you are playing a race with a wis bonus. You don't want to end up with 12 wis or 16 wis since the benefits are too marginal, and if you have 18 wis, you're probably squandering the combat stats you need.

You might have noticed I only count 1 AC for 4 wis. That's because fighting naked is for idiots. Always wear armor. You want that AC. Get a set of barding/armor for unusual creatures (animal-shaped armor, you have all the armor options humans do, but you pay extra) to put on when you're wild-shaped. Wild shape out of combat and have your party members equip it on you.

So, a Shifter's stat array:
10 point buy: 16 str - 14 dex - 12 con - 7 int - 10 wis - 7 cha
15 point buy: 16 str - 16 dex - 13 con - 7 int - 10 wis - 7 cha
20 point buy: 16 str - 16 dex - 13 con - 7 int - 14 wis - 7 cha
20 point buy: 16 str - 16 dex - 14 con - 7 int - 13 wis - 7 cha (pick a str race, but Oread or Hungerseed Tiefling are best with +2 str and +2 wis)
20 point buy: 18 str - 16 dex - 10 con - 7 int - 10 wis - 7 cha
20 point buy: 18 str - 16 dex - 12 con - 7 int - 8 wis - 7 cha (only do this if you're going Oread or Hungerseed Tiefling)
20 point buy: 18 str - 14 dex - 13 con - 7 int - 13 wis - 7 cha (if you're picking a race with +2 wis and +2 dex)
25 point buy: 16 str - 16 dex - 14 con - 9 int - 14 wis - 7 cha
25 point buy: 18 str - 16 dex - 12 con - 8 int - 12 wis - 7 cha (better with Oread or Hungerseed Tiefling)
25 point buy: 18 str - 16 dex - 14 con - 7 int - 11 wis - 7 cha (pays off well with Aasimar going middle aged with lesser age resistance SLA, but take your racial pick)
25 point buy: 18 str - 16 dex - 11 con - 7 int - 14 wis - 7 cha

Expect to put all your favored class bonuses into bonus health. The alternate favored class bonuses are all terrible. However, you should probably shift around stats a bit depending on your racial modifiers. Post-racial, you generally want at least 18 str and 16 dex (and don't forget what I said about wisdom - post-racial, your wis should be 6-7, 10, or 14 only - you can go below 6 if you start at a high enough level or you use Adaptive Shifter and thus don't lose hours/day duration). 20 strength tends to be preferred, however, because a Shifter will want as much attack and damage as it can get in order to make its many hits land well.

Use a point buy calculator if you need to figure it out, but generally you want maximal strength, high dex, enough con to not die, and 10 or 14 wisdom.

You could dump str if you're planning on going Weapon Finesse with Shifter's Edge and use Piranha Strike, but Weapon Finesse will cost you an extra feat on an already feat-starved martial and Shifter's Edge now requires you to use str for damage (no agile AoMF) and the pounce builds will be spending their feats on TWF, Power Attack, and Planar Wild Shape. This means you will be picking up Shifter's Edge rather late, which is when it will give you more damage to be worth the investment anyhow.

A Shifter's Favorite Races
Core Races

Human: Your shifter is a martial with as many feats as a bard, druid, or cleric (fewer, depending on the archetype/domain options used). A bonus feat goes a long way and with 7 int the extra skill ranks are not bad either. You can also trade the Bonus Feat for Adoptive Parentage (get another race's weapon familiarity trait) or Military Tradition (get two martial or exotic weapon proficiencies, but GM may require you to fluff it to your local culture - I guess you can make up a shifter clan for your character), and you could swap Skilled for Heart of the Fey (+1 racial bonus to reflex and will saves). It's always a good pick, especially if you're feeling feat-starved. There are ways to use Traits for weapon proficiencies (more on that later), but even then Human will be a solid pick simply for the extra feat on the rather feat-starved Shifter. If you're in a strange mood you can even go for Dual-Talented Human for a rare +2 Str, +2 Dex, but typically the feats are of higher value than that.

Half-Elf: Similar to human but with worse feat options. You can also trade the Skill Focus for Dual-Minded (+2 Will saves) or a weapon proficiency (like armor spikes or a reach weapon of your choice). Multitalented perk is thoroughly useless and as such I recommend swapping it out for Fey Thoughts and picking up Sense Motive and something else as class skills or taking Blended View for darkvision. Failing that swap it for Jungle Affinity.

Half-Orc: Not the best pick. Mostly this is getting +2 str and using Sacred Tattoo for +1 luck to all saving throws, which becomes +2 with Fate's Favored trait (incidentally, at high levels you could just buy a Luckstone for 20k gp or Four-leaf Clover for 3.75k gp at reduced daily uses instead of going Half-Orc for this kind of benefit). Your weapon proficiencies are mostly useful for Weretouched Shifters, but if you have pounce you'd ironically be better off as a Half-Elf taking a Butchering Axe exotic weapon proficiency instead. I guess it opens up the Orc Skull Ram to Heirloom Weapon for a reach weapon if you want. If you go City-raised you do get proficiency with whips for monkey builds, but then you're either looking at investing another feat into Scorpion Whip exotic weapon proficiency, taking Arms Master + Quick Learner traits to swing a Scorpion Whip without a nonproficiency penalty, or getting Whip Mastery and Improved Whip Mastery (in which case the Two-Weapon Fighting feat line is probably not happening, but at least you can equip a shield this way and get AoOs). I'd also recommend switching Intimidating for Unflinching Valor, Rock Climber, or Shaman's Apprentice.

Dwarf: A decent race, but mostly a pick if you feel a burning need to have high saving throws, so the big question is whether you lose your racial +2 bonus to all saves vs spells and poisons while shapeshifted. If you do lose it, skip playing dwarf unless you are playing Weretouched archetype Shifter. If not, then it's a serviceable pick, although you will not be getting 20 str this way, but you do get much better saving throws and a useful reach weapon through Heirloom Weapon. The +2 racial bonus to all saves vs spells and poisons is great, especially when you add the Glory of Old trait (+1 trait bonus to all saves vs spells and poisons), and Steel Soul feat (another +2 racial bonus to all saves vs spells and poisons). You can also use Heirloom Weapon to gain proficiency in a Dwarven Longhammer/Longaxe for monkey reach builds, although having a large size longhamer/longaxe as your heirloom weapon will be interesting to explain (family of shifters and/or wizards who are fond of enlarge person, I guess?). Swapping languages for Xenophobic for another +1 vs mind-affecting saves is also recommended, but you'll be stuck speaking Dwarven only until you have reached level 2 and invested 2 skill ranks of linguistics. Better have a party member pick up Dwarven as a bonus language from his int bonus at level 1 or invest a rank into linguistics so he can play translator. Replacing Defensive Training and Hatred for Slag Child is not a bad call either.

Non-Core Races

Aasimar: Your options are to go Archon-Blooded (+2 Con, +2 Wis / Intimidate, Sense Motive / continual flame) or Garuda-Blooded (+2 Dex, +2 Wis / Acrobatics, Fly / see invisibility). The +2 Dex from Garuda-Blooded has some use for Combat Reflexes build (bear in mind pouncing Shifter with Tiger shape still has a 10 foot reach for a spare Combat Reflexes feat). If your GM would rule you lose your Celestial Resistance trait when Wild Shaped, definitely replace it with Deathless Spirit. If not, Deathless Spirit is still not a bad pick given Planar Wild Shape (esp. if you're going to pick up the celestial template instead of fiendish). You should probably also replace Darkvision with Halo which you can use while wild-shaped and if Archon-Blooded, replace your spell-like ability with Incorruptible (1/day Corruption Resistance SLA with 1 hour/lvl duration if you target yourself), which can do a decent job of covering the hole in Planar Wild Shape's DR bonus or Lesser Age Resistance from Immortal Spark, in which case you want to be middle-aged. Continual Flame is redundant when you have Halo. Also grants the Student of Sulunai feat for 1/day Divine Favor, which is not as good as Deific Obedience (Chaldira) and just collecting exalted boons. But if for some reason you really want a 1/day Divine Favor, it's there.

Adaro: Courtesy of Blood of the Sea, this is a genuine player race. The +2 str, +2 dex, +2 con, -2 int distribution is pretty nice on the whole, but the 2 natural armor is pretty irrelevant once you wild shape. It's mostly a mild AC and health boost, really, along with +1 reflex, +1 initiative, +1 CMD, and +1 fort. Since you only need 16 dex, if you drop dex by 2 and lean on your racial bonus to get you up to 16, it should open up an extra 5 point buy points to spend on something else you may want, such as a higher constitution or starting with 12-2 int instead of 7-2 (or a bit of both int and con). Rain frenzy and poison use are the only racials that will matter once you can wild shape, but we're not counting on those. Going down -2 int will hurt your skill progression though (down to 1 rank/lvl), but you can afford to drop your dexterity point buy from 16 to 14 and use the savings to shore up int and constitution if you prefer. Considering how atrocious your land speed is before level 4 though, you will want to buy a Sling so you can hit enemies 50 ft away, as that is pretty much the best ranged weapon you are proficient in. Given your high dex and str, making ranged attacks that pack a punch shouldn't be too much of a problem, as long as you aren't firing into melee and/or soft cover anyway. If anything gets close to you you always have your bite attack. Just expect to have to run to keep up with other people walking normally. Considering how Adaro tend to be big on eating people, expect people to have a bad opinion of your character, but you can avoid that later on by staying in animal form for most of the day.

Kasatha: This is really only a serious pick for Weretouched Shifters. Congratulations, you can use Multiweapon Fighting instead of Two-Weapon Fighting (which also means you only need 14 dex to get started on the TWF chain, 12 on the stat array since you get a racial +2 Dex and +2 Wis) and can unload a huge amount of attacks or TWF with two-handed weapons. You also get a +2 dodge bonus to AC and can use Acrobatics to always jump as if you had a running start (which is more useful than it seems - you can ignore a lot of difficult terrain and environmental hazards by just jumping over them). Other than that you can move through nonmagical difficult terrain at normal speed and basically get a better version of the Endurance feat for free.

Oread: Mostly the stats are great (+2 Str, +2 Wis, -2 Cha). You should swap Earth Affinity for either Crystalline Skin or Stone in the Blood and swap languages for the Isolated perk (and immediately invest 1 rank of linguistics to get Common again) since Perception is very good. The spell-like ability (Magic Stone) is pretty worthless, especially on a Shifter, so I'd say switch it for either Treacherous Earth (Very useful, but remember that the difficult terrain also affects you, unless you have the Acrobatics score to just jump over it anyway) or Ferrous Growth (which can be rather handy, if you are clever about all the ways to use it). If you're just interested in the stat array you might want to contemplate Tiefling instead.

Orc: Really, there's only one major reason to pick this: You get +4 strength. The penalty to all mental stats will cost you, but it can be done, especially if you resign yourself to just having 10 wis (and point buy for 12 wis). If the GM rules that you keep ferocity while polymorphed, that is good too. The other reason is the Favored Class Bonus giving you an underwhelming +1 damage to Shifter Claws (which affects all natural attacks in wild shape) every 5 levels (which is still better than virtually any other racial FCB), and maybe racial greataxe proficiency to help you become a Sentinel of Haagenti later. If you aren't planning on going for Sentinel of Haagenti (or intend on taking the Fighter dip on the way anyway, although I'd sooner recommend swapping the Fighter dip for an Ulfen Guard dip tbh), you can trade your racial weapon proficiency for Feral and get an extra +1 attack and damage at negative hitpoints. Light sensitivity is pretty irrelevant since you'll be doing combat in wild shape. There is a weird Deathless Initiate build you can try to combine with the Orc's Feral alternate racial trait, but I do not recommend it because 1 point of nonlethal damage knocks you unconscious when at negative health (worship Zon-Kuthon and take Flagellant, I guess) and you'll need to invest in ways to raise your negative health pool so you aren't ridiculously close to dying at higher levels, plus it costs you a number of feats. If you multiclass Fighter (which addresses the feats issue) and take Fighter as your favored class instead of Shifter, you can use the Orc favored class bonus to raise your negative hp threshold by +2 for each fighter level.

Rougarou: Really, you're just here for +2 Str, +2 Wis, -2 Int. There are no favored class bonuses and none of the other perks tend to matter once you're in Wild Shape. Scent is an unusual perk, but Shifters, including Weretouched Shifters, get it very easily anyway. It's another alternative to Oread or Hungerseed Tiefling but I don't recommend it over those two because the -2 Int does hurt, you don't really get other perks beyond the stat line when wild shaping, and having a wolf head as a member of an exotic race is going to ruin your ability to blend in and possibly amount to a social hindrance whenever you are not in Wild Shape (unless you wear a face-covering helmet constantly I suppose, so Hellknights will be unaffected). Both of those races have alternate traits that let you pass as a human.

Tiefling: Mostly if you want Hungerseed (+2 Str, +2 Wis, -2 Cha / Disguise, Intimidate / alter self). The main perks here are that it has good benefits for your stat array. However, Alter Self doesn't appeal to shifters though (especially with PF's nerf to 1 min/lvl instead of 10min/lvl, making it trash for social situations) and those social skills are trash when you have an amazing 5 charisma. As such, I would recommend switching the spell-like ability for Darklands Guide (+2 initiative and +2 all saves vs traps and hazards) or Light From The Darkness (you get the Aasimar's Incorruptible trait, see above), but you could go for Soul Seer (only contemplate this if your GM is inclined to sneak undead/constructs/mimics on your party) or roll the die on Variant Tiefling Abilities and hope you get something useful (but I wouldn't recommend this - Darklands Guide is easily better). As for the skills, I would just take Bullying which might come in useful. If you ever need to disguise yourself, either get buffs from a spellcaster or just turn into an animal and pretend to be someone's animal companion or something. It is also possible to switch Hungerseed for Motherless (+2 Str, +2 Wis, -2 Int / Escape Artist, Survival / blur) but getting only 1 skill rank per level will hurt, although Blur is a useful spell-like ability and you have better modifiers for the new skill proficiencies (but fewer ranks). Also, you should switch Fiendish Sorcery for Prehensile Tail, unless you went Soul Seer or decided to take Pass For Human so your character can blend in more easily. The prehensile tail isn't that great since you don't get to keep that tail in wild shape (unless you are playing a Weretouched Shifter), but it's still more useful than Fiendish Sorcery is on a non-Sorcerer.

Other Races
If you are doing a str-based build, you don't want them. There is a Dhampir variant that gets +2 str, +2 wis, -2 con if you really want it, and I'm also skipping Deep One Hybrid because I reckon any GM will say "no" to a race that powerful if you can give yourself Final Change, and its Sea Longing is also a problem. If you want +2 dex +2 wis there are many more viable races, but I've been glossing over that path because Weapon Finesse is somewhat unrewarding when you're feat starved and there are no dexterity-boosting pouncing forms (You could do Deinonychus, and waste the str bonus, I guess), plus you have to get an agile Amulet of Mighty Fists. If you are playing a Weretouched Shifter, dexterity-based builds are an option, and in that case you are probably multiclassing Fighter after something like 4 levels of Shifter for the pounce.

Question: What about Skinwalker? It's so thematically fitting!
Awful idea. You can only have 1 polymorph effect at a time. The Change Shape racial cannot be used while Wild Shaped. Losing your change shape perks makes the race trash. I'd love to recommend it if I could, but I just can't recommend shooting yourself so heavily in the foot. The whole point of this guide is to help you avoid messing up your character, after all.

First, do not forget that Wild Shape states: "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." Let's detail those size dependent abilities:

* Tiny animal: If the form you take is that of a Tiny animal, you gain a +4 size bonus to your Dexterity, a –2 penalty to your Strength, and a +1 natural armor bonus.
* Small animal: If the form you take is that of a Small animal, you gain a +2 size bonus to your Dexterity and a +1 natural armor bonus.
* Medium animal: If the form you take is that of a Medium animal, you gain a +2 size bonus to your Strength and a +2 natural armor bonus.
* Large animal: If the form you take is that of a Large animal, you gain a +4 size bonus to your Strength, a –2 penalty to your Dexterity, and a +4 natural armor bonus.That's still pretty useful for a martial.

For wild shape options, the following options are worth considering as your main form: Deinonychus, Tiger, and Monkey.

Deinonychus and Tiger are the same concept: You get pounce. Deinonychus is the faster, medium-sized option which gets 2 extra foreclaw attacks at level 8. Tiger is the larger option, which gives you bigger attacks, more strength and natural armor, and a larger reach. The Tiger's +4 stealth bonus at 8 is still outweighed by the -4 size penalty to stealth and the -2 dex from wildshaping, for a -5 stealth penalty total, making you -1 worse at stealth than you would be as a regular medium creature.

Monkey is a lot like using Lycanthropic Wild Shape, except you get large size and you don't get pounce. You can also mix in a Snake minor aspect with the Monkey shape for the AoO bonuses. Even though you don't have pounce, with a reach weapon, you can attack enemies 20 feet away (25 with a five foot step, 30 if you also add Lunge, even more if you're swinging a whip, using a Mantis minor aspect with 12 levels of Shifter, and/or using a Lashing Shadowcraft Weapon), so it is possible to go full melee (2H or dualwield whips advised), but you could also go ranged. If you are going ranged, then the bow is a good pick from level 8 onwards (the prehensile tail lets you hold a reach weapon while firing a bow, then when you're not shooting anymore, grab the reach weapon with one hand, pass the bow to the tail, and wield the reach weapon in both hands, giving you the 20foot AoO radius - remember, switching hands is a free action). If you're using the Military Tradition human trait (or Arms Master + Quick Learner), just get an Orc Hornbow for your bow and a Dwarven Longhammer (or a Gnome Ripsaw Glaive) for your reach weapon.

For weretouched shapes, you either want Tiger (pounce + stealth bonus) or Deinonychus (high speed, pounce, and talon natural attacks from your feet), or something with flight speed (falcon for perception bonuses, owl for stealth bonuses) as you play archer. Since your size does not change with lycanthropic wild shape, I would strongly recommend the deinonychus form for pouncing since you get extra talon attacks from your feet.

For minor aspects, the only options worth considering are Snake (AoO build), Mouse (evasion), Mantis (reach), and Giant Wasp (mind-affecting saving throws). They're all good. The Mouse's evasion isn't very necessary and can be inferior to a Ring of Evasion (which is more likely to do something when you're caught off-guard by traps, ambushes, etc.), but it's offset by the mouse form itself being rather useful for scouting (low-light vision, scent), sneaking (Tiny shape with +4 dex = +8 size + 2 dex-based bonus = +10 stealth - although by rights it really ought to be diminutive size like bats are and using Beast Shape III instead, not the same size as a cat, so again the Druid has it better as he gets access to diminutive forms), mobility (swim and climb speeds), and letting an ally discreetly transport you places, so there's that. The stat enhancement options don't stack with other enhancement bonus sources (like the belt everyone grabs) and they burn up precious minutes of shifter aspect, so I'd sooner just say "grab a belt of physical perfection" than burn shifter aspects on them, but you can do that if you want. Just remember that temporary bonuses to constitution are awful since you don't get temporary HP from it. When the constitution bonus vanishes, you lose the health it provided in the first place, and if that knocks you negative, then you're negative. This is the same problem Barbarians face with their Rage ability. And temporary bonuses to dex probably won't be active when it's time for your initiative check. Skill bonuses similarly suffer the curse of limited durations.

Arms and Armor
As I said above, don't go into battle naked. Just because your equipment melds into your form when you wild shape, doesn't mean you can't equip yourself after you enter wild shape. This is very important because armor fitted for animals (it's just a cost multiplier to your normal armor options, see here.) is a crucial source of AC, and armor spikes are a crucial source of manufactured weapon attacks while in animal form. Note that while you are prohibited from equipping metal armor, armor spikes are mechanically treated as weapons and shifters can equip metal weapon (see: scimitar proficiency). If your GM dubiously insists metal armor spikes should be treated as metal armor, you can either equip Rosewood armor (you might want a Magical Talent magic trait for the Create Water orison so you cannot run out of water) or just have your armor spikes crafted out of special materials, like obsidian (masterwork it and the fragile quality disappears) or liquid glass (+800gp, but you get +1 damage). Wearing armor just means you only get half your wis modifier to AC, which is just 1 point of AC if you started with 14 wis. You still get the +1 AC bonus per 4 character levels when you wear armor. Your best armor options are Darkleaf Cloth studded leather armor (if your wild-shaped dex rises above 20) or lamellar leather armor (if your wild-shaped dex won't rise above 20). If you want to wear medium armors (and eat the movement penalty), Darkleaf Cloth Do-maru is probably your best pick (PF text only says Do-maru is made of lamellar, but lamellar armors made of leather do exist, even in PF, and historically leather Do-maru is indeed a thing). You can wear metallic armors if they're made out of ironwood strengthened materials, dragonhide, or if you want breastplate, made of bone (bone's penalties vanish as long as it's a magic breastplate made of bone). Other ways to raise your armor include Ring of Protection, a Dusty Rose Prism Ioun Stone (socketed in a Wayfinder), and a +1 Wild heavy wooden shield (but this is rather expensive, so only do it if there is a spellcaster to cast Magic Vestment on your shield).

Sadly you are not proficient in the grand art of armor spikes, so either burn a feat, use Heirloom Weapon (armor spike), use a racial choose-your-own-weapon-proficiency or double up on Quick Learner and (Adopted->)Arms Master traits so you can wield them effectively. The other question is whether you can two-weapon fight with just armor spikes. Your GM might say "sure" (same as how a monk fights with Flurry of Blows or how you can enchant unarmed strikes as a single weapon), "as long as you pay for two armor spikes" (goodbye Heirloom Weapon trait), or "no" (in which case you will need a Dwarven Boulder Helmet or Weretouched archetype). Generally the mechanical interpretation trends very strongly to the last option, since people will not let you consider armor spikes by itself as two weapons and armor is considered either spiked or not spiked. In the event of using a Dwarven Boulder Helmet, your choices are generally either Human with Military Tradition or Arms Master + Quick Learner trait combo to be proficient in both Armor Spikes and Dwarven Boulder Helmets. Since the boulder helmet uses the same limb as your bite attack, you cannot use both in the same full attack, though. Armor spikes are different because they don't need to be located on limbs. They can be on shoulders, chest, wherever. Armor spikes aren't spiked gauntlets (which is a separate item to buy). Your GM might (reasonably) rule that the boulder helmet counts as wearing metal armor, in which case you could opt for one made out of stone or bone instead (which makes it a fragile weapon, until you enchant it with a +1 property). Remember that Dwarven Boulder Helmets are not an upgrade until you have greater two-weapon fighting because you give up a bite attack for TWF. Given how Shifter's Fury has been errata'd in, you can now TWF just fine with your bite attack collecting iteratives as your main hand and your armor spikes functioning as the off-hand. Shifter's Fury explicitly states that it is a Full Attack action using your selected natural attack as if it were a manufactured weapon, so adding an off-hand works just fine.

If you are doing a melee monkey build, a Lashing Shadowcraft Weapon can be useful to give you even more reach.

If you use Heirloom Weapon, remember that you can pay for a Masterwork Transmutation spell to turn an Heirloom Weapon into a masterwork weapon and then you can have it enchanted into a magic weapon.

Magic Items
This is a pretty basic run-down. I mention the regular kit and a few other items that seem to be of particular interest to shifters.

The standard kit:

* Belt of Physical Perfection: You use all your physical stats, so invest accordingly.
* Weapon/Amulet of Mighty Fists Obvious for a natural attack build. If you do not need Amulet of Mighty Fists, either get Amulet of Natural Armor or get a Hand of Glory for another ring slot.
* Ring of Protection AC is good.
* Barding armor An absolute must. Get that Do-maru medium armor made of Darkleaf Cloth and upgrade it into a magic armor. Again, historically, leather do-maru is a thing.
* Headband of Inspired Wisdom (+4) You're under no rush to get this, but at higher levels this is +1 AC, +2 Will, +2 Perception & Sense Motive, and +2 hours/uses of Wild Shape.
* +1 wild Heavy Shield Only do this if you are high level enough to have this kind of money to burn or have someone to boost it with Magic Vestment in order to make it worth the investment.
* Cloak of Resistance You know the drill. Saves are important.
Other items worth mentioning:

* Bestial Rags Only get this if you are exiting Shifter at level 6 or are going 9 levels of Shifter and want that extra minor aspect without wasting another level on it.
* Rhino Hide Armor Only get this for pounce builds, but +2d6 damage on each charge attack is amazing.
* Ring of Eloquence Not strictly necessary, but good to have.
* Ring of the Sea Strider/Ring of Freedom of Movement Mostly a thing for pouncing shifters, who really don't want to have their mobility crippled. If you can expect to get buffed with Freedom of Movement or its lesser cousin, Free Swim (for underwater only), you probably don't need these. Freedom of Movement is good to have though, since it should pretty much render you immune to all movement-impairing effects, including difficult terrain, but expect table variation there, since this spell is one of those hold-overs from the AD&D days where spells generally featured broad language and applicability while 3.5 and Pathfinder have otherwise increasingly shifted towards more explicitly detailed mechanics and permitting little else (which has sometimes led to its own problems because paizo... doesn't exactly keep their rules as consistent, well-developed, or carefully considered as they seem to think they do, let alone their all-too-frequent issues of ambiguous or careless miswording). At least it's plain as day that with Feather Step being a thing, a 4th level spell making you immune to difficult terrain is not somehow "too good."
* Scarab Breastplate This is honestly a strange direction, but you can use it to unlock Vermin Shape I and Vermin Shape II as a Shifter of 8 levels. Here's a polymorphing guide detailing useful shapes. If you're not going to fight in Vermin Shape, you can still use this for mobility or use it with the rules on harvesting poisons to give yourself a bunch of poison doses with fun effects (like stun). However, this will probably require a UMD check, which is not fun for Shifters.
* Pale Green Prism Ioun Stone Only get this if you don't have a Bard that does Inspire Courage. Don't bother with the flawed version if you can get a Heroism buff either. And make sure to socket it in a Wayfinder.
* Dusty Rose Prism Ioun Stone +1 insight to AC. It's good, once you have money to spare. Also, put it in a Wayfinder.
* Luckstone Especially if you have Fate's Favored faith trait (and are likely planning on getting a Divine Favor SLA). Alternatively you can get a Four-Leaf Clover which gives a +2 bonus to those checks (+3 with Fate's Favored) for much cheaper, but only granting 3 uses a day. 5 clovers cost less than 1 luckstone so if 15 uses/day are enough for you, clovers are a better investment.

* Potion of Feather Step When you need it, you'll be glad you have it. Although, you'll need someone to apply an Oil of Feather Step to you if you don't have the right limbs to drink it yourself, but it seems like you could use a Polymorphic Pouch or its mundane cousin, a regular pouch you tie in the right spot, in order to draw and drink a potion with your mouth. Alternatively a Wand of Feather Step is very economical (750 gp for 50 uses, as opposed to 2500), but you'll either need a Druid, Ranger, Psychic, or Bard in the party or someone with a good enough UMD skill to reliably make the DC20 check.
* Zerk (preferably with Amp) Not something you'll want to use until you have a reliable way of curing ability damage and removing drawbacks, but you generally want to voluntarily fail the saving throw vs addiction and take it until you roll a 4 and get a +6 alchemical bonus to strength. Use Remove Disease or a Periapt of Health to cure the addiction later.
* Pheromone Arrow If you have an archer or any other martial in the party, you can get a +2 bonus to attack and damage vs any target. 15gp is dirt cheap and if your martial has scent himself (some races can get scent, like Catfolk, Orcs, and Ratfolk) it's even better. Yes, this item is stupidly good. Remember that according to the Alchemy Manual "characters can infuse other ammunition and thrown weapons that deal piercing damage (such as crossbow bolts, darts, and shuriken) with alchemical effects." Ergo, any alchemical arrows can also exist in other piercing projectile forms. My pricing inclination is that you subtract the cost of a plain arrow (5 copper) from your alchemical arrow and then add that cost to the cost of whatever projectile you want to add the desired alchemical properties onto. So, you can just have your martial throw a pheromone dart or whatever projectile at the enemy as a part of his attacks.
The Build
It's pretty simple, really.

If you are making a TWF pounce shifter, you want:
Power Attack
Demonic Style
Planar Wild Shape
Two-Weapon Fighting
Improved Two-Weapon Fighting
Greater Two-Weapon Fighting

If you are making an archer, you want:
Point-Blank Shot
Precise Shot
Deadly Aim
Rapid Shot
Planar Wild Shape

Later on you will probably want to consider a Deific Obedience (Chaldira) (or Celestial Obedience (Falayna)) so you can get a big Divine Favor to buff yourself with, which works better if you have a Fate's Favored faith trait and a Quicken Spell-Like Ability feat (Huzzah, 3 swift action Divine Favors). If you get Diverse Obedience for the 2nd Sentinel Boon with Chaldira, it will even boost what you get from a Luckstone, Four-Leaf Clover, or Half-Orc's Sacred Tattoo (of course, the standard Exalted boon is enough to boost your Divine Favor and saves you a precious feat or any alignment prerequisites). Another, distinctly more expensive way to get Divine Favor as a 3/day SLA is with a Silver Spindle Ioun Stone, which will cost you 24k gp and requires you to have 11 cha somehow (unlikely). You can also get 1/day Divine Favor through Minor Miracle (Nobility domain), Pantheistic Blessing, and Student of Sulunai (Aasimar only), which is distinctly less appealing, but if you need a daily power to crush a difficult encounter (or intend to run through multiple encounters before its minutes/level duration expires) it's an option I suppose. You can also take Celestial Obedience (Immonhiel) for a 2/day barkskin SLA that scales off of character level, seeing as non-Clerics can be polytheistic in PF, but run this by your GM to be safe. Immonhiel's obedience ritual is also a bit annoying, so how you're going to do that is another thing you might want to run by your GM.

Note that if you have a Cleric or Inquisitor (or even Divine Commander Warpriest or Mount bond Paladin) with Bonded Mind and Share Spells feats, it can just cast Shared Training to bestow Bonded Mind to the rest of the party and cast spells like Divine Favor on you. Strictly speaking if you have any spellcaster that can cast Divine Favor, it is even possible for a Wizard with a familiar to use Shared Training give everyone Bonded Mind and Share Spells, letting others give people Divine Favor.

Those are your must-haves, really. If you are Large size, consider fitting in a Combat Reflexes feat for the AoOs, especially if you're a monkey.

In addition, a Rhino Charge feat (requires Power Attack and Improved Bull Rush) will effectively let you charge as a standard action by readying an action to go off immediately, letting you use your move action to position yourself for better charge attacks. Bear in mind that a decent Acrobatics modifier can also be used to simply jump over a lot of difficult terrain (or even move through an enemy's space at full speed, but you still can't charge doing that and DC is CMD+5+10 this way, so unless you have stunts to get really extreme Acrobatics modifiers, don't even bother trying this). Weapon Shift is good for giving your natural attacks properties like Reach, Blocking, or a combat maneuver property, but if you have extra feats, Improved Weapon Shift will allow you to get 5 weapon properties before your amulet of Mighty Fists grants more properties, which has interesting potential for the ability to mix and match weapon properties with multiple AoMFs or magic weapons. However, the real prize is plain Weapon Shift, because it means you meld your weapons into your polymorphed form and according to the polymorph rules, when it comes to melded items, "items that provide constant bonuses and do not need to be activated continue to function while melded in this way (with the exception of armor and shield bonuses, which cease to function)." Obviously you do not get the weapon bonus either, not unless you have the follow-up feats, but what you can do is equip 2x Ten-Ring Swords and obtain two extra ring slots, which is very nice. Beyond that, Mutated Shape is another interesting feat which you could use to obtain a free ape arm for the slam attack and then use it as a hand, but despite looking like a Shifter feat the wis prerequisite means it's really a Druid feat, so you're not getting this feat until lategame where you can afford a +6 wisdom headband (or sooner with a +4 headband if you started with 15 or 16 wis). If you want all these extra feats though, odds are you are multiclassing into Fighter or similar, or you cannot afford TWF (in which case you can also cut down on Multiattack).

Another feat to contemplate later on would be Dazing Assault. At BAB 11 you will already have a DC21 fort save. It works better if you combine this with a Cornugon Smash + Intimidating Prowess and Cruel weapon property so you can give enemies a -4 to saves. Probably you can also just upgrade the DC with an Ability Focus (Dazing Assault) feat.

Incidentally, if you are Gnome race for some reason (perhaps playing a Svirfneblin or just using Racial Heritage), you can take the Invoke Primal Instinct feat to frighten enemies in an AoE provided that you have a good bluff check (Unpredictable social trait and Cunning Liar region trait help).

If you are going melee monkey, get a Lunge feat (unless you are using Mantis as a minor aspect, which is a good call), Power Attack, and Planar Wild Shape really. Just get a good large 2H reach weapon, and don't forget Combat Reflexes for AoOs. You already threaten 5-10 feet with your natural attacks. If it is a dualwield whip monkey, then it's largely the same as a TWF pounce shifter (Power Attack, Planar Wildshape, Two-Weapon Fighting feats) except you need to go Human to invest Military Tradition into both Whip and Scorpion Whip exotic proficiencies so you can swing scorpion whips as whips for lethal damage (otherwise whips are trash without the Deadly magic property). Improved Whip Mastery is not really in the works (too many feats) so if you want the AoO, I'd recommend using an Heirloom Weapon trait for a large reach weapon. At level 8 as a monkey, you can use your prehensile tail to hold your two whips while you switch to your reach weapon for AoOs when it's not your turn and switch back for TWF attacks when it is. Switching hands is a free action, just holding two whips in one hand (without wielding them) is perfectly normal, and at level 8 "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," so this all works fine.

About Planar Wild Shape:
I strongly recommend taking Planar Wild Shape asap (at level 5). It's an excellent feat to boost your shifter as it gives you a strong suite of resistances, some powerful damage reduction, and a single smite (ignore the charisma, you get bonus damage equal to your level to all attacks for boss-killing). Assuming you are playing a good-aligned campaign, it might be in your best interests to take the Fiendish template (since your odds of facing enemies with the good subtype are much much lower than your odds of facing enemies with the evil subtype), which requires a neutral alignment. In fact, being neutral is advised since you can pick whether to go celestial or fiendish every time, so you can, for instance, spend combat in fiendish template for the resists until you want to go after a boss with a big smite evil (or smite good, if that's what's called for). There is a downside to Planar Wild Shape though, and that's that allied spellcasters will have to overcome your SR to buff you, unless you spend a standard action suppressing SR (spell resistance does not apply to spells you cast on yourself though, so your spell-like abilities still work fine). And having a celestial or fiendish template does not give you the good or evil subtype, so you still cannot overcome alignment-based DR with it. Also, just to be clear, Planar Wild Shape only requires you to expend 1 extra use to turn into planar wild shape ("When you use wild shape to take the form of an animal, you can expend an additional daily use of your wild shape class feature to add the celestial template or fiendish template to your animal form."), and the Shifter says that hours of duration are counted as daily uses for feats, so if you use Planar Wild Shape, you spend 1 extra hour to enter planar wild shape (your extra use), but when it comes to staying in wild shape, you just use 1 hour of duration as normal. So it's generally in your interests to just stay in planar wild shape instead of paying double cost from exiting and re-entering planar wild shape.

How do I speak if I'm stuck in wild shape all the time?
First off, DO NOT GET THE WILD SPEECH FEAT. It is a waste of a feat and you are starved for feats as is. Just buy a Ring of Eloquence (3.5k gp) instead and problem solved. The item explicitly states that it allows you to continue speaking while wildshaped and it gives you a neat +2 competence to Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, and Perform (oratory) in addition to its language proficiencies. Other than that, you can still communicate simply by scratching messages into the ground or basic nonverbal communication.

For clarity's sake, here are the celestial and fiendish templates:

Senses gains darkvision 60 ft.
Defensive Abilities gains DR and energy resistance as noted on the table
SR gains SR equal to new CR +5
Special Attacks smite evil 1/day as a swift action (adds Cha bonus to attack rolls and damage bonus equal to HD against evil foes; smite persists until target is dead or the celestial creature rests).

Celestial Creature Defenses
Hit DiceResist Cold, Acid, and ElectricityDR1–45—5–10105/evil11+1510/evil
Senses gains darkvision 60 ft.
Defensive Abilities gains DR and energy resistance as noted on the table
SR gains SR equal to new CR +5
Special Attacks smite good 1/day as a swift action (adds Cha bonus to attack rolls and damage bonus equal to HD against good foes; smite persists until target is dead or the fiendish creature rests).

Fiendish Creature Defenses
Hit DiceResist Cold and FireDR1–45—5–10105/good11+1510/good
Planar Wild Shape is less valuable if you are a Weretouched Shifter and thus have DR/silver, although the DR still overlaps (So your enemy needs to overcome both DRs to hurt you) and the celestial/fiendish DR is bigger than your silver DR from class levels.[/list]

Multiclassing and Prestige Classing
You might have noticed that the Shifter class doesn't really give you much after 8 or 9 levels (9 only if you have 2 good minor aspects - otherwise you're looking at either going for 10 levels or buying Bestial Rags). Depending on whether you even get any usefufl perks from your aspects at 8th level, there might not be much benefit beyond 6 levels either (especially if you use Bestial Rags to boost the aspect you care about to 8th level). As such, the obvious solution is to simply stop taking Shifter levels and start taking levels in classes with better features instead. The biggest thing you might stand to lose from doing this is really just Shifter's Fury (depending on whether or not the GM rules that the ability to make iterative attacks with Shifter's Fury as if a natural weapon were a manufactured weapon must require Shifter levels to give you more iteratives, as opposed to scaling with BAB like normal for manufactured weapon iteratives, which they do count as), but even in that case there are other ways to get double iteratives anyway.

I'll skip most of the spellcasting multiclass recommendations (like Cleric, Warpriest, Inquisitor, Druid) since if you were going to go spellcaster, you really should've just played a Druid from the start (which is by and large a much better shapeshifter than the Shifter anyway), but you can do it. Natural Spell works with any spellcasting class. I would like to note, however, that multiclassing Shifter with the Druid will give your GM good cause to question your sanity, and that if you want wild shape on other divine casters that bad, you can do so without giving up spellcasting levels by prestiging into Green Faith Acolyte.  But, in fairness, the Druid does make a pretty good multiclass addition to the Shifter, if not for the obvious question it raises.

Multiclassing Options:

Fighter: Good for 1-5 levels, as the bonus feats are nice. Since Armor Training won't do you much good with your restrictions, you should take Mutation Warrior Fighter or Lore Warden Fighter if you want to go for more than 2 levels (which is what makes the 3rd level of Fighter worth it). I'm more partial to Lore Warden since you can just use Zerk with Amp (voluntarily failing the saving throw against addiction, which does not affect you while you are taking Zerk) for upwards of +6 alchemical bonus to strength at higher levels anyway, provided you have someone capable of removing the ability damage. You can get rid of the -2 penalty to constitution by having someone cast Remove Disease (or having a Periapt of Health to put on for a brief moment) anyway, as addiction is a disease. For weapon training you'd ultimately want Natural Weapon and Close weapon groups, and it opens up the use of Gloves of Dueling for an extra bonus to attack and damage. Alternatively you could swap weapon training and bravery for Savage Warrior Fighter (You can stack both for Mutation Warrior + Savage Warrior Fighter) and get massive bonuses to natural weapon attacks when pouncing. Ask your GM if he would allow you to count Natural Savagery as Weapon Training for things like Gloves of Dueling and the Advanced Weapon Training feat (since it's basically weapon training with the Natural Weapon group). If not, skip Savage Warrior and just take weapon training with the natural weapon group. This is all assuming you consider 5 levels of Fighter to be worth it, however. If you want to go 5 or more levels of Fighter, you should just take 5 levels and follow it with Ironbound Sword Samurai (see below). I'd also recommend mixing in a 1 level dip of Ulfen Guard (see below), simply because it's good.

Ranger: You can contemplate 1 or 2 levels of this if you either want a Favored Enemy bonus or you are using the Freebooter archetype (but spending movement actions is not the most pleasant thing; only do this if you are in the habit of buffing yourself with things like potions or spell-like abilities or you're using Rhino Charge to charge as a standard action by readying charges to go off right away). If your GM accepts that counting Shifter levels as Druid levels for the purposes of prerequisites with regards to Wild Shape feats is sufficient to let the Shapeshifting Hunter feat count Shifter levels as Druid levels to obtain the Ranger levels needed for additional favored enemies, then this is a much better dip, giving you 3 favored enemies with 2 levels of ranger + 8 levels of Shifter or 1 level of Ranger + 9 levels of Shifter. (Incidentally, from a balance perspective I personally don't have any problem with this interpretation, since an actual Druid is still a stronger shapeshifter than the Shifter, so letting the Shifter do this stunt a Druid definitely can do is still of milder consequence than if you'd had Druid levels instead of Shifter levels in the first place. And it fits thematically.) At that stage you'll probably want a Wand of Instant Enemy and bane property on your magic items, but to use a wand while wild shaped you have to be either using Lycanthropic Shifter, Ape as your form of choice, or have the Grasping Tail and Mischievous Tail feats so you can use wands while in Tiger shape, and this will require you to be playing a race with a tail. On the upside of things, that does open up using a lot of Ranger wands, potions, and other magic items since you can, for instance, stow a wand as a move action, draw a wand as a swift action, and use a wand as a standard action, but you will need to be carrying some kind of saddlebag or bag of holding (perhaps even a Polymorphic Pouch) in your wildshaped form. If you're not up for the Wand of Instant Enemy, there is also the option of purchasing an Enmity Fetish, which has its own ups (you're not spending standard actions in combat) and downs (only one use per day per Enmity Fetish, costs 40k gp, and you can only select a single creature type per fetish). Enmity Fetishes become more of an option at those levels where you are stupidly rich.

Samurai: Essentially we're after Challenge for a source of bonus damage, possibly using something like Order of the Flame so we can keep challenging, so you'll want to use a Champion's Banner to boost your challenge damage. Possibly the GM will let the banner continue working while Wild Shaped, but if not you just need allies to fasten the banner to you after wild shaping out of combat as if you're a mount, probably at the same time that they're equipping you with armor. The best archetype appears to be Ironbound Sword (take 5 levels of Lore Warden Fighter first), which stacks its class levels with Fighter levels for the purposes of all Fighter class features (NOTE: Bonus Feats is a Fighter class feature). The mount is fairly useless but if you aren't trading it out and feel like it you can use Boon Companion to give it +4 levels and Monstrous Mount to replace it for a Griffon that is intelligent and fairly useful even before we start contemplating animal companion archetypes. Alternatively you can just give it the Precocious Companion archetype and perhaps put its ability score increases into int so you have an intelligent companion and use it for all kinds of non-combat purposes, like by giving it a Greater Hat of Disguise and having it take Master Craftsman and Craft Arms and Armor or Craft Wondrous Item feats so it makes magic items for you and the party. You can also just use your mount as a meatshield in combat and/or give it an Aid Another build (use a Hand of Glory to let it equip a Ring of Tactical Precision).

Spiritualist: The only spellcasting multiclass I'm sort of recommending. Amazing 1 level dip, but you could advance it beyond that, as this is a wis-based psychic spellcaster, so you can cast in Wild Shape without a Natural Spell feat. Take the Dedication or Desperation focus for your phantom and leave it in your consciousness at all times, unless you are seriously intending to level Spiritualist and do things with it. You get +2 Fort, +2 Will from the 1 level of Spiritualist, +4 vs mind-affecting saves from having your phantom reside in your consciousness (and 1/day you can shift a mental effect to your phantom instead of suffering it, at the price of losing the +4 bonus for the duration of the effect), 2 Skill Focus feats (Diplomacy and Sense Motive for Dedication, Acrobatics and Escape Artist for Desperation), 1 bonus feat (Iron Will for Dedication, Combat Reflexes for Desperation), and a surprisingly useful smidge of spellcasting. For psychic knacks, I recommend Guidance, Open/Close (if sneaking around in Mouse form), Message (if you have Ring of Eloquence), Detect Magic (if sneaking solo), Mage Hand (especially if you are sneaking around and/or using Magic Trick), and maybe Light (but you should always have darkvision through Planar Wild Shape). If you have the Two-World Magic magic trait, Ghost Sound is amazing for creating distractions while sneaking and letting you speak while in Wild Shape (but your GM may require you to have Spiritualist as your level 1 or use Additional Traits). For 1st level spells you could go Obscuring Mist, Detect Evil, or some other fun options (I don't recommend Shield unless you take Spiritualist at level 1 instead of 9). Make no mistake, this 1 level dip is a monster set of perks, especially for your saving throws. If you continue advancing Spiritualist at a later point, you can also prestige into Esoteric Knight (and you can fix the dead spellcasting with Favored Prestige Class and Prestigious Spellcaster), but you're screwed when it comes to the Eldritch Armor power, unless your GM generously lets you use Wis as your relevant modifier instead of Int or Cha. Battle Mind helps though. I don't really recommend advancing Spiritualist (or the Esoteric Knight prestige class, except as a 2-dip for Battle Mind maybe) but if you're looking for a spellcaster path it's a possibility. You could also just prestige directly into Mystery Cultist worshiping Falayna (1 Spiritualist with Ghost Sound + 6 Shifter + Mystery Cultist equipping Bestial Rags is ideal there) and get that Divine Favor SLA + other buffs. That's pretty viable. You can also use its plethora of melee touch attack spells with Runic Charge and pounce to get free touch spells on your charging full attacks.

Scout Unchained Rogue: Congratulations, we get sneak attack on charge and we have pounce and a massive number of attacks. Also, note that "if you are able to only take a standard action on your turn, you can still charge, but you are only allowed to move up to your speed (instead of double your speed)" (see here) even without Rhino Charge. This means you can pounce people during surprise rounds and collect sneak attacks on every hit. Combat trick spots you an extra combat feat and later on you get Debilitating Injury to give enemies effectively -4 AC and another penalty with the Double Debiltation unchained talent. If you get the ki pool talent, you can use it with Tea of Transference for more smite evil uses. If you are going down the road of a sneak attacker, you might prefer to get a Headband of Ninjitsu over a +4 Headband of Inspired Wisdom. You can also get Cornugon Smash + Shatter Defenses (note that you get a +4 bonus to Intimidate if you are larger than your opponent and a -4 penalty if smaller) in order to obtain sneak attacks without charging. The Accomplished Sneak Attacker feat is a nice way to raise your sneak attack damage even higher and the Ghostslayer feat can be used to sneak attack ghosts. Side benefits of this class include a massive number of skill ranks and free unlocks on skills, but really, only Intimidate (in conjunction with Cornugon Smash and maybe Intimidating Prowess, but probably you'll want to use buffs and items to pump your Intimidate instead.) and maybe Stealth are interesting unlocks here. The added skills per level will come in handy though.

Unchained Monk: Also mostly good for 1 or 2 levels, since it gives you bonus feats and some nice saving throws, but only do this if there is something good to be had among the bonus feats. We don't care about AC bonus or Flurry of Blows, so the restrictions against armor-wearing do not affect us. If you go for 3 levels of Unchained Monk, you get a ki pool, which is really only good for using Tea of Transference to convert them into extra smite evil uses (You have smite evil from your Planar Wild Shape's Celestial template) per day, but you could just take a Perfect Style feat for that and that would let you just dip 1 level of Student of Perfection. You can also go regular Monk if you prefer +2 or +3 will saves over 1 BAB.

Prestige Class Options:

Darechaser: Not that strong of a prestige class and I don't really recommend this unless polytheism is in the cards so you can still get Chaldira's obedience at least (If it costs you that obedience, this PrC is hands down not worth taking.), but it does have some low-key perks that make it an option, but you'll probably want a dip of Oracle for the lame curse to obtain fatigue immunity (non-Oracle levels count as 1/2 Oracle levels for curses) or do something similar (probably just buy a giant supply of Allnight, which makes you unaffected by fatigue for 8 hours at the cost of -2 to skillchecks and exhaustion afterwards). First low-key perk: If you Adrenaline Rush before initiating combat (scouting is good), you get your Rush bonus to initiative, and the Dare bonus can be applied to almost any d20 roll (so it can help make an attack hit, in a pinch) but it also doesn't have a listed duration and applies to saving throws despite being a swift action (meaning you cannot Dare right as you roll a save, which means either this should be an immediate action instead of a swift or you should get to Dare ahead of time), so if your GM rules you can dare before you do something and get the bonus once the action comes around, you can use it to pump your initiative even further. There are plenty of ways to pump initiative, but it's good to have these bonuses all the same. Other than that, Powerful Leaper deed letting you jump as if you had a running start with a massive bonus helps you ignore difficult terrain (assuming you don't have a Fly or Feather Step or Freedom of Movement to resolve difficult terrain by now, but expect table variation on that last one). The Untouchable deed gives you some extra AC. And last but not least, which is probably the real reason we're even considering this PrC, the Unstoppable deed gives you temp hp equal to 2x your class level every time you enter adrenaline rush, and you can enter and end adrenaline rush as a free action (just be sure to be fatigue immune). Adrenaline rush cycling not only gives you fresh temp hp every single round (ie. end it and use a free action to renew it, at the cost of an extra round of Adrenaline Rush), but you can use it multiple times in the same round which is handy if you happen to have, say, a vicious property on your Amulet of Mighty Fists and armor spikes, letting you do +2d6 untyped damage while soaking up all the damage with temp hp by ending and renewing adrenaline rush between attacks to renew your temp hp. However, you better have a good con modifier if you do this and/or dip a level of Ulfen Guard (see below) for the rage rounds on top, since otherwise you will run out of Adrenaline Rush pretty fast until you reach the higher levels (giving you both more rush rounds and more temp hp), as such I recommend at least 3-4 levels of Darechaser before rush-cycling with vicious weapons (rush-cycling every round is still good and costs you nothing), but it's a stunt that you should be able to do for multiple full attacks per day, increasing drastically as your level goes up (or as you obtain more rage rounds with a couple of Torc of Bloody Rage, see Ulfen Guard below). The Ulfen Guard dip is strongly recommended, tbh. Anyway, that combination means that Darechaser helps you go first, gives you a bit of AC and temp hp, might help with maneuvering a battlefield (climb speed, jumping bonus, extra move speed), and helps you beat the shit out of enemies with the vicious property and a giant pile of attacks.

Hellknight: A bit of an odder road to go down, and one that will carry ramifications for RP (Hellknights are very zealous enforcers of the law who do not abide law-breaking at all), plus you will want to dip a level of Fighter or something else for the plate armor proficiency, but there are some perks here. Smite Chaos gives you another tool to smite enemies with (which you can raise with Bracers of the Avenging Knight), but the primary reason to enter this prestige class is to use Cornugon Smash + Intimidating Prowess with the Fearsomeness discipline to frighten enemies just by hitting them, which is extremely good. You could also use Dazzling Display to intimidate all enemies within 10 feet into becoming frightened, but if you are large size you will have 10 foot reach without trying so the pouncing Cornugon Smash path is better. Hellknight Plate (or Hellknight Half-Plate, which also works with the class feature) can be worn in the form of dragonskin (or Ironwood) armor. In all honesty you don't need more than 3 levels of Hellknight here, but if you want to go for 8+, you'll probably want to worship the Order of the Godclaw and take the Pentamic Faith discipline for the War domain. If you hold the charge on Battle Rage before combat, you can just use a single attack to deliver it to yourself and obtain a bonus. With a Conductive weapon property you can also use up a single attack to give yourself the bonus to damage rolls too (but you run out of uses faster this way), or get Quicken Spell-Like Ability at Hellknight 10 (assuming GM is okay with players taking that feat, but afaict it's usually fine), but the other prize of the War domain is being able to give yourself any combat feat as a swift action for one or more rounds at a time. While you can get pretty much anything that seems useful at the moment (such as Blind-Fight or a Critical feat at the instant you find you are rolling a crit), the main draw is being able to give yourself Dedicated Adversary on demand to get a +2 attack and damage bonus vs whatever you are fighting at the moment. The Summon Servant of Law and Vigilance disciplines are also fairly useful.

Horizon Walker: Nothing too crazy here and no fancy favored terrain bonus raising for this build. The only trick here is using a Scarlet and Green Cabochon ioun stone with a Wayfinder to skip the sole feat prereq and equipping Boots of Friendly Terrain for a free +2 increase to your favored terrain of choice. There are two real stunts to be had. One is going Astral dominance for 3+wis mod uses of Dimension Door per day, which you can then also use with Dimensional Assault or even go all the way to Dimensional Dervish. The other is just taking Terrain Dominance (Urban) in order to be able to hit all the many creatures that appear in urban terrains with a very large attack and damage bonus. Other than that you're mostly shopping for perks, like taking Plains to remove the move speed penalty from medium armor and get a +10 foot speed bonus. By and large the main appeal of this prestige class is if your campaign leaves you very consistently fighting in the same terrain and you want the dominance bonus (underground campaign (dungeons explicitly count as underground), aquatic campaign, campaign on a specific plane, campaign in a city, etc.) or if you want Dimension Door, but otherwise urban tends to come in handy often enough, since those terrain dominance favored enemy bonuses apply to creatures that belong to that terrain even when you're fighting outside the terrain. Just be aware that the Charm Person SLA is going to be cha-based and therefore useless unless you get someone unconscious (like with nonlethal damage) first, at which point they automatically fail their saves. The PrC gets Favored Terrain on 7 out of 10 levels (add another favored terrain from boots), so the bonus is pretty good if you're confident in your ability to cash in on it consistently. If you have a favored enemy that is certain to be native to your dominance's terrain (such as a Dedicated Adversary feat), it's possible to use Instant Enemy to make an enemy count as your favored enemy type "for all purposes" and therefore count as an enemy type which eats your Horizon Walker favored enemy bonus.

Sentinel (Haagenti): A more unusual pick, but a surprisingly potent and useful one at higher levels, and also one that fits the Shifter surprisingly well. Really, if you get at least 6 levels of Sentinel, this PrC will do you good. If not, it's rather skippable. But 10th level just gives you a few small perks (basically ferocity, some DR, and 1/day swift action cure critical wounds), and as such Sentinel level 10 is entirely skippable as well, especially since you already get similar DR for better values through Planar Wild Shape. There's quite a bit to this prestige class, so let's get a bit in depth here:

* About the prerequisites: Since Haagenti is a Demon Lord, the Sentinel prerequisite is raised to 7 BAB instead of the usual 5 (see: Book of the Damned), which is not really a problem in this case. Worshiping Haagenti as CN is not a problem either as Haagenti intentionally represents himself as a rather reasonable and helpful inventor (see the wiki page). Unfortunately, you do not have greataxe proficiency for the Weapon Focus prereq, and as such will need to either dip another martial class level first, spend a feat on Martial Weapon Proficiency, or just play a Half-Orc, Orc, Half-Elf (via Ancestral Arms alternate racial trait), or Human (via Adoptive Parentage alternate racial trait, Military Tradition alternate racial trait, or just using the bonus feat - Military Tradition is best, by granting both armor spikes and greataxe proficiencies). Probably the easiest way to enter is just 6 levels of Shifter with Bestial Rags, 1 level of Fighter, and entering Sentinel starting at character level 8. Starting with 1 level of Fighter also gives your armor spike proficiency for your Shifter, opening up traits, so there's that. But if you get the proficiency another way, you can also replace that Fighter level with an Ulfen Guard level (or you can just take 1 Fighter level and 1 Ulfen Guard level and delay Sentinel by 1).
* Now onto the benefits: The first major prize of this is getting 2/day Alchemical Allocation SLA at 3rd level of Sentinel (although admittedly only 1 level sooner than you would get it with just a Damned Soldier feat, if you entered at lvl 9), which is an extremely powerful spell that helps you take advantage of potions and elixirs very nicely (Elixir of Vision, Hiding, Tumbling, etc. and there are too many useful potions to list when you can just re-use them, but I'll mention a Bard/Medium-crafted potion of Encouraging Heroism, a CL12 Extended Barkskin potion - remember: potions/etc. don't have to be crafted at minimum caster level). Here's an Alchemical Allocation mini-guide. Next, once you reach 6th level, your Weapon Focus, Symbolic Weapon, and Practiced Combatant features will all count with every weapon and you can use swift actions to grant all your weapons, including natural weapons, a variety of options, including reach. (Just to be clear: Haagenti is very into fleshwarping and shapeshifting, the Sentinel boons give you shapeshifting to boot, and if they only meant for it to solely apply to "manufactured weapons" it would've just said so.) At level 9, you get Shapechange with significant upgrades to boot, which plays very nicely to being a Shifter (just remember that special form DCs use the polymorph effect's DC and as a SLA it defaults to a cha-based DC). Here's a guide to useful shapeshifting forms. So all 3 perks are pretty great for Shifters.
* Stunts: Taking Ascetic Style on a Versatile design Greataxe lets you obtain Ascetic Style's benefits with all weapons through Haagenti's second boon. Seems like the kind of inventive warfare Haagenti would approve of. This should allow you to equip Brawling armor and apply its benefits to all weapons now that they obtain the benefits of effects applying to unarmed strikes. (This also causes Amulet of Mighty Fists to apply to manufactured weapons.) If you go for Ascetic Strike you also get bigger damage dice with everything, especially if you throw Monastic Legacy on top.
* Side notes: I personally rule that all profane/sacred bonuses from your obedience feat and the relevant prestige class stack with each other for sanity's sake, and I point this out because by RAW Symbolic Weapon and Practiced Combatant wouldn't stack (unless you're a neutral worshiping a neutral deity, because then you can make one a sacred bonus and the other profane!), considering you already add weapon attack bonuses to CMB checks performed with the weapon, and the same problem would go for Stalwart and the Obedience's bonus to saving throws vs transmutation effects. I doubt any GM would rule otherwise, but it's important to make you aware of this issue. Also, it's a decent option to follow this PrC with 3 levels of Weapon Master Fighter, focusing on Greataxes, taking Penetrating Strike (Sentinel levels stack with Fighter levels for feat prerequisites), and equipping Gloves of Dueling. (You only need 2 more levels if you started with 1 level of Fighter.)
* Caveat: You cannot get Deific Obedience (Chaldira) if you take this prestige class, since your Sentinel deity has to be your only deity, but the perks (including Alchemical Allocation) are strong enough to make this a very worthwhile option anyway. If you want, you can always swap your Cloak of Resistance for a Cloak of Good Fortune and either get a Ring of Resistance or 5 Amber Spindle ioun stones socketed in 5 wayfinders. The Cloak of Good Fortune bonus isn't that great (+1 luck to attack rolls), but with the Fate's Favored faith trait and a Luckstone it's still something, especially if you happen to be an Aasimar with Student of Sulunai if you really want at least 1/day divine favor SLA.Stalwart Defender: The amount of feat prerequisites is ugly but otherwise this is a decent, mostly defensive option. You get some extra strength and a lot of AC and other perks. If you want to use this prestige class, I strongly recommend using a Flawed Scarlet and Green Cabochon ioun stone (8k gp) with a Wayfinder (500gp) so it doesn't hover around you for easy stealing or sundering. Not only does it give you a prerequisite, but with Stalwart Defender 2 you can take Internal Fortitude, which will combine to make you immune to fatigued, exhausted, sickened, and nauseated, allowing you to enter a new Defensive Stance every turn, since you can just let Defensive Stance lapse at the start of your turn and enter a new Defensive Stance at the end of your turn. This trick allows you to get around the main problem of not being able to move while in a Defensive Stance, which fixes the major drawback, and also allows you to basically use "once per defensive stance" powers once per round (or more, if you end and reactivate a new defensive stance multiple times in the same turn). Since you get DR through your Planar Wild Shape anyway (which scales with your hit dice), you can skip the DR-based powers and instead contemplate Unexpected Strike, Clear Mind, Smash, Halting Blow, and Fearless Defense. For any Shifter, but especially an Ape Shifter with a reach weapon, Halting Blow+Unexpected Strike (combined with letting your stance expire and restart each round) is a pretty good combo to lock down areas with AoOs. If you're wondering how the AC bonus class feature scales (since they plain forgot to mention that or include it in the level-up table), the standard interpretation is that you get +1 AC at levels 1, 4, 7, and 10.

Student of Perfection: Mostly a brief dip to contemplate if you are fiddling with a ki pool for whatever reason (like Tea of Transference for extra smite evil or rage), in particular if you are wearing light armor (so you get a +1 dodge bonus) and using a Headband of Wisdom and happened to dip a level of Unchained Monk. If you take a second level, it appears that the RAI is that ki powers use your character level as your monk level for prerequisites, so you could get elemental fury for an extra 1d6 elemental damage (preferably acid or lightning) or you can get the Furious Defense power for +4 Dodge to AC as an immediate action until the end of your turn, but other than that the offerings are scarce, aside from perhaps Punish Mistake or Master of Riddles.

Ulfen Guard: The biggest reason you shouldn't contemplate a Barbarian dip is this PrC. This prestige class makes a great 1 level dip, as you immediately get both rage and a rage power in addition to the chosen ally feature, but you can also just progress it and help yourself to a fighter bonus feat, greater  rage, and a few other things. It has no feat prereqs and the skills it wants (5 ranks Perception and 3 ranks Sense Motive + 2 ranks of Knowledge (Nobility)) are largely good ones to have anyway. Note that the prestige class only requires you to be of Ulfen descent, not of human race, which means that races like Aasimars, Tieflings, and even Oreads that do not count as human but typically do have human ancestry will qualify for it. You could even qualify as an Orc if you want to assert that you have Half-Orc ancestry and, through that, Ulfen ancestry. If you're willing to sacrifice some more AC, the Reckless Abandon rage power is not bad. If you do dip it, you will want to use maybe one or more Torcs of Blood Rage (8k gp, just put one on, activate it for the +3 rounds, and immediately take it off again) or an Extra Rage feat to keep your rounds of rage up. Also, if you use a Headband of Havoc (8k gp) you can raise a rage power's performance by 4 Barbarian levels, but usually a Headband of Inspired Wisdom is better to wear. And don't forget that if you have rage, you can upgrade your weapons (and AoMF) with a Furious property. Later on the feat combination of Raging Vitality and Raging Brutality would also be of use. Note that you only need a 1 level dip to qualify for that, although Mighty Rage is nice to have.

Yeah, this guide was pretty short, but that's about all you needed. Pairing beast shape natural armor with animal barding will give you strong AC, Planar Wild Shape is a must-have feat, and pairing pounce with a huge number of attacks makes strong damage. Add the size bonuses you get from wild shape and you're in a good spot.

discussion thread?

You're in it. This is the place to post discussion. We used to need separate discussion threads so that people could keep expanding their guides with extra posts without it getting broken up by people posting into the handbook thread (which flat-out blocked users not in the DnD Handbook Writers group from posting), but in 2017 it got changed so that we could put (Continued) in the subject and it would automatically get moved up to the top of the thread (see here), so now everyone can post in the Handbook subforum and the handbook thread is also the discussion thread (like in most forums), but we still also have the old discussion threads for the old handbooks. (It's not even possible to start new threads in the Handbook Discussion subforum anymore.) Naturally, this leaves people very confused, especially as most of our handbooks are old ones, leaving them thinking they're only supposed to post into handbook discussion threads.

Also, that's some timing. I just added Scout Unchained Rogue to the multiclassing recommendations.

Just an FYI, (Continued) is broken and no longer works (see my Consolidated Lycanthropy Guide for an example of it not working).  I have no idea how it was originally coded, the code appears to just be gone.


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